student standing in front of stained glass window in Randolph Chapel

Southwest Baptist University has adopted Mission, Vision, and Core Values statements that guide decision-making and daily operations. Additionally, the University’s strategic plan, Pathways for Success, identifies seven initiatives to guide the University’s planning process.

mission statement

(Adopted by the Board of Trustees, May 1997)

Southwest Baptist University is a Christ-centered, caring academic community preparing students to be servant leaders in a global society.

vision statement

(Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 2003)

Southwest Baptist University fulfills its mission with specific care to guard its Christian distinctives and Baptist heritage as it demonstrates continuous improvement; enlarges its ministry through consistent growth in student enrollment, retention, and ethnic and racial diversity, markets the institution and its mission regionally and nationally; fosters an environment of open communication and service to others; and cares for employees through competitive compensation and benefits packages.

purpose of the university

The mission statement of the University implies there will be a fusing of the liberal arts with career preparation and the Christian faith with learning. Recognition is also given to the enduring values of the liberal arts as the foundation of critical thinking, decision making, and the high literacy required for responsible careers in the contemporary world.

Therefore, the purposes of SBU are to produce graduates who:

  • have been presented with Jesus' invitation to personal faith, life commitment, and responsible church membership.
  • have acquired the ability to think critically in rational and coherent ways.
  • are able to communicate effectively through reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • have adopted a lifestyle which incorporates health and physical fitness.
  • have developed principles for personal, family and social life, and make responsible decisions based upon Christian values.
  • have discovered that learning is a life-long process, have developed a spirit of inquiry that motivates, and have been equipped with the necessary abilities to continue learning.
  • have acquired an understanding of scientific inquiry and process, and have an ability to evaluate the achievements, limitations, and ethical questions of scientific methodology.
  • understand the basic ideas upon which the United States was founded, and will be involved as a responsible citizen working for justice, freedom and peace in the affairs of the community, nation and world.
  • understand the social institutions and forces that have shaped and are shaping individuals, cultures and civilizations.

core values

(Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 2003)

In fulfilling the University’s mission and vision through its strategic planning process, Southwest Baptist University is committed to the following core values:

Christian distinctiveness

Southwest Baptist University is Christ-centered. From its inception, the University has been a distinctively Christian and Baptist institution in terms of worldview and ideological commitments. A Christian worldview which is grounded in the Old and New Testaments contains these beliefs:

  • God is creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate source of all truth, beauty and moral value wherever they are found.
  • Humanity chose to rebel against God and lives in a fallen state which he or she is incapable of righting.
  • God sent His Son, Jesus the Christ, to pay the penalty for the sin of mankind. He died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day. All who repent of their sin and put their trust in Jesus are delivered from the eternal consequences of sin.
  • God both judges and redeems humanity, thereby inviting men and women to define their relationship with Him, with fellow human beings across the globe and with history.
  • All people are to be treated with respect and dignity since they have been created in the image of God and have innate worth.
  • Human beings have sufficient capacity and freedom of will to develop their intellectual, physical, social, psychological and spiritual well-being.
  • Christians are to be change agents in society, sharing the Christian message and lifestyle; Christians are responsible for their relationship with God, with fellow human beings and with their environment.
  • Christians must exercise responsible citizenship.

Baptist Heritage

Southwest Baptist University has a long history of association with Baptist work, both in Missouri and throughout the world. The academic foundations of the University are built upon historical Baptist traditions. The implications of this tradition for Baptist higher education are:

  • The acknowledgment of God as the ultimate source of all knowledge and truth.
  • The commitment to scholarly endeavor under God.
  • The desire for open inquiry and responsible scholarship, and the freedom to promote the results of this scholarship.
  • The freedom of others to hold and to promote differing scholarly views consistent with a Christian worldview.
  • The acknowledgment of an ongoing relationship with the Missouri Baptist Convention.

