What Does “In All Things Christ Preeminent” Really Mean?
When driving up the north side of Lookout Mountain, the first glimpse of Covenant’s campus is a stone sign draped in flowers displaying the college’s motto, “In all things Christ preeminent.” The first time you visit campus or read that phrase, it may mean very little to you. However, for the many students, professors, staff members, alumni, and parents who drive past the sign, the phrase encapsulates their worldview and purpose.
If you are unfamiliar with the word preeminent, it’s helpful to break it down into pre- and eminent. You may intuitively know that the Latin root pre- means before or in front of. Combine that with the word eminent, (defined as “standing above others in some quality or position, prominent,” by the Merriam Webster dictionary), and together, preeminent means “having paramount rank, dignity, or importance” (per the Merriam Webster Dictionary).
In every area of life and the world, Jesus is of paramount importance. We can pursue Christ in all things, and we seek to make his name known in a preeminent way.
Understanding Christ in the Classroom
Covenant cares about our strong academics and excellence in the classroom, but how does “In all things Christ preeminent” play into this?
Every class at Covenant, whether it’s English, calculus, or doctrine, keeps Christ central. We teach students that Christ is the creator and sustainer of every field of study, meaning that through academic study, students are worshiping and exploring God’s creation. When students graduate, they understand how to see God’s hand in everything He has created, and they know how to succeed in their career as a believer in Christ.
A Holistic Academic Experience
We simultaneously pursue academic excellence and spiritual formation. These pursuits are not in competition, but rather cooperate to build a well-rounded, Christ-centered experience. We seek to uphold and advance both areas simultaneously. Through our academic efforts, we can see and understand God’s hand in the world, and through our devotion to scriptural truth, we can better understand the world and the people around us.
Sadly, it is all too common for schools to be Christian in name only, never diving into what it means to study the world from a biblical perspective. Covenant is different because academics and spiritual life are intertwined, offering students a holistic education.
Spiritually Integrated Campus Life
The classroom isn’t the only place that Christ’s preeminence comes into play at Covenant. In residence life, athletics, clubs, the fine arts, and any other campus activity, Christ is the focus. This is profound because it means Christ is the reason students, athletes, and artists study, compete, and perform to the best of their ability as they delight in their God-given passion. It also means Christ is central to the friendships formed in the dorms. Campus life benefits everyone when we all look to Christ as our guide.
It is hard to fully encapsulate what “In all things Christ preeminent” means to our community. It is a worldview that is expressed in the way we go about our daily lives, and it all comes down to wholeheartedly following Christ.