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Fredrikson Center Programming

Throughout the year, the Fredrikson Center offers a range of spiritual programming for theologians, church leaders, faculty members, pastors and laity, students and community members. The Fredrikson Center also provides a spiritual house for community events.

Norwood Jones

Sponsored by the Norwood L. Jones Convocation Fund

The Norwood L. Jones Convocation Fund was established in 1973 by Mr. and Mrs. Norwood L. Jones, Carolyn Jones Fletcher, and Anne J. Mills. The fund enables Ottawa University to invite distinguished individuals to campus to stimulate and inspire students in their religious life and involvements.

2023 Event Poster with Speaker Bio

There are currently no upcoming events.


The Hostetter-DeFries Family Endowed Cultural Fund was established in 1999 by Ottawa University alumna Alice Jo (Hostetter) DeFries. The goal of the fund and annual cultural event is to host guest speakers who have contributed significantly to the social, artistic and cultural improvement of society.


There are currently no upcoming events.

Adventures in Faith

Adventures in Faith (AIF) is an annual event that brings a team of alumni who are established in their vocational or volunteer fields and united by a strong faith commitment to spend three days on campus in Ottawa, Kansas. While here, they make in-class, group and chapel presentations on blending vocation with avocation.

Begun in the late 1970s by Dr. Roger Fredrikson, the event was put under the Fredrikson Center in 2011 and is being redesigned to better align with the University’s mission and vision by identifying specific areas of need within the community and on campus and inviting AIF and community professionals to address those needs through workshops, roundtables and presentations. The redesign of Adventures in Faith has allowed for a robust crossover of interest and content that engages multiple audiences. Video archives of several of the presentations can be viewed here.

There are currently no upcoming events.

Pastors and Laity

With a burden for equipping, encouraging and empowering pastors and lay leaders, Ottawa University developed its annual pastors and laity conference in 2011 with three purposes in mind:

  • Help pastors and lay people understand the meaning of spiritual formation— "Becoming Like Jesus."
  • Encourage pastors and lay people to commit themselves to disciplines of grace, making them available to God’s Spirit as they take on the character of Christ.
  • Discover ways by which congregations can become communities of grace— signs of God's Kingdom.

As part of the Fredrikson Center for Faith and Church Vitality, the conference is another tangible way Ottawa University fulfills its mission as a “Christ-centered community of grace that integrates faith, learning and life.” It features gifted communicators of God’s Word, powerful worship, challenging breakout sessions, and fellowship with other Christian leaders.

Please note that the next offering will be in 2024, as the ABC Biennial is in 2023.

There are currently no upcoming events.

Pastoral Development

Sponsored through a generous grant from the Ervil A. & Ronald E. Thiel Charitable Trust

The Pastoral Development Program concentrates on the training, development and resource needs of up to 12 ABC and interdenominational pastors over a 12-month period. It was initiated by Chancellor Dr. Kevin C. Eichner in 2011 with the express mission "To strengthen the skills, knowledge, spiritual formation, personal behavior patterns, and relationships which will enable pastors to be more effective and more fulfilled in their ministry for Christ's purposes."

The year-long, cohort style programming concentrates on leadership skills, business education, faith-based psychology, and individualized mentoring for current pastors. It consists of two-day training sessions each quarter on campus in Ottawa, Kansas, with church-site mentoring and self-discovery activities provided in the intervening months. On-site consultation and interaction at the pastor's home church can include congregational training opportunities and/or work with local church leaders.

During and following the development programming, pastors can access additional resources and support here.


In the summer of 2011, Chancellor Kevin Eichner proposed a Pastoral Training Program to Rev. John Williams, American Baptist Executive Minister for the Central Region, which promulgated the express mission "To strengthen the skills, knowledge, spiritual formation, personal behavior patterns, and relationships which will enable pastors to be more effective and more fulfilled in their ministry for Christ's purposes." Interaction, surveys and discussions were then facilitated with pastors at the ABC Regional Gathering and Ottawa University's Pastors and Laity Conference. Through these and other discussions, some common themes were discerned around which general program components were proposed:

