As a Christian university, Pepperdine expresses its Christian principles through all aspects of academic life and administrative policy. Pepperdine draws no separations between the "sacred and the secular" in daily life and conduct. There are many ways in which the University encourages and accentuates the Christian way of life in the Pepperdine community. While all major social events and official ceremonies are opened in prayer, it is not unusual that University business meetings will likewise be convened with a request to God for prudence, understanding, and guidance. Many of Pepperdine's Christian professors and administrators take the time to spiritually encourage and pray with students and others who need the care that those who profess faith are called to give.
Pepperdine keeps a vital affiliation with Churches of Christ of which its founder, George Pepperdine, was an elder and lifelong member. That affiliation is maintained today through policy and government (a majority of the Board of Regents must be Church of Christ members in good standing), through regular recruitment of students, faculty, and staff from within Church of Christ fellowships, and through the office and activities of Church Relations.
Each summer thousands of visitors come to Pepperdine for the University's annual Bible Lectures. Now in its 68th year, the conference features theme lectures, classes, performances, and opportunities for spiritual exploration. The 2011 Bible Lectures address the theme "God's Unchanging Faithfulness: The Steadfast Love of the Lord Endures Forever." This year there are 282 classes and 330 program participants, who are coming from 40 states in the USA, and from 29 other nations.
Students, faculty, and staff members of all faith traditions are welcome to become part of the Pepperdine University community. God's truth as revealed in both the observable and invisible worlds is universal and nonnegotiable, and an individual's pursuit of that truth is respected and honored.
Each semester, all undergraduates are required to attend 14 programs in the Convocation Series, which are activities aimed at building Christian faith, affirming Christian values, or addressing ethical and moral issues within a Christian worldview posed by current events. Most frequently, students attend the Wednesday morning chapels at Firestone Fieldhouse. Other programs include student-led worship services, small group Bible studies, and individual spiritual mentoring sessions with faculty or staff sponsors.
Additionally, all undergraduates are also required to take three religion courses as a graduation requirement: The History and Religion of Israel, The History and Religion of Early Christianity, and Christianity and Culture. Many students take part in Christian ministries that cater to the Malibu campus community. See below in University Ministries.
Housing and Residence Life Staff – Through the Office of Housing and Residence Life, the University employs professional staff Resident Directors (RDs) along with student staff Spiritual Life Advisors (SLAs) and student Resident Advisors (RAs) who render counseling, mentorship, and spiritual support to students who reside on the Malibu campus.
The University Chaplain – The Office of the University Chaplain provides pastoral care to all members of the Pepperdine community, students, faculty, and staff. The chaplain's office also provides on-campus worship and spiritual growth programs for students, faculty, and staff.
University Church of Christ – The University Church of Christ is an independent, free-standing full-service church and Church of Christ congregation resident on the Malibu campus whose mission is to meet the spiritual needs of the Pepperdine community resident in Malibu and its surrounding neighbors, through worship, prayer, Bible study, children's ministries, pastoral care, spiritual direction and mentorship, fellowship, and providing Christian service opportunities.
Student-led Ministries – Students are encouraged to initiate and maintain ongoing, on-campus Christian ministries which address specific missions, specific service and social interests, or worship formats that appeal to a specific sector of the Malibu campus student population. Some recent student-led ministries, sponsored through the Office of Student Affairs, have had missions focused on AIDS awareness, Asian American ministry, and social justice activism.
Through the Office of Church Relations, the University hosts the annual Bible Lectureship (an ongoing tradition inaugurated in 1943), the William Green Distinguished Christian Scholar Lectures (featuring scholars from the Church of Christ tradition), and the Frank Pack Distinguished Christian Scholar Lectures (featuring scholars from the wider Christian tradition) series. Church Relations hosts many other events, supports Church of Christ students through scholarships provided by the Associated Women for Pepperdine organization, publishes Pacific Church News, and sponsors the singing group Won by One.
The Religion Division at Seaver College offers undergraduate courses which prepare candidates for work in religious bodies and within service and volunteer organizations, as well as providing the necessary preparation for graduate studies in religion. Its own graduate programs, preparatory for vocations in Christian ministry or for Ph.D. or D.Min. degree work, are the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Religion, and the Master of Science in Ministry. The division also offers interdisciplinary degrees in coordination with the Pepperdine School of Law: the Juris Doctor/Master of Divinity, or a Certificate in Dispute Resolution in conjunction with the Master of Science in Ministry.
The Pepperdine Center for Faith and Learning was established to support University faculty members who seek to fully integrate their life of faith with their professional and academic life. The center creates opportunities for reflection and dialogue for faculty from all five schools through retreats, seminars, and other events.
The Pepperdine Voyage – Initially funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Pepperdine Voyage is an academic and self-examination project through which students are challenged to consider the prospect of vocation, and specifically "What call has God put on their life?" and "Has there been a call to ministry within the church?" The University's considerations and responses to this project are broad and wide ranging, and include activities inside and outside of the academic curriculum, engaging students and faculty.
The Volunteer Center - The University Affirmation Statement says "That knowledge calls, ultimately, for a life of service." That call is manifested through the many activities coordinated through the Volunteer Center. The Volunteer Center coordinates dozens of volunteer opportunities with which students (and other members of the Pepperdine community) can get involved in serving others. Areas of volunteer interest include hunger and homelessness, education and literacy, health and wellness, social justice advocacy, environmental activism, as well as others.
A Community of Care - Because the Pepperdine community comprises many committed Christians and persons of compassion, the spirit of service is also expressed through myriad acts of personal care, intercessory prayer, logistical support, and financial donations that community members organize themselves either formally or informally on behalf others who find themselves bereaved from the death of a family member, diagnosed with and suffering from major illness, incapacitated from physical trauma, or otherwise overwhelmed by life challenges.