Five questions with Joshua Anderson

Director of Grand Canyon Theological Seminary and St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan Joshua Anderson with his baseball autographed by Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

Photos by Ralph Freso

EDITOR'S NOTEThis story originally appeared in the February issue of GCU Magazine.

The College of Theology didn’t have to look far for the first director of its graduate school, Grand Canyon Theological Seminary. Joshua Anderson spent 14 years at Phoenix Seminary, serving as dean of students and director of doctoral and online programs. But his roots were planted in the Midwest, where he and his brother were raised by a single mother.

1. What has surprised you about GCU?

First, the quality of education here. Second, just how much they care about what God is doing on this campus in the lives of students. Grand Canyon University does a lot, especially in its One Foundation (how the University integrates faith, learning and work) to make sure that they are connected to God and pursuing their academic education. I also have been able to see how the high quality of staff and faculty here is just incredible within the College of Theology.

2. You’ve seen a fair number of international students in seminary that will serve around the globe. How do you measure the impact and reputation of GCU outside the country?

They are going to be not only church leaders. They’re going to be business leaders. They’re going to be political leaders. I think they have been able to connect. It’s been great to have them in class because, not only do we get high-quality students, but we also get a global perspective. Every time I’m having a conversation and every time I’m in the class teaching, I’m also learning from the students from a global perspective.

3. How did your mom help sculpt who you’ve become?

 I remember my mom was working and also going to school, and my brother and I were finishing up high school at this time, too. After work, and before she would study, she would always be there for my brother and me, picking us up from different classes, from extracurricular activities, from sports, from all of that. She was there, providing for us, feeding us, picking us up from our activities. And then if we had a major life problem at the time, she would listen to us late into the evening. After we would go to bed, then she would study.

4. You’re a black belt (in karate and judo). How does that preparation and discipline correlate to what you do here in terms of teaching and your faith?

I’m able to take somebody where they’re at and also understand where they need to be in order to be promoted and in order to prepare for their next competition. Whatever their goals might be, see where they’re at, see where they need to go, and then build a pathway for them to get there. I see myself in the classroom as a teacher, a professor, but also as, in some ways, a coach and also a pastor. And I am seeing where they’re at, either professionally or as it relates to their personal walk with God. And then saying, “OK, God, where do you want them to go next?” and trying to build out a pathway so that they can mature in their relationship with God, or that they can be more effective for ministry so that they can get there and so that they can bless people around them.

5. How were you able to get an authentic autograph from National Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial?

Stan the Man was in a doctor’s office, and my brother, Tim, was there. Word got out that he was in another office, and they said, “Maybe if you wait around, he might give you an autograph.” So my brother waited around. When Stan walked out of the office and into the lobby area, he walked directly to my brother and said, “I heard you wanted my autograph.” My brother said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And (Musial) pulled out this card, like a larger version of his baseball card with his stats. He asked my brother for his name, and my brother was bold enough to ask, “Can I have one for my brother, too?” I’m a grateful man for that.

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Bible Verse

(One of the elders from around the throne of God declared:) "For (Jesus) the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/