Faculty Focus: Dr. Mark Olmos
Title: Faculty member
Years at GCU: 5
- B.Ed. in Secondary Education, from University of Hawaii, 1981
- Div. in Pastoral Studies from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, 1992
- D.Min., Emphasis in Discipleship from Phoenix Seminary, 2016
What is your most notable accomplishment in your field, and why was it important?
I’ve had the honor, with God’s enabling, to invest in young people who have gone on to become seminary professors, pastors, missionaries and solid reproducing disciples. I also got to write INT-320, Evangelism and Discipleship for GCU and get to see students leading their friends, classmates and family to Christ.
What are you most passionate about in your field and why?
I absolutely love talking about Jesus with students who are at a crucial crossroad in their lives. Each generation has its own challenges, and I love tooling up so that my students can stay relevant to the culture and can engage the world with grace, love and truth. One of my real passions is making profound theological truths (that tend to be abstract) very concrete and accessible for people, so I use a lot of personal stories and illustrations.
What is a memorable moment you had in class, and what does that reveal about your teaching style?
I try to be transparent with my students about my spiritual journey. I share of times that I failed, suffered and struggled with my own faith. I share about God’s love in times when I couldn’t hear Him and how in the end He showed up. I’m amazed at the students who will come up with tears in their eyes thanking me because they thought their own journey was somehow subpar. I want my students to know that they can follow Jesus with open eyes and authentic hearts. So I will teach from real-life experience and show them how a perfect Savior can walk with imperfect human beings, myself included.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
I love modern board games (Pandemic, Battlestar Galactica, Tiny Towns, etc.). I am also the advisor for the Modern Board Gamers Guild at GCU (best club on campus … I’m admittedly biased). Tabletop games get you away from phone and computer screens and put you on a table with other people, face to face. I’m an extroverted introvert (terrible at socials). I get to know and enjoy people best around an activity. So I invite my students to my home for some epic board game nights. I also enjoy games with my family and colleagues.
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
I’m an old athlete. I played Division 1 baseball at the University of Hawaii as a starting pitcher (lefty). The last game of my college career was pitching in the College World Series national championship game in 1980, which we lost to the University of Arizona. Yes, I am still hurting from that and cringe when I meet someone from U. of A., but I’m thankful to have stood on the mound and to have received another lesson in humility from God.