With graduation comes the end of one season and the beginning of another. It’s a time of significant change and sometimes frightening uncertainty. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, says Melanie Humphreys (’94, ‘01), current President of The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta.
Humphreys says her career path has been marked with uncertainty, risk, and change. But even though it wasn’t an easy path, she says she reminded herself time and time again to trust the words of scripture: “Do not be afraid.”
“I think the first steps are always uncertain,” says Humphreys, “but as you see where you can contribute and work, things will come along. And you build on that.”
FACING THE UNKNOWN
After Humphreys graduated from Trinity Western with an English and Psychology degree, she struggled to know what to do next. She was happy with her double degree but had no idea where to apply it. So for about a year, she worked as a youth intern at Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship in Coquitlam, then in 1995, she went to Austria to work as a missionary with refugees for Gospel Missionary Union (now Avant Ministries).
This work in Austria turned out to be a life-changing experience. It was there that she really experienced the power of God’s faithfulness in her life. Time and time again, He provided for her needs and used her to make a difference in the lives of many.
She returned to Canada and to Trinity Western to work as Resident Director. She stayed in this position for four years but eventually felt it was time for more.
“I was very comfortable at Trinity, “says Humphreys, “but I knew there was so much more to do and see.”
Her experiences in Austria paved the way for her to say yes when an opportunity arose to work at a liberal arts university in Lithuania (LCC International University) as the Vice President of Student Life and the Dean of Students.
“I went to Lithuania sight unseen,” says Humphreys. It was an exciting time, but not one without stress. “I had a sense that God was calling me to this. Why would I say no? I knew He would provide.”
GOD’S GOT YOUR BACK
For Humphreys, a big part of her journey was just keeping her eyes open for opportunities, stepping out in faith, and trusting God to provide for her needs.
“You might not know why you’re where you are at a moment, but in retrospect, you’ll come to see that God had a plan,” says Humphreys. “It’s really good to see how God’s got your back when you step out in faith. He does. You do not have to be afraid.”
While working in Lithuania, Humphreys completed her Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership from Trinity Western. Then one day, while approaching Azusa Pacific University in California to see if anyone there might be interested in doing some work with her in Lithuania, she ended up making a connection that would once again change her trajectory.
Three months later, she was enrolled in a Ph.D. program and was teaching in Azusa Pacific’s Masters of Global Leadership program in order to pay for her doctorate. Humphreys taught in Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom—all while still being VP of Student Life for LCC International University.
Humphreys finished her PhD in 2007 and in 2009 she took another step into the unknown as Dean of Student Care and Services at Wheaton College in Illinois. She remained there for four years, learning and flourishing in this work until The King’s University came calling four years later.
THE NEXT RISK
When Humphreys was approached about possibly becoming the next president of The King’s University, she had a lot of questions. Should she leave her work and community at Wheaton? Was King’s a good fit for her? Could she contribute to the mission there?
Humphreys admits that she wasn’t sure what to do. But after traveling to the campus and spending a lot of time in prayer, she felt this was something she could see herself doing.
“And so you go forward in faith, not knowing what it will look like, but continue to step through those doors,” says Humphreys. “I think I had no idea what it all entailed. But I could see myself in the position. I’m older and wiser now. Would I do it again? Yes. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Incredibly, she began her presidency in 2013 on the very same day as Trinity Western’s own Bob Kuhn (’72). Over the last few years, she says she’s become friends with Kuhn and has been honoured to be able to collaborate with him on many things.
ENCOURAGEMENT TO GRADUATES
Humphreys says she wouldn’t have had any of the experiences she’s had in her career without a willingness to take risks and step out in faith. She hopes that if graduates of Trinity Western take away anything from her story, it’s that they will remember what they learned as students and will be able to trust God with their future.
“You are uniquely prepared as a Trinity Western grad,” says Humphreys. “You have the tools you need. You know how to build community, how to engage people well, and how to love. Do that. Step out into your world and take all you’ve learned, knowing that it’ll be messy and you will rarely see what’s coming your way.”
By trusting God with the future and stepping into opportunities as they arise, Humphreys believes that graduates of Trinity Western and King’s, and other like institutions, will be able to be change agents in the world. In this way, they can truly make an impact on this and future generations—all for the glory of God.