It’s one of the most frequently asked questions from our prospective students: How “Christian” is George Fox University?”

My honest answer? George Fox is very Christian, and it provides numerous opportunities for you to plug into a faith community. Professors will pray before classes and tests, everyone attends chapel, and a lot of your fellow students are Christian. But to be truthful, you will get out of your faith what you put into it. Just like most of life, you can choose to engage or not. 

With that being said, let’s answer a few other commonly asked questions and then dig into the opportunities you’ll have to grow in your spiritual development at George Fox!

#1 Do you have to be a Christian to attend George Fox?

Nope! You can come here no matter what religion you are or are not a part of. Regardless of your beliefs, you will be welcomed into a community that is committed to supporting you and getting to know you personally, spiritually and academically. All your professors will be committed Christians, and faith is fully integrated into the classroom. However, George Fox holds tightly to the belief of knowing, loving and respecting differences, and your professors are fully ready to engage with you, Christian or not!

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#2 Is this a judgemental faith community?

In my experience as a student, no, it is not! I’ve never seen a professor criticize or judge a different belief. I have found our faculty to be open, kind and thoughtful.

I can’t speak on behalf of the entire student body, or promise that you will never be judged, but I have yet to meet a severely judgemental Christian student here. Instead, my experience has been that faith tends to create an environment of kindness among students, regardless of the varying beliefs we hold. And any attitude of judgement certainly isn’t encouraged by the school.

#3 Will my academic journey be compromised by the Christian perspective?

We take intellect seriously. And we take faith seriously. Holding each in high regard is not mutually exclusive. Faith strengthens, never compromises, the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Biology students find their research is made more impactful as they learn about the intricacies of the Lord’s creation. Engineering students use their designs for service. Business students have a high standard of ethics. I think it’s a common misconception that you have to sacrifice faith in order to be taken seriously in the academic world, but most of our professors are actively engaged in pushing the boundaries of their respective fields, publishing books and research and always trying to broaden their own knowledge. 

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#4 What is George Fox doing to answer the tough questions in culture right now?

The past year has really made us face our demons individually and as a nation, and I appreciate the way George Fox is actively taking a stance and working to address major cultural issues. Here are a few examples of the proactive steps we’re taking: 

Our community and our approach aren’t perfect, but we’re working hard, and committed to doing the hard work in the future.

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As our mission statement says, “We seek a holistic knowledge and understanding that is open to correction and that serves the purpose of loving others well. We believe that in listening well and growing in wisdom, we can live in joy, freedom, and responsibility in ways that are ‘right, just and fair’ (Proverbs 1:3).”

 

Got more questions? Check out our Fox Fast Facts video!

Ready to get involved? Here are some of the opportunities available to students:

Life Groups
These groups meet for several weeks each semester for a time of prayer and discussion. Every group is led by someone who is already out of college, and many are led by George Fox faculty and staff. As a student, you get to sign up based on meeting time and/or topic. Life Groups are a great space to decompress, learn more about faith, and connect with others in the George Fox community.

Ministry/service opportunities 

Something important to note about George Fox is that students here pursue a “love-your-neighbor” style of service rather than that of a “savior complex.” There are tons of service opportunities, and no two are exactly the same!

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Serve Day
Every year, all of campus closes down for one day in September so that every student, professor and staff member can serve the greater Portland area. We spread out to over 100 sites and serve by doing construction, painting, gardening, cleaning, visiting with seniors, etc. This day goes down as a favorite memory of the year for many students, and the impact is unreal when you consider more than 2,500 people are going out with the simple purpose of serving the local community.

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Campus Pastors
Whether it be a deep faith talk, a chat over coffee about life, help with finding a church, marital or premarital counseling, or just getting some advice, the campus pastors are ready to meet with you. It’s super easy to schedule an appointment with them, and I think you’ll find them to be encouraging, thoughtful and helpful.

Young Life
Choosing to go to Young Life was one of the best decisions I made freshman year. The friends that I formed in my small group are still my best friends today. Young Life is a really great place to go, no matter where you fall on the faith spectrum, because of the relaxed, no-pressure feel. Young Lifers are great at building friendships founded in the pursuit of faith, and joining the club is also a great way to get connected to older adults who are more than willing to serve as mentors to you.

Chapel
Over the course of a school year, students attend 30 chapels, about 15 each semester. This averages out to once per week. There are numerous chapel opportunities each week, so you can pick your favorite or the one that best fits your schedule!

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Want to see it all happening? Check out our Faith In Action video!

 

In short ...

My faith has grown a lot as a result of my time at George Fox, and I can’t attribute that to just one thing. I’ve been shaped by professors’ lessons, chapels, clubs, friends that I’ve met here, and my church home in Newberg. I’ve been shaped by George Fox staff who have gone out of their way to meet with me and pray over me, and by work-study employers who have been endlessly patient and generous with me. 

So yes, George Fox provides a big network of faith-building opportunities. And to answer the question posed at the top of this blog … it’s very Christian. The emphasis on faith is at the foundation of our community, and community is the very thing many Fox students say is the best thing about the school. Maybe you’ve heard that a few times, so I’d just like to add on one more time:

It’s true.

Photo of Lydia Povolny

Lydia Povolny

Author

Lydia is a senior Marketing major and Psychology minor. Her favorite pastimes are hiking, backpacking, going on walks to find cats and playing spikeball. She also loves board games/movie nights with friends and would bet her bottom dollar that the chai at Chapters is the best in the state.

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