Missional Living Beyond the Borders


Equipping students to discover and develop their divine design to serve Christ and the world through Spirit-empowered life, learning, and leadership.

That is the mission of Southeastern University. It drives everything we do and establishes a plumb line for every decision we make.

I believe it’s safe to assume that every university has a mission statement, many of which have something to do with preparing, equipping, or enabling students to succeed both now and in the future. Most universities do everything they can to accomplish it.

However, there’s an important distinction a university has to make if they want to accomplish their mission. Every university has a mission, but if you truly want to accomplish it, you’ve got to get more people involved than just faculty and staff.

Accomplishing a mission takes an entire community. 

I recently had the opportunity to talk to the local Rotary Club here in Lakeland, Florida. We had a great time sharing stories about accomplished SEU alumni and the impact we’ve been able to make in the lives of students throughout the years. However, as I mentioned during my speech, accomplishing our mission to equip students to discover and develop their divine design doesn’t happen without the involvement of the community. If we tried to accomplish this mission without the help, support, and involvement of the community of Lakeland, we would fail.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I’d like to change that statement a little and say, “It takes a community to prepare a student for the future.”

Why is it essential for a university to go off campus to solicit the support and involvement in helping fulfill their mission? Here’s what I shared with the Rotary Club:

Accomplishing your mission requires universities to…

  • Welcome your real-world expertise in our classrooms. The truth is that there are people within your community who have a lot of expertise and wisdom when it comes to succeeding in business or other ventures. Their experience on the field offers valuable knowledge for university students.

  • Enable their students to make connections that will set them up for future success. In a world that’s all about “who you know,” reaching out to those off your campus and connecting them with students will help them make the connections necessary for getting a job or entering the workforce.

  • Prepare students through experience and real-world learning. Getting real-world experience through internships provides invaluable experience for many students. The best way to equip your students to succeed in the future is to help them gain the experience necessary to make it.

My hope is that these suggestions serve as a reminder for universities and their leaders that we truly need the support and involvement of our communities to help our students succeed.

University leaders: What are you doing to go beyond borders to accomplish your mission?

Community leaders: What more can universities do to cultivate more community involvement or support?