Evangel University introduces new School of Theology and Church Ministries
July 30, 2013 | Ashli O'Connell
Bringing together 190 years of legacy in Christian higher education and Pentecostal ministerial training, Evangel University launches its new School of Theology and Church Ministries (STCM) this fall.
The STCM is the first new school born out of this year’s consolidation, which brings together Evangel, Central Bible College (CBC) and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) as one comprehensive university with an embedded seminary. The STCM offers undergraduate majors in Biblical Studies, Biblical Languages, Youth Ministries, Church Leadership, Children’s Ministries, Preaching and Intercultural Studies. Any of these may be designed as a pre-seminary program.
Master’s and doctoral degrees are offered through the embedded seminary, an integral part of the STCM. At this time, a six-year Master of Divinity program is being offered, and the University is exploring the addition of a five-year program in the future.
Better preparation for vocational ministry
With the addition of the STCM, Evangel is now able to equip students for ministry and service in a way that the three individual schools could not do alone, says Dr. David Bundrick, who was named dean of the STCM after the consolidation was approved by the Higher Learning Commission earlier this year. Read the press release: Dr. David Bundrick appointed academic dean at AGTS.
CBC, founded in 1922, has historically offered only programs for vocational ministry. Evangel, on the other hand, was founded in 1955 as the national Assemblies of God university of arts and sciences and as such has not offered practical ministry programs. While the two institutions co-existed in Springfield, Missouri, for 55 years, they maintained separate educational approaches. AGTS, incorporated in 1972, has drawn students from both schools, but as a separate entity.
With an embedded seminary in the consolidated university, Evangel will be able to offer more comprehensive, and even accelerated, programs.
“We are now able to offer a full complement of academic programs for ministry preparation that we could not do separately,” says Dr. Bundrick. “In a coordinated way, under the same umbrella and leadership, we can offer the best academic training for missional service, pastoral ministry, chaplaincy and global missions.”
The consolidation also allows a combination of resources that will better serve students, says Dr. Byron Klaus, who is president of the embedded seminary and a vice president of the University at large. He points to the library holdings of the three institutions as one example.
“When you think about combining the library holdings of CBC and AGTS that are focused on the disciplines represented in the STCM and the holdings in those disciplines already present in Evangel University, there exists the distinct possibility of having more than 200,000 unduplicated volumes most pertinent to our major courses of study in the STCM,” he says.
Dr. Beth Grant, a missionary to India and executive presbyter of the Assemblies of God, is an alumna of both CBC and AGTS and an adjunct faculty member at Evangel. She says she is excited for the new opportunities that students will have as a part of the STCM.
“I have had the privilege of working with new missionaries, ministers and other professionals graduating from all three schools,” she says. “There have been pivotal moments overseas when I wished my young colleagues could have had the advantage of experiencing the strengths of all three great institutions. Now, the consolidated university will have the unprecedented opportunity to bring these distinct strengths together for the sake of the mission – to prepare students with the powerful combination of excellence in academic knowledge based on God’s Truth integrated with the empowerment of a practical, Pentecostal theology in global perspective.”
Impact on every student at Evangel
Having vocational ministry students studying side-by-side with students in other programs is one of the strengths of this new model, says Dr. Byron Klaus, who is president of the embedded seminary and a vice president of the university at large.
Because all students at Evangel take some Bible courses as part of their general education (Frameworks) requirements, the STCM will impact every student at the university.
“The infusing of a sense of destiny as a member of communities of Christ followers is something I believe this school can do with ever-increasing effectiveness. We need to realize that the challenges to the Gospel in the 21st century require graduates from every discipline to participate in spheres of influence where Jesus desperately needs to be represented fairly, without the casting of shadows on who He is.”
Dr. Bundrick says the STCM is committed to “helping equip students in all disciplines at the university to live out their calling — whether that be vocational ministry, education, law, medicine or any number of professions — in a missional way.”
The STCM is the first of five schools to be established as part of the consolidated university.
Other schools to be phased in as soon as possible are the School of Arts and Sciences; the School of Behavioral Science; the School of Business and Communications; and the School of Fine Arts.