From rooting on the Dallas Cowboys to being a book worm, new Chaplain Scott Peterson brings a fresh persona to spiritual leadership at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
Peterson is responsible for developing, directing and supporting MVNU's spiritual formation efforts. This includes:
- Leading Campus Ministries staff
- Speaking in chapel and planning for chapel guest speakers
- Providing pastoral care and guidance to the campus
- Counseling students and others in crisis/bereavement
- Partnering with Academic Affairs to enhance students'
He brings 18 years of pastoral experience at many levels. Dr. Fred Fullerton, consultant to the University in the chaplain's search, stated, "Scott is a positive, forward-looking, relationally oriented leader. He can step into the university chaplain assignment with ease and grace and establish himself as a person of relevant influence."
As a boy in Dallas, Texas, Peterson dreamt of being a quarterback for the Cowboys. I wanted to be Roger Staubach, but it never quite worked out," he said, laughing. "My father is from Arkansas and I grew up going to their games. I suppose I'll have to make some adjustments in Buckeye country."
Grounded in Christian values, Peterson headed to Southern Nazarene University in 1985 (then Bethany) and graduated in 1990. Few may know that he took a year in between to attend the University of Texas at Arlington on a singing scholarship. When he returned to SNU, he enjoyed traveling with music groups.
A Heart for Ministry
SNU faculty and staff helped shape Peterson's view of serving God and others. With a history undergraduate degree, he earned a master's in theological studies from Trevecca and spent 11 years as a youth pastor. At Olathe, Kan., College Church, he transitioned to associate pastor for one year before heading to the West Coast.
"Keith Newman, MVNU's vice president of University Relations, was a big factor in my eventual landing in California," said Peterson. "He was the senior pastor at Mission Valley and, when he left for Mount Vernon, recommended me to the congregation." He served as senior pastor there for the last five years.
A New Environment
"One of the first things I want to do at MVNU is to understand university culture," Peterson explained. "While I've worked near universities and known many faculty members, I've never worked on a campus."
As he feels his way through this new landscape, he looks forward to both the big and small things. "Brennan Manning is scheduled to be on campus this fall, and I'm a big fan," he said. "Long-term, part of both my and Dr. Martin's dream is to be at the forefront of chaplaincy and student ministry for the entire country. We want to see MVNU on the cutting edge."
While it will take creativity and innovation to accomplish this, Peterson's personal goal is to be known for kindness and caring. "I want people to see me as a person after God's heart," he commented. "A unique strength I feel I bring to the chaplaincy is a sense of humor. I tend not to take myself or the world too seriously. Work has to be enjoyable."
Party of Four
Peterson brings with him his wife Katie and sons Cody (14) and Zachary (11). "Following God's call in my life has been an adventure for my entire family," he said. "We've can look back and see very clearly God's hand at work." He added that Job 42 -- seeing God act and move in your life and in that of others -- has been especially significant to him lately.
Reading is a big part of Peterson's life. "There's not much I don't like to read. I just finished Good Earth
," he said. "Reading a variety of books provides me with a broader view of the world. Some I've really enjoyed include Into Thin Air
by John Krakauer and The Shack
by William P. Young."
"We're excited to be a part of the MVNU community," he concluded. "It's a school with a great history and bright future. We believe that God has great things in store for all of us as we journey together."
Visit MVNU's Chaplain's blog at mvnuchaplain.wordpress.com