Men studying for their Doctor of Ministry degree at The Master’s Seminary got to know each other during a break from a long day of classes.
A father of five talked to a fellow student. For him, this upcoming fall meant one thing, saying goodbye to daddy’s little girl and entrusting his first born to someone other than family as she heads off to college.
His daughter knows a smattering of people at The Master’s University but is facing the natural uncertainty of what’s to come.
This father, however, could not have been sharing his concerns with a better person than Adam Ashoff, who, after graduating from Taylor University with a B.A. in Communications, came out to Los Angeles in his beat up Honda Civic to pursue a career in acting.
This career path was only one of many potential careers Ashoff wanted in school: teaching, coaching, youth ministry, FBI, marketing . . . the list continues.
“It changed a lot,” Ashoff said. “So the communications major was a good fit.If I went back in time to interview the college Adam, I don’t think he’d know what he wanted to accomplish in life specifically.”
After graduating in 2003, he drove across the country to make it on Hollywood’s silver screen. He had no set plans. He knew no one.
If anyone could address this father’s uncertainties, it was Ashoff.
“When I was on set,” Ashoff said, referring to his brief season in the entertainment industry, “I realized that I wasn’t really concerned with networking or making the next step in the acting world. I just wanted to get on set and share the gospel or meet other Christians and invite them to church. I didn’t go in with that focus; it just happened. That was my call to ministry.”
Months later, after recognizing that passion and having it affirmed by others at Grace Community Church, he started his master’s degree at The Master’s Seminary. It was there he met his wife, Shannon – the two now have 3 children - and upon graduation served as an associate pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel of Hickory in North Carolina.
Five years later, wanting to further his education, he applied to the D.Min. program at The Master’s Seminary and began looking for a job that would allow his family to return to California.
Master’s U has always worked closely with pastors, but in 2017 it launched a new department specifically focused on developing these relationships. Church Relations operates under the leadership of campus pastor, Harry Walls. As this department was coming together Adam received a phone call from TMU President, Dr. John MacArthur. MacArthur explained what the job would entail: “You would be a great fit for this position. You love the church, you love to teach, you love connecting with pastors, and that’s what we want you to do on behalf of the school. We want to you preach at church retreats, Christian camps, youth groups, speak in chapel and invite other pastors to speak in chapel.”
Shortly afterward, Ashoff found himself driving across the country once again, however this time with a clear direction, a U-haul and a family.
Ashoff served as the Church Relations Coordinator for a year before accepting a different role, one for which “he is a perfect fit,” said Austin Duncan, college pastor at Grace Community Church and good friend of Ashoff.
As the new Director of Student Activities and Services, he must set an example of what Master’s U practically represents. Duncan described Ashoff as a strong leader committed to the gospel, full of grit, flexible and riotously fun. He epitomizes what makes this campus unique, and he wants to further highlight the opportunities Master’s U offers every student, both on and off campus.
His role encompasses two facets of the student experience: first, anything that deals with student services, such as Campus Security, Career Services and Student Employment; second, student activities that range from the internal traditions of open dorms, “Mega Blend” student showcases, the Montys and Disney Day, to the external opportunities in Los Angeles, like finding the best pancake house, Dodger’s and Laker’s games, Hollywood Bowl visits and more.
“I want (all students) to know that if there is anything they need to know about what’s going on around campus or why Master’s is special, that my department is the place,” Ashoff said. “We want this place and our staff to be accessible to the students. Our goal is to make this campus a great experience.”
Little did the father know when he began speaking about his daughter’s anticipation of her time at Master’s that he was speaking to Ashoff — the very person in charge of facilitating that time for every student.
As Adam handed the father a business card, he encouraged him to call when he and his daughter arrive on campus for the first day of Week of Welcome on Aug. 21.
“Our department,” Ashoff said to the father, “is focused on making the incoming freshmen and returning students’ experience the most joy-filled and exciting welcome possible.”
Upon arrival, returning students will find that King Hall has been redesigned with them in mind: a place to find information, suggest activities and outings, contribute to the new Master’s U app or just hang out.
Ultimately, what Ashoff told the father and fellow D.Min. student, what he hopes for his own life and the school years to come, is that “anything and everything we do be defined by the joy we have in the Lord. That’s the functionality of our Christian life (John 15). Yet, we are called to not be focused on ourselves in that joy, but work with others with joy in the faith and serve the Lord with gladness and push that out towards others.”