Office of the President
Paul J. Maurer brings a wealth of experience as the eighth president of Montreat College. As a visionary and results-driven Christian leader, he believes deeply in the value of Christ-centered higher education. Drawing from more than 25 years of leadership in nonprofit and higher education administration, Dr. Maurer has led efforts in governance, organizational development, marketing and communications, adult and graduate studies, and government relations. Prior to Montreat College, Dr. Maurer served as senior vice president for external relations at Gordon College, and prior to Gordon, he served as president of Sterling College – both sister institutions to Montreat College within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He has spent nearly two decades in higher education leadership. He is a published author and frequent speaker. Dr. Maurer earned his Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University, where he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow and a John M. Olin Fellow. He earned his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. Maurer is a scholar of the American presidency, with specific expertise in the moral and religious rhetoric of U.S. presidents. He enjoys biking, golf, and almost anything outdoors. He has the special talent of cutting his own hair. Dr. Maurer and his wife, Joellen, have been married since 1989, and have four children: Jon, Liz, Daniel and Sarah.
President Maurer speaks on a wide range of topics including leadership, culture, parenting, and higher education. He travels frequently, speaking at leadership conferences, high school commencements, homeschool conventions, church retreats, chapel services, and other events in the Southeast and beyond. If you are interested in having Dr. Maurer speak at your event, contact Hope Deifell, executive assistant to the president, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 828-419-2121. Here is a list of speaking topics and descriptions:
A Suite of Values for Leadership
A set of values is explored as a basis for biblical-based leadership in our post-Christian culture. Originally compiled as a set of common values for all employees in an organizational turnaround, it frames a set of values that apply to any person in leadership or those who aspire to leadership. The values of humility, trust, relationships, effectiveness, sense of urgency, belief, and extraordinary commitment are ordered with intentionality. Together, they form a powerful, biblical understanding of contemporary leadership. Suggested audience: Any audience of leaders or those aspiring to leadership.
The Call to Humility in a World Focused on Power
Humility and power can co-exist, serving as a model of healthy and biblical leadership. The Bible is filled with examples of the power of God and the people he uses for his purposes. We are also called to leadership that is rooted in humility. This talk explores the marriage of these concepts, commonly thought to be diametrically opposed to each other. Suggested audience: Christian leadership gatherings, Sunday morning sermon, church leadership gatherings, men’s groups.
Engaging Culture as the Ground Shifts Beneath the Church
Christians find themselves reassessing how to engage culture, or whether to, as we grapple with the rapid changes in societal values. What is the Christian response? Three approaches are explored, taking into account history, politics, and biblical teaching. Highly practical suggestions are offered for moving forward. Suggested audience: Christian leadership gatherings; Sunday morning sermon; church leadership gatherings; men’s groups.
The Moral Leadership of the President of the United States
This non-partisan talk explores the question of whether the president of the United States has historically provided moral leadership to the nation, and whether we should expect this of our presidents today. The conversation surrounding this question is hotly debated in our age of pluralism. The constitution is reviewed regarding what it says about the topic, including the topic of the separation of church and state. The case is made that separation of church and state is distinct from the idea of separating morality from politics. Presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton are examined for their rhetoric on religion, morality, and moral leadership. In the end, we focus on two presidents in the modern era, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, to explore their religious and moral rhetoric, and whether it was connected to public policy. The results of the research may surprise you! Suggested audience: Civic groups; men’s groups; any group interested in leadership or politics.
Montreat College’s Promise to Students and Parents. Most colleges today are unwilling to offer a promise to its students. But Montreat College is different than most. Montreat College is an independent, Christ-centered, liberal arts institution that educates students through intellectual inquiry, spiritual formation, and preparation for calling and career. In this talk, the promise is unpacked and its uniqueness is explained. Suggested audience: Parents of teenagers; groups of pastors, youth pastors, or leaders in Christian high schools; educators; homeschool conventions; men’s and women’s groups; any group of leaders; civic groups.
Raising Kids in a Post-Christian Culture
Parenting requires courage and engagement, and this is especially true in our post-Christian culture. In this talk, a set of core principles is offered to help parents focus on the essentials, and offers a unique perspective on some of the biggest decisions parents need to make. Suggested audience: Parent groups; Christian leadership gatherings; Sunday morning sermon; church leadership gatherings; men’s groups.
Power of Habit
Our lives are filled with habits, good and bad. Habit formation is often unintentional, meaning we allow habits to be formed without proactively shaping them. Based on the book by New York Times’ writer Charles Duhigg, this talk explores the world of habit formation. Topics include the creation of new habits, changing habits, and identifying the “keystone habit,” which impacts many other aspects of life. Suggested audience: Parents of teenagers; groups of pastors, youth pastors, or leaders in Christian high schools; educators; homeschool conventions; men’s and women’s groups; any group of leaders; civic groups.
Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond
It is commonly assumed that going to an elite college or large public university are the best options for high school students. However, there is compelling evidence that there may be a better option: being a big fish in a small pond. This option offers a range of life-impacting benefits not seen at elite or large university settings. Suggested audience: Parents of teenagers; teenagers; groups of pastors, youth pastors, or leaders in Christian high schools; educators; homeschool conventions; men’s and women’s groups; any group of leaders; civic groups.
The Crisis of American Higher Education
American higher education faces challenges on multiple fronts: cost; debt; doubts about the value of an education; declining state support; and the confusion caused by for-profit schools, to name a few. However, there is a crisis in American higher education that rises above all other problems: that American education no longer teaches the meaning of life. For most of the nearly 400 years of American higher education, its central purpose was to shape students’ souls. Doing so makes them better people and better contributors to civil society. Today, most colleges and universities go no further than helping students find a job. This is a fine outcome, but it represents a shallow version of what parents and students should expect given the significant investment of time and resources. This idea is explored in part by bringing highly regarded educators into the conversation. In the aggregate, these authors and intellectuals offer a common voice: American higher education has abandoned its core purpose and badly lost its way. But there is hope. There remains a group of colleges and universities that have maintained their focus on teaching the meaning of life. These gems offer a uniquely distinctive education, one desperately needed for the civil society of tomorrow. Suggested audience: Parents of teenagers; groups of pastors, youth pastors, or leaders in Christian high schools; educators; homeschool conventions; men’s and women’s groups; any group of leaders; civic groups.
Esse Quam Videri
A Latin phrase translated “To be rather than to seem,” Esse Quam Videri is the motto of over 100 schools and colleges in the United States. But is it relevant today? Yes! A biblical understanding of authenticity is unpacked, and contrasted with the world’s version. Suggested audience: Christian high school chapel; Christian high school commencement address; homeschool convention; any audience of Millennials.
Lessons of the Wilderness
Sometimes the greatest lessons of leadership are learned through difficulty, the wilderness experiences of life. In this talk, biblical examples of wilderness are explored in the context of the personal experience of the speaker having entered, endured, and emerged from a painful season in the wilderness. The wilderness, unwanted and unwelcome, can be transformed into a beautiful and life-giving journey. Suggested audience: Civic groups; men’s groups; Sunday morning sermon.
This is a Football
The Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi famously began training camp for the World Champion Green Bay Packers by holding up a football and declaring “Gentlemen, this is a football.” His point was that greatness begins with mastering the fundamentals. Most of success and in life is rooted in a small number of fundamentals. This talk proposes those fundamentals and the need to master them. Suggested audience: Parents of teenagers; groups of pastors, youth pastors, or leaders in Christian high schools; educators; homeschool conventions; men’s and women’s groups; any group of leaders; civic groups.