0 President Lewis speaking with a student in front of the Chapel Quad

Demonstration Plot: Houghton University | President’s Blog

December 27, 2021

A few weeks back, Pastor Wes Oden used agricultural demonstration plots as a metaphor for the church. For those unfamiliar with this concept, demonstration plots are fields (plots of land) that can be used for experimenting and sharing agricultural practices. These might be used for showcasing agricultural technologies or new and improved crops. Demonstration plots are often used by seed developers who want to get the attention of farmers (customers) by showcasing crops grown from their seeds.

Wes used the analogy in making the point that we (the church universal) are to be the demonstration plot for the world, showcasing for the world what faithful, Christ-centered, Christian living looks like. And not just for the purpose of being good Christians among ourselves but to get the world’s attention in the hopes that those who do not yet know Christ might see our light and our living and be drawn to Christ through us.

That, however, requires that we as the church do in fact live and behave as faithful, Christ-centered, Christian community. If there is no difference between our living and that of the world, there’s nothing to get anyone’s attention. In essence, there’s nothing to demonstrate. A seed company would waste its time and resources in using a demonstration plot to showcase a crop that looks no different from what farmers already have. In the same way, the church can’t possibly believe a demonstration of living and behavior that is identical to that of the world would attract anyone to Christ.

stock photo of farm land under a blue sky

Strangely enough, however, more of us seem to be convinced that emulating the world rather than faithful, Christ-centered living is somehow advantageous for the church. More of us than ever seem convinced that, rather than the church serving as a demonstration plot for Christ and being the light of the world, we should adapt to rapidly deteriorating societal norms and standards.

As I have considered Pastor Wes’ message, my mind and my heart go to Houghton University and what I believe to be our calling as a demonstration plot. Houghton University should be a place of demonstration for what the integration of Christ-centered and faithful living and academic excellence looks like. Rather than attempting to adapt and look more and more like the world around us, we commit daily to being a light in higher education, showcasing for all what Christ-centered higher education can be, not for our glory or aggrandizement, but so that others might see and be drawn to Christ through us.

Houghton University should be a place of demonstration for what the integration of Christ-centered and faithful living and academic excellence looks like.

President Wayne D. Lewis Jr.

About the Author

With 20 years of experience in education, higher education leadership is a calling for Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., President of Houghton University. He is recognized as being a champion for students; focusing on improving educational access, opportunities and experiences for students, including those who have historically been underserved.

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