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About the Project

The central purpose of The CrossRoads Project is to encourage Hope students in the ongoing work of discerning, with wisdom, their own callings in the world. We believe that such active discernment will better prepare them for lives of service to God and to others. In short, the CrossRoads Project aspires to enable Hope students to explore more thoughtfully -- and with theological insight -- the vocations to which God is calling them.

The Project takes its inspiration from Frederick Buechner’s often-quoted yet still instructive definition of vocation as the place where “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Operating from within a Christian theological context, we believe that all people are called to particular vocations by God, who is both the source of our giftedness and the one who sends us into the world to serve.

Discerning one’s calling or vocation involves finding appropriate ways to respond to God. One discerns this sense of vocation by grappling with a variety of fundamental questions, such as “Who am I? What are my deepest convictions? What are my gifts? What are the world’s needs? Which needs can I address? How do I live out my vocation through my work?” This set of questions undergirds the CrossRoads Project. Through the generous support of the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Project undertakes a variety of initiatives that help these questions to permeate Hope College—challenging faculty, staff, and students throughout each phase of each person's career at Hope.

At Hope College, our understanding of vocation is rooted in the historic Christian faith. In its broadest sense, one could say that Christians have a single vocation, though expressed in different ways: to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself; to serve God alone; to follow Jesus Christ. At the same time, there are many ways to live out this vocation: through parenting, friendship, citizenship, and work, among others. Thus, vocation includes more than one’s career. Since all of life belongs to God, every dimension of life is affected by God’s calling. Informed by this perspective, this program invites students to discern and learn how to live out their vocation through faithful practices in church, family, community, and workplace.

People from other religious or philosophical traditions often express a sense of calling or vocation as well. While rooted in the Christian religion, Hope College has a long tradition of showing hospitality and respect to all members of our community, regardless of their religious or philosophical commitments. The theological exploration of vocation is central to our program, but we do not understand that concept in exclusively Christian terms. We hope that Hope students will not only encounter specifically Christian understandings of calling, but that they will also explore and develop their own worldviews, whether Christian or otherwise.

You can view the original proposal (PDF) that was sent to the Lilly Endowment, Inc., which became the basis for the awarding of the $2 million grant that funds The CrossRoads Project. You can also view the proposal to extend the grant (PDF) for three additional years.