Making MDiv residency work for busy pastors

Grand Canyon University (GCU) recently completed its second residency for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program. GCU’s MDiv program within the College of Theology offers learning with interpersonal collaboration to develop and inspire future worship leaders.

By Mark Heller

CONT. EDU ICONLearners take part in three, week-long required residencies in Phoenix (approximately one residency per year) designed for learners to interact and collaborate with College of Theology peers, faculty and other community leaders. GCU strategically plans special conferences, elective sessions and professional exchange forums within residencies.

The residency effectively fosters interpersonal communication skills and develops biblical leadership qualities. Learners can share these concepts along with real-world experiences within their own communities.

Each residency experience centers on a major area of study that draws on knowledge gained through recent coursework:

Residency I: Christian Worldview and Mission: Explore the biblical, historical and theological bases for cross-cultural contextualization of the Christian worldview.

Residency II: Christ-Centered Preaching: Develop skills for the preparation and delivery of powerful expository sermons through an integrative study of biblically sound principles and practices for rightly handling God’s word.

Residency III: Pastoral Theology: Examine the roles and responsibilities of ministers as they lead and shepherd God’s people in a practically oriented, theological study.

Dr. Jason Hiles, dean of GCU’s College of Theology
Dr. Jason Hiles, dean of GCU’s College of Theology

About the online Master of Divinity

Inspiring a life of faithful ministry, the online MDiv caters to current and future church leaders with busy schedules. This intensive program provides learners with the convenience and flexibility to explore the Gospel whenever and wherever they wish. Learners can continue working in churches or other organizations while taking course without commuting and worrying about attendance in a physical classroom.

“Whether you want to be a pastor, a missionary, or serve in some other way, GCU will prepare you to respond to the call God has placed on your heart,” says Dr. Jason Hiles, dean of GCU’s College of Theology.

Learners are exposed to a profound depth of biblical and theological knowledge as they nurture the skills of a leader in Christian study. An integrative examination of the Bible allows a learner to deeply connect with the world through powerful expository sermons that deliver the word of God in its true intent.

Early in the program, learners progress through a series of focused interpretive classes on the Bible that instill a precise understanding of the Word of God. Learners explore the great doctrines of Christian faith and the significance of these doctrines in life and ministry.

A recent MDiv residency in session
A recent MDiv residency in session

After establishing a strong foundation in biblical and theological knowledge, the program turns its attention from the study of Scripture to the contexts where ministry happens. Learners investigate the major world religions and ideologies from an evangelical perspective.

While many seminaries at other universities require students to leave their parishes for extended periods to attend classes on campus, GCU’s online learning and networking opportunities bring academics into your home or office through an intuitive LoudCloud learning system.

The university’s online learning environment provides students with access to full-time online instructors, counselors, tutoring and other tools to aid success. Most online classes have professor-narrated PowerPoint presentations, video walk-throughs and opportunities for satellite study groups.

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Combining engaging, interactive online learning with residency programs helps gospel-minded students enhance their leadership skills and connect with others.

“When you learn to rightly handle God’s word and apply it in real-world situations where ministry happens, you’ll be able to serve others more effectively than ever,” Hiles says.

To learn more about GCU’s College of Theology programs please visit

Mark Heller is a marketing editor and copywriter for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website. Please note that not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment. We will not provide your information to any third party without your consent. For more information, read our Privacy Policy.


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