Greetings from Dr. John Holmes, Interim President of Grace University

Dear fellow classmates, former students and friends:

I am excited to let you know that during the recent Board of Trustees meeting the Trustees voted unanimously to appoint me as the interim president of Grace University. I accepted the position with eager anticipation. You may be aware that we are undergoing a period of transformation at Grace. But you are not aware of the many things that God is doing behind the scenes to launch us into a stable future. More on that later (but it is really exciting). We are not just looking to survive in the difficult landscape of Christian higher education, but our goal is to thrive.

john-holmes-300x300Many of you have sat in class next to me, been taught by me, or served with me. Some of you have been backpacking and/or rock climbing with me. You know my commitment to Christ, His amazing grace, this school and my passion for its mission. The past few months have been challenging at Grace University and we have been blessed to see God move in what I would call specific and unusual ways. Chuck Swindoll once said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” We truly have a great opportunity before us as we analyze and restructure the University so that we can continue to train and develop the next generation of servant leaders.

Over the next few months, you will be receiving updates from Dr. Jim Eckman, president emeritus, and me asking for your support in tangible and intangible ways. I ask that you serve, pray and give as the Lord moves. When Paul spoke to the Church in Corinth, he reminded them “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). Paul’s words are relevant to us today. As you hear news from Grace, can I count on you to stand firm with us in our mission and continue with us in the kingdom work that we have been faithfully engaged in for the last 73 years?

I am optimistic about our future. Our leadership team has responsive hearts, the technical skills, and history with the school to serve our historic mission well. The students I have had in my classes recently have been great examples of the servant leaders we seek to produce. I am humbled and excited about the task set before us and thank you in advance for your support and prayers. This ministry has been going strong for almost 75 years, and I cannot wait to see how God moves in the next 75 years (even if I’m not around to witness it).

For His kingdom,

John D. Holmes, Th.M., Ph.D.
Interim President

Musical Theatre Camp

Junior and Senior High School students are invited to Join us for an exciting week of improving your singing, dancing, and acting — all from a Christian perspective! The camp is limited to 40 attendees so you will get personalized instruction as you spend the week learning stage fundamentals and preparing for a production. The week will culminate in a final performance held in the Suckau Chapel on the Grace University campus, Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m. Students will get to experience life on campus as they stay in the dormitories and do fun activities in Omaha.

Date: June 5-10th
Location: Grace University, 1311 S. 9th St., Omaha
Cost: $250/person

(includes lodging, meals, and special activities)

Workshops include:
• Duet Scene Study

• Auditioning
• Make-up
• Stage Combat
• Improv

Activities include:
• Talent Show

• Storm-Chasers Game
• Karaoke Night
• Game Night
• Final Performance


We can’t wait to see you at camp! To register, go to

An Important Message from Dr. Jim Eckman

Dear alumni and friends,

Change is not something I especially appreciate. I love life when it is stable, predictable and orderly. But living in a fallen, broken world means that change is the norm and instability, temporary dysfunction and re-orientation more frequent than we desire. Grace University is undergoing one of those periods of change and instability. David Barnes has resigned as president and the Board of Trustees has asked me to re-engage with Grace. I retired nearly four years ago and have developed a number of ministries in which I am deeply involved. In addition to my adjunct teaching, I am on staff at my church part time and intensely involved in teaching four Bible studies throughout Metro Omaha. I am also engaged in several writing projects and in a mentoring ministry. However, I love Grace University, having devoted a significant portion of my adult life to this ministry. So, I have agreed to advise the Trustee Board and assume a leadership role in development at Grace.

The faculty and staff of Grace University remain deeply committed to the mission of Grace: To develop servant leaders for the home, the church and the world through excellence in biblically-integrated education and through life change in a personal, discipling environment, all for the glory of God.To sustain this mission, the Board has embarked upon a significant re-structuring and re-organizing of the University, and has also launched a critical analysis of nearly every aspect of the University. jim-eckmanFor example, the Board is assessing Grace’s entire athletic program, which grew significantly over the last three years. Further, the Board is analyzing the scholarship and discounting-of-tuition program at the undergraduate level, which has also grown over the last three years. The Board strongly believes that significant changes need to occur in each of these areas, which will necessitate additional adjustments and the re-allocation of University funds.

As President Emeritus, I remain deeply committed to Grace’s mission, to the faculty and staff, and to the students, both undergraduate and graduate. I have continued to teach at Grace as an adjunct professor and have led mentoring groups with some of the men at Grace. In dependence on the Lord, the future of Grace is bright. We are graduating 97 students this year, who will be change-agents for Christ. Graduate and adult-learner enrollment for fall looks strong as do key undergraduate programs. Over the years, through your prayers and your gifts, you have demonstrated support for the mission of Grace University. I am asking you to heighten that support. We need you to partner with us in meeting the financial needs of Grace for these upcoming summer months. Our need is quite significant and I am inviting you to do two things for me:

  • Commit to praying for Grace daily this summer. Pray for the Board as they analyze and reorganize each aspect of the University. Pray for our faculty as they teach, prepare and invest in our students. Pray that God will provide out of His abundant grace the funds needed for the critical summer months.
  • Commit to a sacrificial gift to Grace University to sustain the school during these summer months. I am asking you to be as generous as you can possibly be to meet this need.

