By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
The Seminary will teach the same doctrinal principles and Biblical truths that GCU embraces and, like the University, will be interdenominational.
“This places us on par, in many ways, with the other 300 or so seminaries and divinity schools that are in the United States,” said Dr. Jason Hiles, the Theology dean. “We’ve been offering a theological education at a master’s level for six years, which already places us on a par, but this puts us in a position where we’re very clearly jumping into the space in which we prepare ministers as opposed to just offering academic training.”
Unlike many seminaries, GCU’s will be in the midst of its campus, in its own dedicated space on the second floor of the College of Theology building. Hiles pointed out how that difference will be an asset.
“This is now a major, comprehensive university with 75,000 students studying in nine colleges across 200 academic programs,” he said. “We have an incredibly vibrant ground campus, and now we have a seminary right in the middle of that. You’re learning to be a pastor in an environment where you have opportunities for transformative ministry on our campus and in the nearby neighborhood. It’s going to be pretty special in terms of the experience for students.”
The Seminary should be of particular interest to ministers and potential ministers of ethnic churches and groups that don’t have a seminary system.
“We can serve them, and we’re trying to make sure that the curriculum and the way that we approach it is adaptable to their needs,” Hiles said. “We offer the educational piece to what they’re already doing within the church, which allows them to set the theological vision for their pastors and their up-and-coming leaders.”
Another attractive aspect of the new program is affordability. The accelerated program will help students complete their graduate work in less time and at a reasonable cost.
“Our price point is very appealing,” Hiles said. “This makes us very affordable for students who will serve others after graduation, and serving others doesn’t normally pay much.”
The mission statement of the Seminary reads: “Grand Canyon Theological Seminary develops leaders, ministers, and scholars who rightly handle God’s Word, teach what accords with sound doctrine, and equip the people of God for missional service within a rapidly changing world.”
But not all of the work will be done on campus. Two key aspects of the Seminary will be to provide outreach to the local community and to develop internship opportunities in local churches.
“Jesus’ ministry should be the model for ministry today – to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “At GCU, we strongly believe it is our purpose to expand servant leadership into our community and to extend prosperity beyond our walls in lasting and meaningful ways. Grand Canyon Theological Seminary will be another extension of that. What we hope to do here is raise a generation of pastors who will go out and reflect what we are as a university.”
Hiles said of the internships, “You’re trying to connect a student to an actual church setting where they’re overseen and there is a mentoring relationship with a pastor or somebody in ministry who has experience.”
The Seminary will offer 12 graduate degree programs, available in three modalities: full-time daytime, full-time evening and online. On-campus housing will be available for a limited number of full-time daytime students.
GCU has built its reputation on Christian servant-leadership principles, and the Seminary will be another example of that, Hiles said:
“It’s just another way of saying to the church, ‘We’re trustworthy. We’re trying to serve you and your needs. We’re trying to do things that will equip your people and especially the leaders among your people to do the things that need to be done for the sake of the Kingdom.’”
Contact Rick Vacek at 639.8203 or [email protected].