compassion and care for sbu family

Southwest Baptist University is a caring community. Scripture teaches that all people regardless of their socioeconomic, physical, mental or spiritual condition are individuals of worth in the eyes of God. It exhorts Christians to look out for the welfare of other people, to be good stewards of the possessions God has given and to be honest with one another. The University values all members of the University family and seeks to demonstrate the highest standard of respect for people exemplifying a Christian commitment to living with one another.

academic excellence

Southwest Baptist University is an academic community. Southwest Baptist University pursues excellence in teaching, scholarship and service by encouraging each member of the University community to live a Christ-centered life:

  • Treating each person as an individual valued by Christ;
  • Integrating liberal arts, research, and professional studies;
  • Preparing students through appropriate educational and ministry opportunities to meet the challenges of a global society; and
  • Integrating Christian faith and Biblical values within each academic discipline in accordance with the University's Baptist heritage.

The University recognizes that academic excellence can be achieved only through continuous evaluation and assessment of curriculum, teaching and student learning.

social and spiritual development

Southwest Baptist University encourages the social and spiritual development of the University family, preparing servant leaders for the global society. The University recognizes a responsibility to assist all members of the University family to grow spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. The University responds to that responsibility by offering opportunities for education, ministry, encouragement and worship. As a distinctively Christian and Baptist institution, Southwest Baptist University believes it should demonstrate how the life-values commanded in Scripture can be integrated with academic instruction. These values include sensitivity to the needs of the larger community; a commitment to justice, mercy and personal integrity; a desire for moral growth; and a sense of mutual accountability. The moral values of the University are guided by an understanding of Scripture and a commitment to its authority regarding all areas of Christian faith, learning and living. An important aspect of social development and servant leadership is a commitment to service. Service and engagement at SBU promote learning beyond the classroom and encourage faculty, staff, and students to exemplify a carding academic community. Service and engagement activities can be defined as those that share the love of Christ, contribute to the public and university good, promote community and civic involvement, enrich scholarship and research, or improve the quality of life for others.

Personal Wellness

The University recognizes its responsibility to assist all members of the University family to establish and maintain personal wellness. Scripture clearly teaches the importance of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the University values personal wellness as a necessary component of servant-leadership. The University responds to its responsibility by offering opportunities for education and activities conducive to personal wellness.

Statement of Faith

(Adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1921)

University Charter for Southwest Baptist University
Article XVI, Section 2

The Board of Trustees adopts the following Statement of Faith and Belief:

It is hereby expressly declared that Southwest Baptist University is, and must forever remain, distinctively a Baptist institution. It must conserve, defend, and promote the fundamentals of the Baptist Faith, and in all its teachings and policies conform to and be in harmony with the established and acknowledged principles and policies of Baptist churches affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention and with the Southern Baptist Convention.

We hold the following as fundamental Baptist Doctrine:

  1. Belief in the inspiration and all sufficient authority of the Bible in all matters of Christian faith and practice.
  2. The absolute Deity, the Virgin birth, the vicarious death, the bodily resurrection, the visible second coming, and the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ.
  3. That salvation is only and wholly by grace through faith.
  4. That the human conditions of salvation are—Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. That the individual soul is competent to deal directly with God through Christ.
  6. That all members are entitled to equal privileges in the church.
  7. That the true ideal of the relations between church and state is "a free church and a free state."
  8. That a church is a body of baptized believers associated together in solemn covenant, with Christ as its head and the scriptures as its Law, to worship God, conserve and administer the ordinances of His house, and to preach the Gospel to the world.
  9. The ordinances of the church are two, viz: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
  10. That baptism is immersion in water, by a scripturally authorized administrator, of a believer in Christ; that its purpose is to symbolize the death of the subject to sin and his resurrection to a newness of life.
  11. That the Lord's Supper is memorial in nature and that the terms of admission to the supper are regeneration, baptism, and church membership.

Strategic Plan

SBU's Strategic Plan