Thrive Center's Justin Barrett offically installed at special service
Thrive Center Chair Justin Barrett
“I am truly grateful to be at Fuller and to be the inaugural
Thrive professor,” Justin Barrett said at his installation service on Thursday,
October 25, where he was officially installed as the chair of the School of
Psychology’s new Thrive Center for Human Development.
“But I’ve got to confess that in my one year at Fuller, I’ve
found my title to be a curse in some ways,” Barrett joked in his installation
address entitled “Dare to Thrive.” “Countless times I’ve been asked what Thrive
stands for. This is an academic institution, so surely it’s some kind of
painfully strained acronym. And I’ve also been asked repeatedly, ‘So, Thrive
professor, are you thriving?’"
Yet, despite what he humorously described is the pressure of having people
expect him to be “perpetually thriving,” Barrett said he considers himself
lucky to be doing the important work of developing resources and conducting
research that will encourage thriving in young people.
“I believe God has called me to be at Fuller and so my
service here is part of my thriving,” Barrett said. “By serving his kingdom at
Fuller, I’m conforming closer to who God would have me be.”
In the service’s opening remarks, President Richard Mouw
told the students, staff and faculty members, who had gathered in Travis
Auditorium to celebrate Barrett and the launch of the Thrive Center, that it
was God’s providential working that brought Barrett and his family to Fuller
Theological Seminary “to help us launch this new initiative in the study of
Barrett came to Fuller in 2011 from the University of
Oxford, U.K., where he taught and served as Senior Researcher for Oxford’s
Center for Anthropology and Mind. He is regarded as one of the founders of the
Cognitive Science of Religion field.
After a scripture reading of Psalm 8, Provost C. Douglas
McConnell praised Barrett for distinguishing himself as a scholar and leader
committed to understanding the challenges of our times.
McConnell charged Barrett with maintaining regular time to
nurture his own relationship with God, to build a center that draws on all the
resources at Fuller, and to remember the school’s mission by working to empower
and inform the “vast network of churches around the world with new ways to
assist their young people” to the glory of God.
A number of Barrett’s colleagues were invited to lay hands
on the new Thrive chair as School of Psychology Dean Winston Gooden offered a
prayer of dedication that asked God to crown Barrett’s efforts with success.
In his address, Barrett offered an invitation and a
challenge. He invited the attendees to join the Thrive Center in exploring what
it means to thrive and urged them to dare to thrive in their own lives.
“It seems to me that we live in a world in which we can too
often be consumed with being healthy or being happy or being content, but
relatively unconcerned about whether or not we are thriving,” Barrett said. “Be
someone who does not settle for being okay or good, but dare to thrive.
Consider who it is that God has created you to be and chase after it.”
The service concluded with the singing of “O for a Thousand
Tongues to Sing,” which includes the verse, “My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy
Celebration of the Thrive Center’s launch continued into the
afternoon with a special lecture by actor and film producer John Shepherd of
The lecture, which also honored Fuller friends Robert and
Dorothy King, was titled “The Media, Film, and Human Thriving.” In an engaging
presentation that included film clips and anecdotes, Shepherd explained how he
strives to promote thriving by injecting popular culture with value-affirming
stories and inspirational characters.