Chapel: Mueller calls for Biblical leadership
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
No one has ever accused Brian Mueller of thinking too small or lacking enthusiasm for what Grand Canyon University can accomplish.
So no one should have been surprised Monday morning when, in a Chapel talk he titled, “Why can’t there be more heaven on earth?”, GCU’s president and CEO kicked off the new semester by sharing his dreams of what the University can do, not just on campus and in west Phoenix, but in the United States and the world.
One of those dreams: that one of the students sitting before him in a big crowd in GCU Arena will someday become president of the United States.
“People will say, ‘Well, that can’t happen.’ I’ll tell you what: Six years ago, when there were 900 students here, if we had ever said there would be 15,000 here starting in the fall (of 2015), people would have said, ‘Well, that can’t happen.’ But there will be,” Mueller said.
However, Mueller’s dream goes way beyond bringing a purple accent to the White House. He wants to see governance from a Biblical perspective rather than the divisiveness that plagues politics today.
“There’s a difference,” he said. “There’s a huge and profound difference.”
Afterward while walking back to his office, Mueller expanded on that thought:
“It’s a general feeling within the greater Christian community that is being written about and talked about, that the next generation of Christianity needs to be more about demonstration than proclamation. It needs to be about both, but it needs to be more about demonstration. We need to stop trying to win the war of words and start with serving neighbors, and especially those we disagree with. In a world that’s as divisive as it is today, it’s time to think about Biblical leadership differently.
“I think people are going to start to understand that we’re losing ground here. We’re losing ground because we’re at each other’s throats. It’s always been that way, but it doesn’t seem as if it’s ever been this extreme. … The expectations that God has for us as Christians are that we are to be different from a leadership standpoint and that we should be able to make a difference.”
Mueller’s five-point plan, announced last fall, for helping GCU’s neighbors in west Phoenix has demonstrated his passion for the topic. At Monday’s Chapel he talked about the stark contrast he sees every time he drives down Camelback Road from the Biltmore area near 24th Street to the west side.
“There doesn’t need to be that big of a difference between 35th Avenue and Camelback and 24th Street and Camelback,” he said. “The people on this side of town can prosper — they just need a catalyst. Grand Canyon can be that catalyst.
“We can work across the aisle with the city, we can work with the local authorities, we can work with the people who live in this community, and as we continue to prosper we can put things in place to cause the prosperity of this whole neighborhood.”
Mueller talked at length about the leadership example David set in the Bible and quoted from Matthew 22:32-40 (“Obey the law”) and Jeremiah 5:43-47 (“Love your neighbor”).
He also highlighted Jeremiah 29:4-7, which reads in part, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city. … Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” It inspired Mueller so much, he said he plans to have it displayed all around campus.
“Every time there’s adversity, there’s an opportunity,” he said. “I don’t think the church has ever had the opportunity to be the explosive witness it can be than we have in the next 10 years in this country, than we (at GCU) have in the next five years in this place. … I can’t wait to see what we — students, faculty, staff — can do in the next five years.”
Preaching unity and minimizing divisiveness in the political world can work, Mueller believes. Right from the start with Adam and Eve, the Bible is filled with stories of divisiveness, but it also shows us how to come together, he said.
“The reality is, from a Biblical perspective, a lot of this is solvable.”
It’s how dreams become reality.
● For a replay of Mueller’s talk, click here.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker: Albert Tate, Fellowship Monrovia, Monrovia, Calif.
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.