Hello and welcome. This is the LCU podcast, a podcast that will bring stories, insights and people from Lubbock Christian University. I'm your host, Keegan Stewart, and I'm happy to be with you for another episode. On today's episode, I had a conversation with Associate Professor of Accounting, Dr. Josh Sauerwein, we talked with Josh about LCU's Center for Faith and Business.
He's the director of this program that's gearing up for a lot of exciting changes. This is a great opportunity for all students at LCU. We also talked to Josh about what makes LCU's School of Business a special place. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Dr. Josh Sauerwein.
Dr. Josh Sauerwein, thanks for being here today.
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Thank you very much for having me.
Keegan Stewart: So first question just a little bit about you. How long have you been here at LCU?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: This will be the start of my third year. I came from George Fox University, where he taught for eight years before that and just joined the faculty here in 2020 fall 2020.
Keegan Stewart: So what drew you to this place when you decided to make that transition?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: That's a great question, Keegan. We had obviously gone through March of 2020 when kind of the world blew up and everybody was, you know, at home. And funny enough, I had just resigned my position at George Fox to take a learning officer position at a CPA firm on the West Coast. And, you know, two weeks after the pandemic hit, they ended up canceling my contract.
And I had to kind of scramble around and figure, okay, where what's next? Where do we go? And truth of the matter is, we have quite a bit of our family is in the Midwest. And we'd always wanted to kind of get back to the Midwest and through kind of just a series of I would call them God sized events.
We came in contact with LCU and came in contact with Tracy Mack and Matt Bumstead. And the moment we visited here, we we knew I mean, it's a special place, but we loved one the people, but two just how serious they took their faith around here and how it was a part of everything they do at the university.
Keegan Stewart: So that's great. Well, we're we're glad you're here. And what we're here to talk about today is the Center for Faith and Business, which you are the director of. So my first question is, you know, tell me a little bit about what the Center for Faith and Business is. And, you know, there's been there's been portions of that in the school of business.
There's, you know, and Dean Bumstead that has his class. But explain to this community what what is this new addition for the school of business?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: That's another great question. I wouldn't say it's actually new. I mean, much to your point, it has existed prior to me being, you know, kind of taking directorship. But Tracy Mack, I think it was kind of one of his brainchild and it was something that he knew would be kind of the heartbeat of school of business. So we when I got here, I kept asking around like, okay, what is the Center for Faith and Business?
I keep seeing it and the answer was, well, it's it's probably more of an aspiration than anything else. We have Matt Bumstead's class, which is just, you know, knocking it out of the park. But we'd love to kind of develop a fuller set of things. So probably the best way to describe it is the things that we love to do and want to do really well.
Kind of that faith integration piece, the things that we take very seriously. We just want to amplify it. We want to make it kind of the central heartbeat focus of what we do over there in the school of Business. So yeah, it's probably a good way to describe it at this point. And truth be told, I mean, there's still a lot of we're trying to discern right?
Where is God taking this? What are what are the ways that we can really invest in students lives? Maybe the community around this idea of not integrating our faith into business by integrating business into our faith.
Keegan Stewart: So if I'm an LCU student and I and I hear about this and, you know, I'm like, I, I want to get involved with the Center for Faith and Business. What kind of things could I expect or what would that look like for me?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Yeah, yeah, good question. I think we have a couple of things right now and we hope to have a lot more in the future. So right now, I mean, the home run right is getting into Matt Bumstead's class like.
Keegan Stewart: Yeah. And will you explain what that is. Well Matt we've already mentioned Matt Bumstead's class. Explain that because that is an awesome thing that takes place here. Yeah.
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: So Matt, for, for those that may not know his background, you know, former CEO of United United Marketplace and we are fortunate to have him here. I think he started as CEO in residence and then obviously took on some other roles along the way. But the thing that's been consistent through his time here is him teaching this class, and it really is about what I just described, integrating, you know, business into your faith.
Right. So he's kind of going through what are some common misconception things about business, right. That maybe we feel like may not align with our faith, but maybe we've just seen them, you know, a little off up to now. What are opportunities we have at the workplace as Christians, as people of Christ, that we see things differently than them, right?
We see different opportunities in the marketplace than maybe other people see what are pinch points, right? Like when we get into conflict with people, how do we navigate that in a way that might look very different than maybe what the rest of the marketplace looks like? So his class is really kind of stepping students through not just the opportunities but the pinch points and just having kingdom eyes for the way that we see the marketplace.
Mm hmm. Yeah.
Keegan Stewart: Do you have to be a business major to be involved with the Center for Faith and Business?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Absolutely not. In fact, we would love to have other voices at that table. I think the the special thing that you get at a place like LCU is we're small enough that we can walk across the aisle. Right. Like we can we can have these interdisciplinary discussions. We can bring in people from, you know, religious studies from college, college of Bible.
Right? We can bring in sociologists, we can bring in psychologists, and let's have a fuller discussion about some of these things. So I would welcome all all students from across LCU to be a part of this.
Keegan Stewart: Yeah. And I hope our student body hears that and buys into that because I think that would that would just really increase the product that you're creating over there and make it even more make it even more dynamic. One of the things that y'all also sell well talking about this program is mentorship. What does that look like? I know you had a few students really go through the whole mentorship program, but what what is this mentorship program?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Yeah, no, I we knew when we started, you know, kind of these first initial efforts of Center for Faith and Business that it had to be really student focused. Right. That that this isn't something for us to just pad a vita with. This isn't something that is producing scholarship that, you know, five people a year read. Right. We want something that is going to be impactful to the students.
And the natural thing that came up right away was just, well, let's get them into mentoring relationships. People who know the Lord, love the Lord, are doing business in an incredible way and let the students have kind of this open ended discussion with them about life, about how they do this, about, you know, spiritual matters. Right. So we knew this was starting and we thought, okay, let's let's try a pilot program.
