Bret Widman featured image background

Bret Widman

Associate Professor of Ministry, Dir of CALL & Dir of CRUX

Bret Widman is the Director of the CRUX program, North Park’s Christian discipleship living-learning program where incoming freshmen join a cohort and live in community for the first year. The cohort experience incorporates students’ academic learning in a space where they can also explore their spiritual, social, and creative growth.

Bret’s goal is to create a community of grace within the CRUX program where students can experience and learn what it means to follow Jesus. “We will not only inform our heads with knowledge, but we will engage our hearts with relationships. We will evaluate our faith through the lens of loving God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and then loving our neighbors as ourselves.”

Bret’s classrooms are highly interactive and guide students through discussion to discover the richness of biblical text. CRUX is also about getting outside of the classroom, and Bret challenges students to engage with the greater communities around them. One opportunity for this is Sankofa, a racial reconciliation trip to the south.

Throughout the year, Bret and his students also engage with various ministries and churches in Chicago. “CRUX is a multiethnic discipleship cohort and, thus, we will be learning from one another as we follow the same Lord.”

Bret’s inspiration for leading and sharing with students in CRUX stems from his own academic experiences. He shares what he learned about grace from one of his professors, Dallas Willard. To Willard, grace is “actually God acting in your life to accomplish what you cannot accomplish on your own” (The Great Omission). “Taking Spirituality and Ministry from Dallas Willard gave me the vision, intention, and means for a discipleship paradigm.” Now it is Bret’s desire that his students would understand the width, depth, height, and length of God’s love for them.

When Bret is not teaching or with his students, he enjoys running, cooking, reading, and spending time with his family.