A major part of ministry in God's work today is in an international setting, either in missions, where it is cross-cultural, or in a person's home country, where it is multicultural. Missionaries and pastors must be spiritually and practically prepared to be effective in our changing world with its variety of cultural worldviews. To prepare people for this ministry, Grace Theological Seminary offers a 48-hour Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies.
This degree includes coursework in Bible, theology, hermeneutics, spiritual formation and prayer, intercultural and missions courses, and a six-credit hour required internship.
Examples of courses in this major:
A study of the principles and processes of communicating effectively with people from a second cultural context. The course focuses on functional perception and how cultural worldview, beliefs and values affect that through the personal perception of each individual. The shaping of the message, style of communication and communication networks for each cultural context are explored with a view to penetrating each culture as deeply as possible with the Gospel. The dangers of ethnocentrism and some current methods of contextualization are discussed.
The nature of humans and how their culture affects them are explored with a view to how this, in turn, affects ministry in intercultural contexts. Worldview assumptions and resulting values, beliefs, behavior and attitudes are studied as to how they affect people in their perception and understanding of the physical and spiritual world around them and, ultimately, their understanding of the Gospel. Social organization is examined as to how it affects ministry strategy and the nature of culture change is investigated with a view to evangelism.
The student will study the biblical principles that mandate teamwork in the world mission task, concentrating on the unity of the Godhead as the ultimate model for all unified human relationships. Attention is given to God’s model of reproducing reproducers as His intended normative approach to leadership. The transcultural application of the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be carefully studied.
This course prepares the student to fit evangelism, church planting, church development and relief ministries into the social and cultural context of the receiving people. It majors on preparing missionaries to plant Christianity in the soil of the targeted people group, so it will grow up within their context rather than spread a veneer of Christian values over that culture. The contextualization of methodology, theology, and forms and expressions in the local church is discussed. The danger of Western values being expressed in Bible interpretation and the importance of taking into consideration the religious worldview and the definitions used in the receiving culture are discussed. Emphasis is given as well to the differences of the cultural context within which the biblical text was written.
In this course, the belief systems of major religions are studied with a view to understanding why the tenets make sense and drive behavior for the adherents. How each religion affects the host culture and how the culture affects the religion will be explored. The inadequacies of each belief system will be discussed in light of the adequacy of Christianity. An introductory understanding of biblical theology is assumed.
The individuals who will challenge you to learn:
B.S. in Psychology, The Ohio State University; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Pastoral Studies, Denver Seminary
Jeffrey Gill was the senior pastor of the Delaware, Ohio Grace Brethren Church for 20 years (1982 to 2002). He started at the church when it was little more than a church plant. It experienced substantial growth over the years and is now well-known in the FGBC as a healthy and influential church body. He assumed the role of dean of Grace Theological Seminary in July, 2002. In 2008, he was named dean of the School of Ministry Studies, which includes both the Seminary and the undergraduate Biblical Studies Department at Grace. He was the National Moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches in 2002. He and his wife, Kathy, have two grown daughters.
B.S. in Communication, Ohio University; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Ph.D. in Biblical Theology (New Testament), Wheaton College
Matt Harmon brings a passion to equip people to encounter Christ through the Scriptures and lead others to do so as well. His research interests include the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, Biblical Theology, Pauline studies, and the life/ministry/theology of Jonathan Edwards. He served as full-time staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for eight years, doing evangelism and discipleship with college students. He taught courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College as well as in the local church. On a regular basis, Harmon also teaches for Campus Crusade for Christ, helping to train staff in interpreting and teaching Scripture. In his spare time, Harmon also teaches training workshops for Bibleworks. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society for Biblical Literature. Harmon and his wife, Kate, have two sons.
B.A. in Christian Education, Wheaton College; M.A. in Christian Education, Talbot School of Theology; Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Character Development and Spiritual Formation), Talbot School of Theology
Christy Hill brings her passion and training in spiritual formation to facilitate the holistic development of students while at Grace. Her research interests include personal and interpersonal development with empirical work conducted in the area of adult attachment styles and relationship with God variables. She taught at Biola University and Talbot School of Theology before coming to Grace in 2006. While she focuses primarily in women's ministries, she has served in a variety of leadership roles cross-culturally, in the local church and in the para-church context. Hill has developed a number of Bible study materials, published in the Christian Education Journal and presented research findings at the North American Professors of Christian Education Conference, a society of which she is a member. Christy is married to Jim, who also teaches at Grace in the prison extension program.
B.A. in Pastoral Studies, Moody Bible Institute; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Th.M. in Practical Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School D.Min. in Preaching, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Rock LaGioia has been heavily involved in pastoral work since 1987. A member of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and the Evangelical Theological Society, he has authored numerous magazine articles and written book reviews. LaGioia has taught a wide variety of college courses such as spiritual formation, preaching and theology at Moody Bible Institute and Taylor University. He has also taught graduate level homiletics and theology courses at Trinity International University and Huntington University Graduate School. LaGioia and his wife, Kathy, have been blessed with two sons.
Diploma in Advanced German, Goethe Institute; B.A. in History, Grace College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Intercultural Studies, Grace Theological Seminary
Roger Peugh came to Grace in the fall of 1989 with three years of pastoral experience followed by 20 years of missionary experience as a church planter in Germany. While at Grace, he was involved as an elder in a church plant for 13 years. He is an active Bible conference speaker as well as guest-lecturer in several German Bible schools. In addition to his role as professor in the School of Ministry Studies, Peugh serves Grace College as campus prayer coordinator and is serving as the interim dean of chapel. Peugh, who has authored books on the topic of prayer, is married to Nancy, and they have four children and eight grandchildren.
B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; M.Div. in Biblical Languages, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Theological Studies (Old Testament), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Tiberius Rata came to Grace Theological Seminary from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he served as assistant professor of divinity. Before that, he taught at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and Emmanuel Baptist University in Oradea, Romania. He has also pastored churches in California and Alabama and served as an interim pastor in Michigan and Indiana. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Institute for Biblical Research and has presented papers at the national conventions of the Evangelical Theological Society. Rata is chair of the undergraduate Department of Biblical Studies. He and his wife, Carmen, have two sons.
B.A. in Communications, Grace College; Th.M. in Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Miss., Western Baptist Seminary
Tom Stallter has 18 years of missionary experience in the Central African Republic and Chad in the areas of church planting and development, leadership training, mission administration, and famine and economic relief. In addition to his teaching in the School of Ministry Studies, Stallter is the executive director of the Grace Theological Seminary's Center for Korean Studies. Areas of research for Stallter include cultural intelligence, business as mission, multicultural worship, ethics in missions, cultural values, cultural identity assessment, culture discovery and matching missionary candidates to contexts. He is a member of the Evangelical Missiological Society and the National Ministerium of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Stallter and his wife, Sharon, have three grown children and one granddaughter.
Some of the positions you can obtain:
Immersion within and forming relationships with the people of another culture with the purpose of sharing Christ in word and in deed. Oftentimes, missionaries will form relationships through the application of their gifts and talents, meeting the needs of the people within the culture. Those talents may be in the areas of construction, agriculture, literacy, teaching or business, to name a few.
Manage an inner city program, staff and budget in an organization that typically promotes faith, service, learning and leadership development. Maintain and develop relationships with local churches and agencies, promoting cross-cultural sensitivity and a respect for people of many backgrounds.