Jacob Ravenscraft is new dean of Spiritual Life
Riverside, Calif. (March 16, 2023) – Prior to coming to California Baptist University in 2016, Jacob Ravenscraft was a youth and college pastor at a church in Orange County. At CBU, he was director of university ministries in Spiritual Life, then assistant dean in 2021. Last month, Ravenscraft became dean of Spiritual Life.
We talked with him about his role. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is the mission of Spiritual Life?
Our mission is investing in lives to develop followers of Jesus. We want to invest in students, faculty and staff in a way that helps us grow toward being faithful followers of Christ, share the gospel and grow in our faith. We provide leadership and a shepherding and a consistent pointing to who God is and then pointing to where the Lord is calling us. We want to be moving toward maturity for those who identify as followers of Jesus.
We want to create safe places for students to explore the gospel. We want to partner and come alongside the students to help them grow in their faith and move toward being a mature disciple of Jesus. Our staff wants to model having a personal ministry where we're sharing the gospel, but then we also want to help Christian students catch a vision for making disciples on campus as well, so that they can take that practice and those skills with them after graduation.
Talk about the chapel and service components in Spiritual Life.
Through chapel, we provide a weekly opportunity to worship God through music and teaching of His word. It’s a weekly opportunity for us to remind ourselves of who we are as a university, a university not only committed to the Great Commission but a university that wants to worship God and be people who follow Jesus.
In service, we have opportunities to live out our faith because it's not the great suggestion, it's the Great Commission. We want to have a heart for the nations as God does. We train and we help students grow toward catching that same heart and conviction for the lost around the globe, and then we'll offer short-term trips that hopefully give students a bigger picture of what it looks like to be obedient and participate in the Great Commission for a lifetime.
What are your goals for Spiritual Life and for CBU students?
The thing that makes me most excited is that every week in staff meeting, we share ministry wins. What we hear are people coming to faith, and we hear those who are Christians grow in having a heart for Jesus and His word. And then they don’t keep it to themselves but pass it on.
We want to see spiritual multiplication on campus. That's the heartbeat. So, in 10 years from now, if I look back, I want to see over 200 students have gone overseas for three years or more. I want to see that people have chosen to be a part of church plants around the country. They chose the church plant before they chose the job, or they chose a church that's sending church planters. I want to see students in the workforce and in Riverside sharing the gospel with their co-workers. I want to see students continue to come to faith here on campus. And then I want to see students sharing the gospel so our staff is not doing all of the ministry.
That’s already happening as students are getting invested in by staff, and then they're investing in other students and it's growing and expanding. We want that to scale up even more. We want people to know the Lord and be saved and pass it on. We want people to be humble and be gentle and be kind, and we want the non-believers on campus to see the fragrance of Christ.