Living the Idea Before We Knew It

Not only did it (the Fresno Pacific Idea) identify with our long-term commitments, but it specifically articulated our personal mission and vocational calling in higher education.

President Joseph Jones, Ph.D.Over two years ago, my wife and I were serving at a Christian university in Lahore, Pakistan. We had begun discussions with Fresno Pacific University about me serving as president. Our reluctance was allayed when we discovered the Fresno Pacific Idea. Not only did it identify with our long-term commitments, but it articulated our personal mission and vocational calling in higher education.

We recognized a confluence of our lives, work and education with the prophetic charge of the Idea, a charge to live beyond rhetoric, where education serves as a vehicle to actualize the great commandment to love God and neighbor; where nurturing the life of the mind is combined with maturing the heart with a hope and faith that dispels fear and doubt. This prophetic charge galvanizes justice and reconciliation with service and humility, strengthening a vision for flourishing.

Our personal calling was “to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education.” We discovered almost the exact wording as we examined the Idea. We extend this influence by stretching our faith to live beyond ourselves, consistently discovering ways to combine theory with praxis, rhetoric with engagement and service with love.

Yvette and I both are first-generation college students from economically challenging backgrounds. Our faith in Christ brought us together and launched us into new possibilities. Our testimony has always been: “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will follow.” In that context we have overcome so many challenges that defeated our contemporaries. We were living the Fresno Pacific Idea before we knew of it.

The Idea affirms the university’s Christian identity and commitment to mature as a community of learners with a prophetic purpose. We seek to be intentional in the integration of faith, learning and action motivated by love, which prompts our students and the institution to engage the cultures and serve the communities of the Central Valley and beyond.

The Idea continues to be a compass guiding FPU and our graduates into a future of possibilities. As we approach our 75th anniversary, the Idea invigorates our faith and resolve that “possible happens here.” Our graduates will explore new pathways, build new bridges and discover new venues of hope, where courage is alive and faith reaches beyond the possible.