New chaplain eager to assist GCU employees
By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau
As Grand Canyon University’s first corporate chaplain, Jim Miller is committed to integrating faith in the workplace.
“We tend to categorize our life by placing faith in one drawer in the cabinet, work in another and family in a third,” said the pastor of 35 years.
For the nearly 2,700 employees at 27th Avenue and Camelback Road, Miller plans to merge the compartments.
“Our faith should be the cabinet that all the categories fit into,” he said.
Miller, who since 2010 has been teaching theology both online and on campus, launched GCU’s workplace ministry in early May in Building 71.
The married father of four spent his first few days walking the hallways introducing himself to employees and explaining his new role.
So far, so good.
“I’ve gotten a wonderful reception,” said Miller, who moved to Gilbert 19 years ago to establish Oasis Community Church. “Everyone has been interested in who I am and what my role as a corporate chaplain will be.”
Dr. Tim Griffin, GCU’s pastor and dean of students, said Miller was selected “because of his strong relational skills, his many years of experience as a pastor and his maturity.”
Along with pastoral counseling, Griffin envisions Miller’s role to assist in developing a spiritual climate in the workplace.
A thumbnail sketch of Miller’s responsibilities include hosting a monthly chapel, fostering Bible study groups, establishing prayer rooms and promoting community outreach projects.
Equally important, he will listen confidentially to employees who share hardships. In his third-floor office, he will create a safe space for employees to talk about, well, anything.
“When employees are distressed over something, it can impact how they perform at work,” Miller said. “Work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I’m here to talk and pray with anyone.”
Miller’s office is always open. He will work his schedule around the employees in an effort to avoid interrupting the work taking place in a building housing departments that support the University’s 65,000-plus online students and nearly 17,500 on campus.
At first, he will work exclusively with Building 71 employees. Later he will explore if, how and when to expand to the main campus.
“My position is a recognition of the importance how big a part spiritual life plays in the workplace,” he said, “but how I accomplish this goal will be a work in progress.”
The following are spiritual events for Building 71:
- Women’s Bible Study: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursdays, May 18 through June 29, in the Ahwatukee Conference Room (Room 344). Information: Ruth.Douthitt@gcu.edu.
- Mosaic Bible Study: Noon-1 p.m. Mondays, Yuma Conference Center (Room 342). Information: Tony.Weisenburger@gcu.edu.
- Prayer Gathering: 1-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Prayer Room on third floor.
- Chapel 71: The next gathering is 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, in the Lecture Hall on the first floor. Miller will be the speaker.
Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.