  • Pastors are looking for training opportunities to help them better motivate church members, make greater community impact and target their own development, but they have limited funds and minimal time availability. Training should be low or no cost to allow equal opportunity to large/small and rural/city pastor participants. It also should be intense when on campus and offer virtual and "at church" components.
  • Pastors often feel isolated, and they look for opportunities that serve as a forum for sharing experiences, learning from those who have faced similar challenges, and recognizing and reinforcing other pastors' work. Time and opportunity needs to be scheduled for open-forum and peer sharing. Seasoned pastors should be recruited to participate in class dialogue and act as mentors for the program participants.
  • Much of the leadership challenge for pastors is managing and leading non-paid volunteers. This requires more emotional intelligence, conflict management skills and a greater ability to motivate and inspire people simply managing paid staff. Focus must be given to common personality types, leadership tools and conflict management strategies. Materials should be tailored to specific challenges which arise in faith-based situations.
  • A common view of mission is to "save souls and transform people's lives," but this is negatively impacted by worries about the financial bottom line. Although they recognize that the financial health of the church and ministries is a requirement, many pastors feel uncomfortable with the secularity of the "business side of things." Training on business-related elements would be appreciated, but to be well received, it must be clearly faith-based and foster servant leadership principles.
  • The spiritual side must be deeply incorporated into any truly meaningful training experience. Essential spiritual elements, i.e. prayer to open a session, praying for each other's specific needs, and the integration of leadership elements with scriptural references, are crucial to participant comfort and program success.

Overall, pastors reported they face the difficult task of leading and motivating a wide variety of volunteer leaders, and while they feel well trained in theology, they often feel inadequate as leaders. This tied in with a national poll of pastors, which showed that having the personal leadership confidence to withstand negative pressures helps to buffer against loss of overall confidence, personal de-motivation and feelings of burn-out. There was also a necessary business aspect of church leadership that pastors indicated an inadequacy to properly handle. So while they know there is a comfortable basis in Jesus' teachings about money matters, they often feel squeamish in dealing directly with this financial or business component of the church.

In response, Chancellor Eichner began teaching a cohort of 12 pastors, selected primarily through nominations received from the American Baptist Central Region office but open to multiple denominations. Lasting 10 months and concentrating on the need of those currently in active service, the pastoral development program is offered at no charge to pastors or their churches. On-campus training targets leadership skills, business education, faith-based psychology, and individualized mentoring. On-site consultation and interaction at the pastor's home church includes individualized assessments and church-specific recommendations. Pastors are from ABC and other churches throughout Kansas, as well as Arkansas and South Dakota. Programming will eventually extend into neighboring ABC regions.

The 2012-13 ministry team was comprised of Chancellor Kevin C. Eichner ’73, Life Trustee Dr. Roger Fredrikson ’42, Rev. Warren Smith ’66, Religion Professor Dr. Richard Menninger, and Fredrikson Center Managing Director Dr. John Holzhuter.

The next cohort is scheduled to start August 2023.

Theology, Action and Understanding Institute (TAU Institute)

What is the TAU Institute? Funded through a generous, multi-year grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the TAU Institute within the Fredrikson Center is a “Youth theology institute offering rigorous, surprising and creative engagement with theologies; re-casting youth as active participants in theological debate.” In other words, TAU Institute is a non-profit with a mission to help high school students dive deeper into the practical aspects of their faith and all of our programming is offered FREE of charge to churches and individual participants. 

At TAU Institute events, the avocational transcript program is utilized; which equips students with seeds of faith, tools for scriptural practice and partnerships, and hands-on opportunities which will document a student’s endeavors. Not only will students engage in real-world, ‘Bible practice’, they will leave the experience with credentials to put on resumes and job applications, and enrollment in a badge-credit program that is on-going and a transcript that is permanent.

TAU Website

Each year this group begins with the MLK Day of Service and ends on Labor Day Weekend with a camp.

The Ottawa University campus ministries programs offer a variety of opportunities for students enrolled at our residential campuses in Ottawa, Kansas and Surprise, Arizona.

While each campus offers varying opportunities, there are great options for students to get involved in.

The Fredrikson Center is committed to helping students overcome barrier reductions when earning their education. There are limited amount of funds each month made possible by generous donors.

Let us know what your 'educational barriers' are (time, support, 'stuff' or funds...)

Completed Applications are considered on a case by case basis, as assessed/scored by the Barrier Reduction Committee and the University Chaplain.

Contact one of the Fredrikson Team Members with this link


These services are made possible by generous donors. If you would like to give to these initiatives, please click here and enter "Barrier Reduction" in the "Gift Designation" area. 

Have some extra time? Volunteer with us! We always need volunteers to help in the following areas:

Food Bank Volunteer

Solve world hunger! Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. Come volunteer with TAU as we work together to provide food for those without. Help sort and restock the pantry, assisting in organization and distribution to help end hunger one small step at a time.

Clothing Bank Volunteer

In California, it doesn’t get this cold; many students come to Ottawa unprepared for Kansas’s frozen tundra. Bring some warmth back to winter and volunteer at TAU’s clothing bank. Here you can help sort clothing, take inventory, and spread the word about the resources we offer. I mean, who doesn’t like free clothes?

Volunteer Interest Form


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