Irvine, CA (June 18, 2018) Concordia University Irvine (CUI) has received two grants from the Kern Family Foundation which will streamline and broaden students’ preparation for church leadership, and promote a broader understanding of vocation by exploring connections between faith, work, and economics.
The larger, $479,000 grant allows the liberal arts Lutheran university to establish the Center for Church Leadership, a new program designed to train Christian ministers.
“For our entire history, we have worked with students from a wide variety of backgrounds,” says Dr. Steve Mueller, dean of Christ College. “This Center creates a clear pathway that supports and prepares more church leaders for service in an ever-changing world.”
The Center will offer a five-year bachelor’s-to-master’s program for academically qualified students who will take classes during their senior year toward their master’s degree. The path allows them to earn both degrees in five years, followed by a year in a full-time ministry residency at a local church.
Concordia Irvine found a kindred partner in the Kern Family Foundation, which supports innovative initiatives to deliver the kind of outstanding theological and ministerial training CUI offers.
“This new program opens doors to train and equip entrepreneurial ministry leaders, to know the Word of God deeply, thinking through how it addresses all manner of human questions,” Mueller says. “The world is changing around us. How do we minister to people in the 21st century? An increasing number of people have no religious affiliation. How will we prepare people to meet these challenges? We see this as wonderful time for an innovative approach to ministry training.”
The first cohort will begin in the fall of 2019 — coincidentally, the same time the new Music, Worship and Theology Building opens up on CUI’s campus.
The second, $96,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation will establish the FaithWorks Center, designed to help participants understand the economic, moral and spiritual significance of work by showing how it contributes to flourishing of other people and society as a whole.
“The work we go to is not just a job but a chance to serve our neighbor with what we produce and what we do,” Mueller says. “It matters. It touches other people’s lives.”
The FaithWorks Center will produce seminars for off-campus groups, such as churches and working professionals, to encourage them to see the value and potential blessing for themselves and others in their vocations. The Center also will produce a book on the subject.
“These workshops and the book will address questions such as, How important is my work to God? How is it an act of love toward my neighbor? How does it contribute to the economic well-being of other people?” says Rev. Dr. David W. Loy, associate dean of Christ College. Loy is directing the new FaithWorks Center. “We want business professionals and employees to see that their work is meaningful.”
The Center will also create one or more classes to be offered through Christ College at CUI.
About Concordia University Irvine
Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a non-profit Lutheran Christian liberal arts four-year university that prepares students for their vocations—their calling in life. Concordia offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in education, nursing, theology, business, and athletics administration. CUI’s undergraduate program is distinctive because of its nationally recognized core curriculum, Enduring Questions & Ideas, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of "Grace Alone. Faith Alone." Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. The university is part of the Concordia University System, the second largest education ministry system in the United States behind the Catholic Church. The NCAA DII private university enrolls over 4,000 students annually.