The Office of Spiritual Life at California Baptist University announced Feb. 1 that Jeffrey Lewis, assistant professor of intercultural studies and current interim Director of Mobilization, will be appointed Director of Mobilization, effective July 1.
Lewis, who has been in the interim position since August 2015, is in his 17th year as a faculty member at CBU. While he will still be teaching classes in the 2016-2017 academic year, he will be stepping down from a faculty position and assuming the role of adjunct professor to accommodate the permanence of his new responsibilities as director of MOB.
“As interim, you want to help manage what already exists,” Lewis said. “As director, we’ll start moving toward developing that which kind of fits more my personality and perspective — moving toward the same goal, but maybe in a little different way.”
The goal Lewis mentioned is to create a culture of developing a mobilized lifestyle, not just through International Service Projects, United States Projects and Summers of Service, but through life adjustments and a process of development.
“I need somebody who is a strategic thinker, but also a visional thinker,” said John Montgomery, dean of Spiritual Life. “They understand the larger strategy of what we’re doing, which is two fold.
“It’s about engaging students in the Great Commission for the glory of God, but it’s also about engaging students, not 45-year-old adults.”
Montgomery said because Lewis has been at CBU for a long time and is familiar with the culture, faculty, students and administration already, much of the interview process was more conversational.
Those involved in the conversation other than Montgomery and Lewis were Dr. Ronald Ellis, president of CBU; Kent Dacus, vice president for enrollment and student services; and Dr. Chris Morgan, dean of the School of Christian Ministries.
“It was continual development of conversation, just them explaining all that was going to be required (because) it’s very different than faculty positions,” Lewis said. “Was I willing to live up to their expectations for the position?”
According to Montgomery, there are specific expectations for the position. Some of the criteria include having Southern Baptist theology, or theology similar to Southern Baptists, understanding of the Great Commission, lived or spent time overseas and other networking experiences.
“Jeff is a perfect fit for this because he’s been here 17 years,” Montgomery said. “We just kind of get the best that he has to offer. Even at this point in his life, where he has been doing this for decades now, I think we’re the recipients of all this experience that he has.”
Lewis will continue to teach in the fall and spring semesters, but will be limited to teaching six units as an adjunct professor. Because the classes are over 50 students, he will have a teaching assistant to aid him.
Megan Drew, freshman public health major who is enrolled in one of Lewis’ Introduction to Global Studies courses, said Lewis was the ideal man for the job.
“He is very eccentric, but his heart is in the right place,” she said. “He is great at challenging students to really rethink about their views on the gospel of the kingdom.”