Practicing What They Teach

Professors at The Master’s University make it a priority to prepare students for lives of service and leadership within the local church.

“Our teaching at TMU is aimed at advancing the mission of Christ through the local church,” says John Beck, a professor of business and communication who serves on the elder team at Grace Baptist Church. “We do this by equipping our students to be vitally involved.”

They also do this by setting a strong example.

TMU’s faculty is filled with men and women committed to using the gifts God has given them to serve the local church.

For instance, if you visited Grace Community Church on any given Sunday, you’d likely find John Eickemeyer in the choir loft, belting out great hymns of the faith.

“We will sing joyful praise to God for all eternity,” says Eickemeyer, a professor of computer science. “But I can’t wait that long.”

Neither can Jordan Morton (education), Clyde Greer (history), Ruta Bloomfield, Sarah Dixon or Paul Plew (music), all of whom serve in music ministry at their respective churches. Greer describes using his “slight musical talent” to serve the Lord at Lebec Community Church as a blessing. Plew has been the worship and music pastor at Santa Clarita Baptist Church for the past 30 years. And Dixon cherishes the fact that singing in the choir at Grace Baptist is a multigenerational experience.

“I have friends in their 20s as well as in their 80s,” she says, “and I get to share a little bit of their lives each week in rehearsal.”

Todd Bolen (biblical studies) engages with a similarly diverse group of believers (ages 18-80) in the adult Bible fellowship group he co-teaches at Grace Baptist. Bolen says his ministry at church refines his teaching at TMU.

“I regularly tell my students about what I’ve been learning in our more detailed study at church,” Bolen says. “Students then see my excitement about our church fellowship, and that may spur them on to think more carefully about the value and joys of a long-term commitment to a local church.”

Greg Gifford (biblical counseling) knows well the value and joys of such a commitment. “I love the local church, and this particular church is my family,” Gifford says of Faith Community Church.

At Faith Community, Gifford is an associate pastor of counseling and LifeGroups, roles that he believes go hand in hand. “Counseling is intensive discipleship, and I love being a part of that,” he says. “But counseling needs to connect people to the church if it’s going to be faithful and fruitful. That’s where LifeGroups come in: helping integrate people into the Christian community.

“When a person is connected to meaningful community in their local church, that’s the place where long-term growth happens.”

Gregg Frazer (history and political studies), Matt Green (communication) and Jonathan Skaar (kinesiology) relish contributing to that kind of growth in their roles as Bible study leaders at their respective churches. Mike Forgerson (business) teaches a Sunday school class at Faith Community. Shelbi Cullen (biblical counseling) serves as a deaconess and teaches in the women’s ministry at Grace Community. And David Larsen (kinesiology) works in a special needs class on Sunday mornings at Grace Baptist, something that allows him to support families as they attend worship services.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of TMU professors who serve in the local church, but it does paint a telling picture of the heartbeat shared by the school’s faculty.

“One of the core values of TMU is fostering and developing a love for Christ’s church, specifically a local body of believers,” says Mitch Hopewell, TMU’s provost. “Our faculty not only hold this conviction, but they model and demonstrate it in tangible ways — week in and week out — as they serve, teach and lead in their own churches.”

To learn more about how you or someone you know can be equipped at TMU for a life of service and leadership within the local church, click here.

Alumni Focus: Ali Rae

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