By Rick Kern
That young people will pursue higher education is pretty much a given in today’s America. However, for Christian students it is not an exaggeration to view choosing the right college as virtually a divine imperative. That being said, there are a lot of wonderful Christian institutions of higher learning and among the most impressive is Davis College.
Located in Johnson City, New York, Davis College can trace its roots back to 1900 when evangelist John A. Davis, an alumnus of what would later become Moody Bible Institute, felt led of God to establish a similar Bible institute in the Binghamton, New York area. Fast forward to its present incarnation and you have in Davis College a Bible-centered higher education establishment passionately committed to making an impact upon the world for Jesus Christ. They do this by fostering Christian character and equipping students with the knowledge, experience, and skillsets needed for service and leadership within the church, Christian organizations, and across the globe.
To be sure, the Lord is doing great things through this academic ministry that is so much more than academics. At Davis College, the Word of God is the axis that the entire program revolves on. Thus, they both teach God’s Word and prepare students to handle it with integrity of heart so they can effectually evangelize the lost and disciple God’s people. Additionally, they also create an environment that strengthens students’ faith while deepening a biblical worldview. But there is more!
Davis College crafts a counter culture characterized by biblical reality, an eternal perspective, and heavenly values. “We want to be part of the culture in changing culture. We want to be part of seeing the culture become new and uniquely different. So what we do is really counter culture, it’s against the culture,” explains Davis’ president, Dr. Dino Pedrone. “Coming to college and studying the Bible is not normally what you find in universities and colleges,” he continues. “With all due respect to them, sometimes there is a feeling that you choose your faith and I’ll choose my faith — and if I don’t want to have faith I can choose that. In our college, ours is much more of a distinctiveness as we say there actually is a better way and that’s through Christ, that’s through the Gospel, that’s through His Kingdom. So we are in the culture and we are in a sense counter to the culture.”
With a long and storied career as a successful pastor, Pedrone pastored two churches over a forty year period before taking the helm of Davis College. He is actually a native of Binghamton, New York, and the ninth president of Davis. Dr. Pedrone is passionate about training men and women to serve Jesus Christ through accredited biblical higher education, and has helped develop decidedly leadership-oriented curricula for Davis.
With degrees in Religious Education, Worship Leadership, Intercultural Ministries, Pastoral Studies, and more, Davis is deeply committed to raising up leaders in the Body of Christ. And yet, again, it is more than academics — even biblical academics. “It’s not just biblical knowledge, it’s not just information to spew back out,” notes Pedrone, “but it’s really looking at life through the lens of the Word of God.”
To that end, they also offer a degree in Organizational Leadership, a program designed to train students for leadership and managerial roles within a variety of settings that reach from the church to society at large. And though it is designed to empower students to succeed in the secular arena, like all programs at Davis, its focus is on Christian ministry.
At this writing Davis College is gearing up for an annual Conference at the end of summer that promises to be a powerful asset to Christian leaders. With this year’s theme focusing on the call of God in our lives, this is the tenth consecutive year they have held it. “We’re going to examine that idea of the calling,” says Dr. Pedrone, “if God has called us to something.” He goes on, “We’re going to compare it to a career. A calling and a career are different and we’re going to talk about that and examine that.”
The program will also feature a panel that discusses the anatomy of a healthy ministry as well addressing the dynamics of the long term sustainability of a healthy ministry. “The dominant goal of the conference is the encouragement of the pastor and the Christian leader,” offers Pedrone, “if they leave encouraged we are blessed that they’ve been encouraged.”
Slated for September 19th interested parties can register online at www.davisny.edu or call (877) 949-3248 for more information.