Kern Family Foundation Awards Grant to AGTS of Evangel University
The Kern Family Foundation in Waukesha, Wisconsin, recently awarded a grant to the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary of Evangel University to support expanding its accelerated master’s degree program.
AGTS received this second grant to expand the 4+1 Fast Track Program for highly qualified students committed to full-time, long-term ministry in the United States.
Students enrolled in the program earn a bachelor’s degree at Evangel University in four years, and in one additional year at AGTS finish with either a Master of Leadership and Ministry (MLM), Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies (MAIS), or Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS).
“The ultimate goal is to prepare students for vocational ministry in less time and with less debt,” said Tim Hager, vice president and dean of the seminary.
“We are humbled by the confidence placed in the university and seminary by this grant award,” said Hager. “This is a catalyst toward our commitment to send well-educated, spiritually passionate, biblically literate and articulate ministers into U.S. churches.”
The foundation previously awarded a grant to AGTS to help create the 4+1 Fast Track Program. It was launched in the fall of 2016 with 21 students and has experienced steady growth — 29 the second year, 40 the third year, and in the fall of 2019, there are 55 students participating in the accelerated program.
Evangel’s strong pre-seminary tradition and the mature graduate programs of AGTS work together to form a solid foundation on which to build the program.
“God answered my prayer for provision by allowing me to receive help through the Kern Grant,” said Lance Langenberg, connections pastor at First Assembly in Rolla, Missouri.
“Since I received those funds, I was able to go all the way through seminary without taking out a single loan, and I am now able to focus all my attention on ministry tasks without the burden of student debt.”
Lance is one of the first five AGTS students to graduate from the 4+1 Fast Track Program. All five walked the line on May 3, 2019, and AGTS assisted each of the students in finding a full-time pastoral ministry position.
Landenberg added that linking the undergraduate degree from Evangel with the master’s at AGTS, “…is a crucial and wise way to encourage students to enroll in college and stick with it all the way through the graduate level.”
Mike Jaffe, AGTS professor and director of the accelerated master’s program, agrees.
“The program is easy to sell,” said Jaffe. “When we convey to the students the value of participating in the 4+1 Fast Track Program, the benefits are clear.”
As a bonus, the new accelerated master’s program at AGTS is flexible, with multiple access points.
Many students feel called to enter the ministry with a bi-vocational skill set. Many churches are small, and many introductory positions are part time. Having a business or counseling degree, for example, enhances the options for landing that first job.
“Evangel students can take a major that interests them and that they believe will enhance their calling, be it in business, music, communication or education,” Jaffee said.
Then, by applying for the 4+1 Fast Track Program and taking a select set of theology classes for the pre-seminary minor (21 hours), a student will still be able to graduate from AGTS in one additional year with one of the three master’s degrees listed earlier.
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