Vanguard Church Partners

The Vanguard Church Partners program seeks to promote a strong and mutually beneficial partnership between Johnson University and the churches that prayerfully and financially collaborate with the University.

Johnson University offers  Vanguard Church Partners a variety of incentives designed to enhance the relationship between the church, church leaders, congregational members, and Johnson University. These incentives will foster a greater sense of goodwill and cooperation between the academy and the churches as we work together to extend the kingdom of God.


Tennessee Community Engagement

downtown KnoxvilleCommunity engagement is a catalyst in our mission to educate students for strategic vocations. Students can choose from dozens of majors, and no matter what career they prepare for, a sense of calling is nurtured through strategic partnerships in the greater Knoxville area.

Community engagement is always mutually beneficial. Our community benefits from resources the University adds to local businesses, organizations, and initiatives. Students benefit from experiences that complement their studies. The University benefits as local partners connect us to the best students from many backgrounds, races, and cultures. We like to say community engagement makes Johnson University a better place to learn and the greater Knoxville area a better place to live. Learn more here.

Urban Alliance

Urban AllianceThe Urban Alliance, an initiative of Johnson University, partners with like-minded organizations in urban Knoxville to engage and empower emerging community leaders through inspiring educational experiences.

Uniting Johnson University’s strengths in higher education with the strengths of its community partners, the Urban Alliance offers programs involving science, community mentors, vocational discernment, leadership development, and asset-based research.

The Urban Alliance includes Royal Explorers, a summer science camp experience for middle schoolers; Urban Scholars, a scholarship program established to help promising urban high school students attend Johnson University; Engage Knoxville, an inner-city residential experience for undergrad and graduate JU students; and Future of Hope, a nine-month practical and theological exploration of issues facing Knoxville, designed for urban high school students. Learn more here.

Three Rivers Collaborative

The French Broad River behind the JUTN campusIn 2020, Johnson University received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish Three Rivers Collaborative: A Learning Community of Resilient, Adaptive, and Transformative Congregations.

The Three Rivers Collaborative (TRC) will guide Knoxville-area congregations through a process of refining their God-given mission within their ever-changing cultural context. The name alludes to the three rivers that give shape to Knoxville. The three rivers concept is an apt metaphor for the collaborative process of resiliency, adaptation, and transformation that leads to thriving congregations. TRC will include workshops, retreats, immersion trips, and an optional master’s degree in which learning communities of twelve congregations will work together. Over the next five years, we hope to serve at least sixty faith communities through this process.


Academic Partners

In cities here in the United States and around the world, Johnson University partners with nonprofit organizations, churches, parachurch organizations, and other universities to create opportunities for our students. Learn more here.