So we had 15 students this last year, put them into mentorships and, you know, I can say almost across the board, all of them came back with these huge smiles on their face like that was awesome, you know, and we talked about things that had very little to do with, you know, classes or technical content or anything like that.
It was much more around, you know, navigating life in the marketplace or, you know, what are some of the struggles that you've encountered and how, you know, what would you tell me as a student to do so? We're super excited about that program. I think we're trying to build it out this year, trying to make it quite a bit bigger.
And for anyone out there who may desire to be a mentor, wow, we would love to have you as part of this program. We would love to have your input, but also you just your investment in the students. It would be fantastic. Yes.
Keegan Stewart: So what does that look like if I'm a if I'm a business major and I want to I want to get involved with this mentorship program, how do I get assigned a mentor? What is that what does that look like? How do I find the right fit? What all are you guys doing with that?
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Yeah. Yeah. So that's that's the structure that we kind of built out last year. And this year we're putting it into into play. Right. So I would say the first step is come talk to me, email me, talk to any one of our professors over there and they'll get you kind of pointed towards me. And what we do from there is I want to understand what you want out of the mentorship, right?
Like it's not just a here go sit with somebody and listen to their advice. I don't think I don't think that serves a good purpose. Right. I want to know what your goals are. Right. Like, what are the things that you're working on maybe within your professional career, within your character, maybe just within your own faith? Right. I mean, like, how how are you conceptualizing some of these things?
So I want to hear your goals first. And then what we do is we take you know, a couple weeks to kind of go around the table with all of our faculty and say, who would be a good mentor, right? Like who would really kind of capture and be able to lead the student towards the goals that they want to go after?
That's that's a lot of prayer. That's a lot of talking. That's a lot of reaching out to people and saying, would you be interested in this? And then it's our hope usually somewhere around first mid-October that they're in the relationship and that they're leading it right, that the students are coming every single week with, Hey, I want to talk about this, right?
Or, you know, I'm really up against this right now. Can we just can I just have you as a sounding board and someone to really kind of engage and pray with me on this? And we've seen some great fruit out of it so far. But I would to your point, like, you know, the first part is come see me.
Yeah. And I just want to hear from you. Like, what is it that you want out of this thing and let's let's find a good match for you? Yeah.
Keegan Stewart: I love hearing what y'all are doing over there, Josh, and I'm excited to see, you know, some of the other goals that you have come to fruition and see y'all grow and see all expand and have more than just business majors and make it make it even bigger and better. Before we go, I wanted to ask you this, though, because as we said at the beginning, you're a few years into your LCU tenure and you're a few years into being a part of this community, speak to prospective students, people who might be thinking about coming here and tell them, Josh, why they should come be a part of the school of Business, because it's a
it's a remarkable thing to be a part of.
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Yeah, no, I. I'm excited for it. Like the team that I think we have around us in the School of Business. I, they're friends, right? Like, yeah, I get to show up and go to work with friends. So first of all, I think one is our culture, right? Like we know each other, we love each other and we love the Lord, right?
And we are dead on serious about saying, okay, yeah, I know business has got a bad rap in a couple of places over the years. I'm an accounting major. I mean, it doesn't seem like we go more than a year or two without some major scandal. Right. Like we we try to, you know, kind of navigate through those.
But I think what we do in the LCU School of Business is we're dead on serious about saying, okay, how do we have a kingdom perspective on some of these things, right? Like how do I enter the marketplace and and truthfully be a part of kingdom work in that marketplace? And I think there's so many ways to do that, right.
So what I would tell prospective students is, one, I think this is a very special place, right? Like I think it's a special place in the sense that we get to take that question seriously. We get to talk about it, we get to explore it with you. And furthermore, we get to go watch you do it right, like in a couple of years when you walk across that stage and then all of a sudden you come back to us and say, You know what, I'm engaging in some of those and and seeing some of this at work, we I don't know, there's just this special piece of we want you to come back and help
us build that together. Right. So I think there's that piece. But I also I don't know I don't know how to say this. Like there's obviously the small class sizes. We talk about that all the time, right? Yeah. But there's more to that, right? I mean, like, it's no longer just I'm going to come in here and I'm going to learn some debits and credits.
I'm going to come in here and I'm going to have a relationship not just with the other students, but a relationship with the professor. And then from that, we get a dream together, right? We're not constrained to a classroom to say, okay, we're just going to go through this technical content. Yes, you have to be technically highly proficient.
Right. But at the same time, there's all these other matters that we get to address. There's all these other things that we need to discuss, we get to take seriously and go try to do. So I would just challenge students out there that are thinking about LCU. I think you're going to get a very different experience here that's much fuller, much richer and allows you the room to ask a lot of deep questions that have nothing to do with depth and the credits have nothing to do with, you know, marketing programs, but have everything to do with your, I guess, your role, but also your gifting and the way that you are able to see
the kingdom at work in the marketplace. Mm hmm.
Keegan Stewart: Josh, thank you for being here today and sharing with us information about the center for Faith and Business.
Dr. Josh Sauerwein: Absolutely, Keegan, it was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Keegan Stewart: Absolutely. If you want to learn more from Josh and as well from Matt Bumstead, go check out the piece that Bobby Hooton wrote on LCU.edu where they cover this in a different way and talk a little bit more about what that is look like even for a few students. Thank you so much for listening to the LCU podcast.
If you enjoyed this episode, send it to somebody you know, send it to a student who you think should get involved with. LCU Center for Faith and Business. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you have a great day. God bless. Thanks for listening to LCU podcast for more content like this. Go to LCU.edu.