Rod Light | October 21, 2020

Students in the MASL and MATS programs at Life Pacific University express a very personal educational and professional journey, but all share a common goal of serving Christ with knowledge and excellence.

MASL – Joel Liew

Joel Liew knows that God has called him to build Dream Centers in five different Asian cities in his lifetime. He is the lead pastor of Victory Centre, a Foursquare Church in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia and is a member of the board of directors of The Malaysian Foursquare Church. Additionally, Joel is a business entrepreneur with clear direction about his future leadership in Christ.

“The program has the right balance of theology and organizational studies and practical training that will prepare me for the vision God has given me. More importantly, I am being prepared for the challenging environment we are going to face in the future,” Joel says.

He knew there was much more he could learn about strategic leadership and believes the LPU MA in Strategic Leadership program offers him what he needs. “The program has the right balance of theology and organizational studies and practical training that will prepare me for the vision God has given me. More importantly, I am being prepared for the challenging environment we are going to face in the future,” Joel says.

For Joel, courses in the program are a great benefit for the work he does, in particular the courses in pastoral coaching, self-care and leadership sustainability, and emotional intelligence. The most important factor in his MASL success story is the network of friends he has built with people all over the world. “It would be too long to write about this journey with each other but it is the best friendship a ministry leader can have in facing the challenges of this spiritually and physically pandemic-stricken world,” Joel says.    

 

MATS – Kyle Randleman

Kyle Randleman has an educational background and professional experience in criminal justice and administration. As the Lead Pastor of Valley Hope Community Church in Lebanon, Ore. he knew he needed focused training in the Bible and theology and found what he was looking for in LPU’s MA in Theological Studies program. “The name of the program alone drew me in,” Kyle says. He particularly appreciates how the program prepares him to teach in the environment of the Church and specifically from the pulpit.

“The MATS program has already impacted my sermons and teachings,” Kyle says. "I know this because people say that my sermons and teachings have changed for the better since starting the program. They can see in me a difference in my confidence and understanding of the scripture.” 

“The MATS program has already impacted my sermons and teachings,” Kyle says. "I know this because people say that my sermons and teachings have changed for the better since starting the program. They can see in me a difference in my confidence and understanding of the scripture.” Kyle has struggled with academic writing in the program but says the professors and other students in his cohort are quick to offer help with the process.

Earning a graduate degree online requires full engagement from every student as they learn the material and also as they live their lives. “I rely heavily on those in the cohort with me, not just for school. We find ourselves supporting each other in our personal lives and what is going on around us in the nation,” he says.

 

MASL – Alex Oparinde

Nigerian-born Alex Oparinde has been in the United States for 23 years and currently is Assistant Pastor at Riverdale Foursquare Church in Riverdale, Georgia. Alex has a call to become a lead pastor and joined a cohort of the MA in Strategic Leadership program at Life Pacific University with recommendation of his current pastor at Riverdale.

“The MASL program has transformed my thinking to embrace useful leadership theories and practices, to think outside the box, and how to think about leadership from a biblical point of view.” - Alex Oparinde

Alex says the program teaches students to think critically and deeply with the help of the Holy Spirit to apply the knowledge acquired and see things better – beyond the macro level to where we actual live and serve. “I must be equipped to serve and manage the Church,” Alex says. “The MASL program has transformed my thinking to embrace useful leadership theories and practices, to think outside the box, and how to think about leadership from a biblical point of view.”

In the process, Alex is learning to retire some thoughts and practices that don’t line up. “Don’t be afraid to break things that are done just because we have always done them,” he adds.  Every class has been rich and provides him with resources he did not have to better serve the Lord in the Church. He is convinced the organizational principles of the MASL program would benefit any leader including those who serve outside the Church in the business world.

“Don’t be afraid to break things that are done just because we have always done them,” Alex adds.  

 

MATS – Nathan Meade

Prior to COVID-19, Nathan Meade, Associate Pastor at North Church in Spokane, Wash. thoroughly enjoyed the residency week for the MATS program held in January on the LPU campus in San Dimas, Calif. Residency week gathers MATS students for intensive on-campus classes and personal meetings with professors and program leaders to monitor progress and outcomes.

“The MATS program helps us apply the material we’re learning with a deeper understanding of the Bible and how it can benefit the Church.” - Nathan Meade

“The professors have been top notch, they are great, and it’s sunny California,” Nathan says of his residency week experience. “You can’t beat that. And, being here with a group of people who share the same passion to reach others, to learn about the Bible, and to learn more from some great minds, it’s a no brainer.”

After residency week, Nathan says his mind is already engaged and his thinking has been stretched, particularly in the area of contemporary issues that confront the Church at large. “Theology provides us with clear tools to study the Bible,” he says. “The MATS program helps us apply the material we’re learning with a deeper understanding of the Bible and how it can benefit the Church.”