Dear parents, friends, and fellow pastors,
I am so glad you found Grove City College. I know that you care deeply for the spiritual care of your congregations and families, and as Senior Director of Christian Formation at Grove City, I am honored to share with you the Christian mission at the core of Grove City’s work and offer a brief tour of how our students are equipped, nurtured, and discipled during their time on campus.
Since Grove City’s inception in 1876, our Christian faith has framed the mission and ethos for life together on campus. While the reformed tradition and theology of our early years continues to shape our curricular and co-curricular life, the faculty and the student body represent a wide array of Christian traditions.
Over 140 years later, our conviction remains clear: all true wisdom and knowledge come from Christ Jesus and are intended to honor Him, a theme expressed so beautifully in Colossians 2:3. The entire Grove City student experience has been designed to nurture a deep and integrated Christian perspective, to equip future leaders of the church, and to contribute to the common good and the flourishing of all people.
While remaining firmly anchored in the gospel of Jesus Christ and holding fast to enduring truth, we recognize the times are indeed changing. As such, we work hard to discern the rising needs of the 21st century student, meeting those needs with grace, creativity, and truth.
And we know that the needs and concerns of our youth are many. Polling data tells us that biblical literacy is in decline, even among Christian students who have been nurtured in the church and by thoughtful Christian parents. With the current mass exodus of young adults leaving the church, we are convinced that Christian educators must not only teach about Christian faith and church history, but must also work to restore love for Christ’s Church and commitment to the renewal of this vital institution. As a devoted Christian college, we are committed not only to forming the Christian minds of our students, but also helping them to rightly align their loves and practices to shape and sustain lasting faithfulness.
Allow me to share how this commitment plays out:
Firstly, the work of the Christian Formation Office is, of course, at the heart of Christian nurture and edification on campus.
The core of our Christian formation is the chapel program. Each week, our worship services, educator-led Bible studies, and prayer gatherings foster a growing knowledge of God’s Word, as well as lasting relationships and fellowship among our students. Meanwhile, our weekly Faith for Life lecture series deepens their faith, solidifies their Christian world view, and suggests next steps for walking the path of faith.
We seek not only to teach the word of the Master, but to follow in the patterns for life that we see in Him. Put another way, we are committed to Christian discipleship, demonstrated by the numerous discipleship and mentorship opportunities available to our students.
As the apostle James reminds us, genuine faith naturally results in devoted ministry and service, and our students have many opportunities to engage in ministry on and beyond campus.
Secondly, the College’s academic program is anchored in the Word of God.
Our curriculum attends to the issues of life by providing a strong biblical core and Christian worldview across every discipline. Our professors strive to raise up thoughtful and skilled leaders by training them how to think biblically about this cultural moment and those that have come before.
Finally, we encourage students to move beyond campus for weekly church services.
By finding a home-away-from-home church, students may more easily imagine what intergenerational ministry requires and what future leadership in a local congregation will entail. Near to campus there are churches of various sizes, denominations, and approaches to worship. Our office is happy to help students find their way.
What I love most about ministry at Grove City College is watching our campus community members model and encourage Christian growth. Students will see authentic examples of Christian faithfulness in their athletic coaches and their resident assistants. They will hear the college president sharing bright witness and they will learn Christian wisdom in the classroom. They will have opportunities to debrief experiences with Christian friends and enjoy a meal with a faithful mentor. That’s the good stuff, and it is happening here every day.
Our network of faithful GCC alumni makes it clear that something special is happening here. Years after graduation, alumni are retaining vital faith precisely because of the robust nurturing, healthy community, and ample ministry opportunities they encountered here. Christian life that is anchored in God’s Word, sustained in faithful prayer, and empowered in God’s Spirit leads to ongoing sanctification, generous service, and life-long faithfulness — our students begin that journey here at Grove City College. We are proud to invest in new leaders who will take up their torches and hold them high so the light we have received can shine brightly ahead for the sake of the church and for the restoration of every institution and community.
Thank you for taking this little tour, and I hope you visit campus to experience our community firsthand.
Peace to you,
Rev. Dr. Donald D. Opitz
Chaplain and Senior Director of Christian Formation