Thank you so much for your prayers and your financial support of Grace University. We are doing important and eternally significant Kingdom work at Grace. Your partnership with us in this ministry will yield eternal dividends for God’s Kingdom work at Grace University. Thank you.

In His mighty grasp,

James P. Eckman, Ph.D.
President Emeritus

College Preview Days a Success

College Preview Days a Success

More than 50 high school students, parents and youth workers visited Grace University during the College Preview weekend to enjoy the “Grace Experience” and find out just what makes a Grace University education distinctive. Students came from as far away as Texas to learn more about the academic programs and ministry opportunities on campus. 

“We are thrilled to host so many Christian young people who recognize that Grace University is a place where they can reach God’s call on their lives,” said David Barnes, President.

While on campus, students enjoyed a performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, attended a class from their prospective major, experienced Grace L.I.F.E. Chapel, and had lunch with professors.image 2

Grace University, located in Omaha, Neb., is a regionally accredited, private Christian university with more than 40 diverse undergraduate, graduate and adult degree completion programs including education, business, psychology, music, nursing and Grace University, located in Omaha, Neb., is a regionally accredited, private Christian university with more than 40 diverse undergraduate, graduate and adult degree completion programs including education, business, psychology, music, nursing and Christian ministries. The university’s mission is to develop servant leaders for the home, the church and the world through excellence in biblically integrated education. ministries.

Legacy carried on to 4th Generation

Legacy carried on to 4th Generation

What a life changing experience! I recently returned from a two week trip to Lesotho and South Africa. I was asked to accompany my mom, CJ Callahan, and another woman, Sarah, in leading worship for a women’s retreat for missionaries in and around South Africa. These women are working alongside their husbands through Mission Aviation Fellowship. I immediately felt called to go as soon as I was asked. And after weeks of prayer, my mom bought the tickets and we began preparing. I was asked to bring some items from the states to fill up gift bags for the women, namely chocolate bars. Needless to say, I had a forty-five pound suitcase full of chocolate chips and Lindt bars when I was done shopping.

When we arrived in South Africa, after a very long day of flying, we met with some of the missionary women at their houses. Driving through the rural cities opened my eyes to the poverty that gripped the small country of Lesotho. Their roofs had bricks on them to hold them down because people do not have the money to buy nails. The drought had really impacted the people there. The grass was dying and dust storms had ravaged the area. There was actually a huge dust storm occurring when we flew in. The air was very dry, and a lot of the people were dry spiritually as well because of the hardships. I met with Kimberly, a woman who has been living in Lesotho for five years, who just in the last week had adopted a young Basotho girl. She told me about the country and what it is like to live in such conditions. Despite the many challenges that this country faces, the people are very nice and the mountains are stunning. After a day in the city, we headed up to the retreat center, which was actually across the border in South Africa. We put together the gift bags and prepared spiritually for the weekend to come.

Throughout the retreat, I saw God moving in so many ways. As my mom, Sarah, and I led worship, I could see a weight being lifted off the shoulders of these thirty-five women. A lot of the women had seen violence, deaths, and the struggles of so many. They came in with a lot of hurt, but as they heard the songs to the Lord, in their native language, they were overcome with peace and joy. Africa!!!They sang with a passion that was unsurpassed. Just to see the tears flowing from their eyes was worth every minute of preparation. We also had the opportunity to serve them in their free time by giving pedicures. I knelt at their feet and washed the dirt away. I took off the old polish, shaved away their rough edges, smoothed their calloused feet, and put a fresh and colorful coat of nail polish on them.

This was one of the most amazing ways that I saw God working. I kept thinking that this was such an example of what Christ does for us. He washes us clean, scrubs calluses off our hearts, and clothes us in fresh garments. I was overcome by love for these women as I listened to their stories and their missions. The weekend was full of worship, fellowship, reconciliation, and prayer. It all came to a close with the final communion. I played and sang while the women took communion and prayerfully communed with God. What a site to see. As we all said our goodbyes, I found it hard for me to leave. I wanted to stay in that loving community with women so on fire for God and seeking His will. The next day, I was able to see where the husbands of many of the missionary women worked. As part of the Mission Aviation Fellowship, they aid remote villages by transporting people to hospitals and flying in supplies. We were able to see a few of the men fly in and out on missions and see firsthand what it was like in the planes and in the hanger. It really brought to life the stories that I had always read about; missionaries who would fly out to help unreached people, like Nate Saint and Jim Elliot.

On the last day in Lesotho, we were able to volunteer at the orphanage Beautiful Gate. We spent hours just loving on the kids. Most of them were either directly or indirectly affected by AIDS. Some of the kids have the disease and most were orphaned because their mother had passed away from AIDS. Hearing the stories of how these kids got there was heart wrenching. Some were left in fields, dumpsters, or on porches. Despite all of the pain that these little ones had already endured, they were some of the happiest kids I have ever seen. They laughed and jumped on me and held my hand and brushed my hair. They were so excited to have someone there who cared about them. I read books to them and helped feed them too. Again, once I was told that it was time to leave, I did not want to. The children were so precious.

This trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I saw God moving in such powerful ways and felt like such of part of what God is doing in South Africa. God is so good!