One common question we get at Unbound regards our status as a “Christian” company. Is Unbound a Christian company? The basic answer is a hearty “Yes!”. However, it’s easy enough to slap a label like “Christian” on just about anything these days. So what do we mean by saying that Unbound is a “Christian” company? What does that mean and what does it not mean?
What ‘Christian’ Means
Unbound’s Mission & Values statement starts with these words: “Unbound is an explicitly Christian company and our number one mission is to build the kingdom of Christ.”
Unbound is unapologetic about the worldview that drives our programs, our courses, our operations, and everything else we do. We are not afraid to admit that the reason that we engage in the work that we do is the building of God’s kingdom.
Furthermore, our Christian worldview rests on the foundation of historic Christian orthodoxy. Again, quoting from the Mission & Values statement:
“[We affirm] Christianity as understood and defined by Scripture, early Church fathers, and early traditional creeds (such as the Apostles’ Creed).”
This includes an affirmation of the core historic doctrines of the Christian faith including (but not limited to) the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the full divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, and the death and resurrection of Jesus as means of our salvation.
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Unbound’s priority of building the kingdom of God is rooted in the conviction that all work dedicated to Christ’s glory and done in the power of God’s Spirit is “kingdom-building” work. We are not a “ministry”. We are a for-profit business. But we operate from a robust vocational theology that sees all work done unto the glory of God as “ministerial”. Therefore, our marketing team, our financial team, our operations team, and so on, operate with the knowledge that they are working to build God’s kingdom through their specific contributions to Unbound’s mission.
When we say that Unbound is a “Christian” company we also mean that we operate with a grounding in Christian ethics. We commit to loving God with our whole being and loving our neighbor as ourselves. This neighbor-love element is immediately applicable in our relationships with students, customers, vendors, partners, and coworkers.
What ‘Christian’ Doesn’t Mean
Despite our explicit statement that Unbound is a “Christian” company, we want a couple of things to be clear about what that doesn’t mean.
First, we do not require our students to be Christian or to affirm a statement of faith in order to participate into any of our programs or courses. In the past we have happily welcomed students from a variety of backgrounds, including Orthodox Judaism, agnosticism, and atheism. While many of our students do come from Christian backgrounds, there are a broad variety of “denominations” and viewpoints represented in our student body.
While students are not required to be Christians in order to participate in Unbound’s courses and programs, they are required to acknowledge that Unbound is operating from a Christian worldview. As a student, one doesn’t have to agree with our Christian principles but one must respect that we hold them. Past students who have not come from a Christian faith tradition have done this and through mutual respect we have built strong relationships with these people and they have made great contributions to our community.
Second, being a Christian company doesn’t mean that we teach in-depth theology or that we are the equivalent of a “Bible college”. This may be a mistaken conclusion given that we are a Christian company operating in the space of higher education. Christian principles do run through our courses like Navigate and other courses in our Ascend program. After all, our number one priority is to equip our students to build the kingdom of God. This involves courses like “Concepts of Christianity and Cultural Engagement” (available to Ascend Challenge students).
All this said, Unbound is very aware of our role in the spiritual formation of our students. We are not the Church and we are not a church. As I mentioned above, our students come from a broad variety of theological backgrounds. Unbound does not take upon the role of arbiter of theological disputes among our student body. Unbound does not seek to replace the local church in the lives of our students. In fact, we make intentional efforts to not do so and to encourage participation in the local church and Christian community.
In summary, Unbound is an explicitly Christian company whose priorities and ethics are driven and shaped by historic, orthodox Christianity as defined by Scripture and early church creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed. While Christian principles pervade Unbound’s courses and programs, we do not teach from a particular theological tradition and we do not act in the place of the local church. Unbound does not require our students to be Christians but we do require them to acknowledge and respect the reality that the Christian faith shapes all our company is and all it does.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.