Residency week during the MASL program at Life Pacific College helps graduate students reengage with college life, find their footing with technology, map a pathway for graduate research, and builds relationships that are life changing.
By: Rod Light
They come from different backgrounds and educational experiences, unified by a shared goal to complete the Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership (MASL) program at LPC and get the most out of residency week.
These students are pastors and leaders representing millennials, generation Xers, baby boomers, and veterans with wide cultural diversity and equal number of women and men. About half have been out of college for a while and many have not met the rest of their cohort face to face until now.
Adult and Graduate Studies Admissions Counselor Linna Martz says these students arrived as strangers, but left campus as peers and friends. “It was fun to see who was outspoken at first and who found their voice as residency week progressed,” she says. It’s the small things that bonded total strangers, sharing coffee or a meal and discussing what they had just heard during class, or a tech savvy student helping one who was not confident in their technical skills.
“I saw people let their guard down and get real in the safe space that was created by the staff and faculty. I saw them pray for one another and minister to each other,” Linna adds. When this cohort returned home, students took with them a renewed sense of confidence and preparation to successfully complete their program among a supportive group of colleagues.
Program Director Dr. Remi Lewanson attributes much of the 90% completion rate of the MASL program to a strategic partnership between LPC and Foursquare districts. Students who gathered on campus in January hail from the Central Pacific and Southern California Districts and are sponsored by Supervisors Dr. Dennis Easter (So Cal District), Ron Pinkston (former Central Pacific District Supervisor), and Bill Chaney (Central Pacific District).
Students use their current professional or ministry context, apply learning theories from the program, and engage questions and dialogue through online message boards. “These students are encouraged to use their MASL capstone research project to address region-related opportunities, making the research immensely valuable to other congregations, ministries, and business ventures in their local areas,” Remi says.
MASL students benefit from the course content of the program but find equal value in the personal relationships they develop during residency week, leading to more open and authentic conversations and discussions in the online portion of their program.
“The broad experience of each person in the cohort is what makes our MASL program so valuable to our students,” says LPC President Jim J. Adams. “God uses the MASL program to help them experience new perspectives, see new insights, build new relationships, and expand their horizons.”
The cohort participated in the MASL Lecture Series focused on the personal life of the leader and featured highly respected presenters Dr. Brad Brisco, National Director of Bi-vocational Church Planting for the North American Missions Board, and Dr. Wilson Teo, President of TCA College in Singapore. Pastors and ministry leaders from the community were invited to join the lecture series that included a response from a faculty member, Jack Witt representing the Central Pacific District, and Kelly Schmidt representing the MASL graduating Class of 2017.
Linna Martz says different speakers and professors during residency week spoke to every student in distinct ways and she believes that each student took home something new that struck a chord in their lives. More than an academic experience, the MASL program transforms lives, one leader at a time.—
By: Rod Light, M.A., an ordained Foursquare minister, LPC adjunct professor, and Communications Coordinator for Foursquare Missions International.