September 13, 2010 - Once each year the president of the University shares the vision for Belhaven, using as his text our annual Verse of the Year verse of the year. At the start of the school year, Dr. Parrott spoke to all faculty, staff, special friends, and student leader from Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous!... The LORD your God will go ahead of you.”

With nearly 400 full time faculty and staff, now spread out over 6 physical campuses, plus our online campus, there is only one time each year all employees come together. Reflecting on this year’s Service of Dedication, Dr. Parrott said, “From my perspective, during these 16 years, there have been three of these messages that have been most important (although last years would be a close 4th in my ranking): 1996 – My first message to the campus set the tone for our future together. 2003 – I introduced a new planning model to the campus based on the metaphor of becoming sailboats to catch the wind of God, rather than powerboats who go where we assume God wants us to go, but operate ignoring the wind. 2010 – I’ve outlined our mission in a fresh way, as the Lord has developed us as a university of over 3,000 students.”

If you’d like to listen, read, or download the message, you can find it HERE. But the core ideas in summary include:

What distinguishes Belhaven University from all the other 4,168 schools in America is our commitment to: “purposeful stewardship.”

It comes down to this idea – we have a drive and culture ingrained in Belhaven that seeks to get the best out of everything that God has given to us. We are purposefully good stewards of whatever the Lord entrusts to us.

1. We have a calling to the stewardship of teaching an unchanging biblical worldview.

We are unwavering in the major issues of our Christian faith, and couple that solid biblical commitment with grace to be accepting of a variety of perspectives the minor issues of faith. We together all of God’s people across the evangelical spectrum of the Church.

The uniqueness of Christ as the only way to the Father

The belief in justification by faith alone

The authority and inerrancy of scripture

The transforming power of the Holy Spirit

The reality of eternal life to come.

Like the pillars that symbolize Belhaven near our fountain, these timeless pillars of what it means to be a follower of Jesus are unmovable at the center of our campus.

2. We have a calling to the stewardship of valuing every student.

We take every student – just where they are – and we invest in them to help get the most out of them. We don’t just try to push students through a pre-designed program that makes it easy for us. Instead, we try to work with each one as a unique person whom God designed with special gifts, drive, and purpose.

We are convinced that every student at Belhaven University came here because God hand-picked them to come here. And because they are a gift to us from God, we must be purposeful stewards of every single one of them.

3. We have a calling to the stewardship of honoring God-given opportunities.

Our planning is built around waiting for God’s wind to blow, rather than traditional destination planning that attempts to predict where God wants us to go in the future. Yes, we plan, but we do it locally, as close to every academic department, office, team, and function as possible – in order to be purposeful stewards of what God has already given us.

We do stewardship planning, instead of predicting a future in destination planning that wastefully consumes most schools, attempting to predict future outcomes that are often far beyond their control.

Download, read, or listen to Dr. Parrot speech by following the link above.

Belhaven University, formerly Belhaven College, prepares men and women academically and spiritually to serve Christ Jesus in their careers, in human relationships, and in the world of ideas. Founded in 1883, the University now serves over 3,000 students from campuses in Jackson, Memphis, Orlando, Houston, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and online.