Unity is world’s missing link, Mueller tells Chapel
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
It’s not hard to find meaningful quotations about unity.
“Unity is strength … when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
“Where there is unity there is always victory.”
“There is more power in unity than division.”
But the best place of all to learn about it is the Bible, as Grand Canyon University President/CEO Brian Mueller attested Monday morning in the first Chapel of the 2015-16 school year.
After reading Ephesians 4:1-16, Mueller said, “If you read Paul’s epistles in the New Testament, if you read the book of John, if you read the writings of Peter, as they were addressing new churches, one of the dominant themes is unity. One of the dominant themes of the entire New Testament is unity.”
The setting in GCU Arena was a testament to unity in and of itself. Nearly all of the 7,000 seats were filled with students and staff.
GCU, Mueller said, is not unlike one of those early churches Paul, John and Peter were working so hard to unite. Nothing GCU has achieved in recent years — its incredible growth, expanding educational programs, service to the community and welcoming events such as Move-In — could have been achieved without like-minded people coming together with one goal.
“The challenge is the walls that create barriers and separate people,” he said.
To illustrate his point, Mueller talked of watching the movie “McFarland, USA,” in which a down-on-his-luck high school coach, played by Kevin Costner, finds himself coaching cross country in a poor farm town in California. The coach wins multiple state championships by getting people from diverse backgrounds to learn to work together.
The biggest cause of poverty, Mueller said, is barriers.
“We’re here for breaking down the walls, bringing down the barriers and connecting,” he said.
Unity has three applications for GCU, in Mueller’s view:
“Our role is to build connections with the community we live in,” he said. “We’re in this community for a reason. It’s a needy community. … I think that what God is saying is, ‘You guys be the bridge. Don’t put up a wall.’”
Second, he wants the University to be a leader in the discussion of controversial issues, such as same-sex marriage, that divide Christians. Besides Ephesians 4:2-3, Mueller also pointed to Ephesians 4:11-12, which he considers two of the most important verses in the New Testament:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
To which Mueller added, “We need to discuss our theological differences. We need to discuss what’s going on in the world today in an attempt to get at what God wants around these issues. But if it divides us we can’t do the one thing we’re supposed to do — to equip His people for works of service. Because it’s (through) those works of service that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Finally, there’s the issue of mental health and depression. Mueller said his father and brother both suffered from the disease, and together with Associated Students of GCU President Cody Dumas he is determined to help GCU students who are afflicted with it.
“No one on our campus should be left alone with that,” he said.
Ephesians 4:15-16 reads:
“ … Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
The only way that happens is with unity. “We can be transformative,” Mueller said. And as the University has shown, it’s more than just talk — it’s actions.
- For a replay of Mueller’s talk, click here.
- Next week’s speaker: GCU Dean of Students Pastor Tim Griffin
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.