Our opportunities are greater than ever for equipping church planters around the world with a vision to disciple leaders from every people, language, and nation. We recognize the growing importance of emerging leaders from the many cultures of American cities and from around the world. We are called to disciple people in the context of their home cultures.

Objectives for students

  • Come to terms with the biblical mandate to disciple people of every nation and to lead them into maturity in Jesus Christ as our Lord requires;
  • Grow in awareness of the current movements of people to Christ around the world with an appreciation of the diversity of God’s ways among us;
  • Appreciate and critically evaluate the effectiveness of various strategies in starting and growing healthy, prevailing churches in suburban and urban contexts;
  • Grow in our ability to make use of the enormous potential for global discipleship of our growing communities of culturally diverse peoples in North America;
  • Develop leadership skills and gifts required for the ministry of reconciliation in changing cultural contexts; and
  • Develop skills in discipleship evangelism for ministry at home and around the world.

GC512 • Global, Cultural and Contextual Ministry. 3 Credits.

A biblically grounded examination of culture as the context of all ministry. This course applies understanding of culture to the global mission mandate of the church, and examines how one's cultural identity influences spiritual and personal growth as well as leadership potential. The course provides opportunity for acquisition of skills for understanding other cultures. It explores in depth historical and contemporary structural impediments to the church's mission, including power differentials, racism, sexism, and classism. The reconciling power of the Gospel to transform the church into a new and just community will permeate the course.

GC609 • Intercultural Communications. 1.5 Credits.

The study of worldview, value orientations and cultural dynamics as they affect the communication process within an intercultural context either locally or globally - also examining aspects of cultural conflict, adaptation, and leadership. Campus: San Diego.

GC610 • Cross-Cultural Communication. 3 Credits.

This course examines the dynamics of the communication process and the ways in which various cultures, audience segments, or value orientations condition the interpretation of different symbol systems. Each student selects a culture or subculture to evaluate its most dominant worldview components and the approaches to church work that are most likely to be effective in that setting.

GC611 • Christianity in Culture. 3 Credits.

Culture is studied to help those serving in various ministry contexts to identify the distinctives of culture and Christian heritage; to distinguish the secular aspects of heritage from the distinctly Christian elements; and to know when to hold firm or to be flexible when providing pastoral care for people of other generations or cultures.

GC612 • Cross Cultural Leadership. 1.5,3 Credits.

This course examines the biblical purposes and function of leadership through a cross-cultural understanding of how to first serve and then lead. Aspects of vision casting, influencing change, and becoming missional leaders are discussed as to cultural leadership characteristics. The emphasis for the student is on how to encourage and develop leaders more than how to function as a leader in a host culture.

GC614 • Christianity and Culture. 1.5 Credits.

The study of postmodern culture and the current values and beliefs in which we now minister so as to help one know how to communicate the Gospel, how to understand decision-making, and how social influences affect the hearing of the biblical message. Campus: San Diego.

GC615 • Communications and Culture. 3 Credits.

This course seeks to explore various ways in which culture affects the effective communication of the Christian message. It is largely a study of issues and practices related to effective cross-cultural or intercultural communication, with attention to understanding cultural contexts and barriers and applications to effective Christian witness across, and within, cultures. The course examines the dynamics of the communication process and the ways in which various cultures, audience segments, or value orientations condition the interpretation and communication of the Bible and other messages. Areas of focus include the nature of cultural contexts and their impact upon perceptions, values, beliefs, and social structures. Each student selects a culture or sub-culture, evaluating the dominant worldview components and developing a strategy for effectively communicating the Christian faith to persons within such cultures.

GC632 • World Religions. 1.5,3 Credits.

This couse is a study of the world religions that provide structures of belief and meaning for vast numbers of people in America and globally. A primary goal is to develop the understanding and sensitivities necessary to represent Christ attractively, and communicate His Gospel intelligibly, to adherents of these faiths. It is also an opportunity to develop an informed Christian theology of religions.
Prerequisites: TS512 (recommended). Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS632.

GC650 • Missions in Global Urban Context. 3 Credits.

This course explores many of the critical issues arising from the rapid urbanization occurring around the world, and examines the numerous elements involved in effective ministry/missions in an international urban context. Students explore the many issues involved in adequately exegeting a major urban context. The course examines the impact of urbanization upon the task of communicating the Christian message and of establishing a dynamic and reproducing church in an international urban context. Specific aspects explored include ministry to the urban poor, ministry to immigrants and migrants (both in-country and foreign), ministry to international students, and a variety of social ministries that can significantly influence urban ministry.

GC656 • Understanding Cults. 1.5,3 Credits.

A study of the major religions founded in America that identify themselves as Christian or are most likely to convert current church-going Christians and their friends and family, yet fall outside the accepted boundaries of historic, core Christian doctrines and/or practices. The history and teachings of groups such as the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) will be detailed, with a more general look at some of the lesser, but still present movements. Methods on how to dialogue with members of these groups will be discussed. The focus of our conversations will be salvation by grace alone through faith in Jesus, the truth of which is told in the Bible, solely for the glory of God alone.

GC659 • Implementing Change. 1.5 Credits.

To understand how change occurs within the social dynamics of an organization or a culture, the variables that affect change and appropriate strategies for introducing change to organizational structures in the church or community are discussed.
Special Notes: San Diego only.

GC660 • Change Agency. 3 Credits.

This is a course in applied anthropology and cultural dynamics with special attention given to how culture change occurs, the dynamics and variables that effect change, and appropriate strategies for the effective change agent, whether an individual or an organization. The course will also focus on contemporary areas of social responsibility for Christian advocates and agents of change. This course will assist church leaders (in the U.S. or overseas), missionaries, anthropologists, development agencies, social ministries, and others in understanding how change occurs, how to effectively introduce change into organizations and communities, how to evaluate when we should and should not introduce change, and what the biblical and theological foundation is for our personal involvement as advocates for and agents of change.

GC670 • Independent Study in Global and Contextual Ministries. 1-9 Credits.

Research and study by arrangement with the professor.
Special Notes: Permission is required.

GC673 • Cross-Cultural Experience. 1.5 Credits.

Shaped as an independent study around a cross-cultural experience of the student, usually as part of a global mission project or as a local ethnic ministry. This is arranged with the ML professor to create an in-depth study in which the experience will occur. Campus: San Diego.

GC700 • Understanding Islam. 1.5,3 Credits.

The study of Islam as both a system of beliefs and as a culture, how Islam is growing and accomplishing its own 'evangelism,' and ways in which the Gospel can engage Muslim followers within their particular culture and sect of Islam.

GC704 • Religion in Anthropology. 1.5 Credits.

The study of basic roles of religion in society, including its role as explanation system and means of social regulation; how worldviews influence cultures, how to use ethnography and to analyze culture to describe religion, worldview values, tradition, and structures of faith. Campus: San Diego.

GC708 • History of World Missions. 1.5,3 Credits.

A survey of the missionary movements on the major continents with special emphasis on biographies, types of mission field, and missionary strategy. Special Notes: May be taken in substitute for HS510.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with HS708.

GC711 • Spiritism and Folk Beliefs. 1.5 Credits.

A study of how folk beliefs become the practice in major religions (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Hispanic Catholicism), the importance of recognizing the 'excluded middle' in cultural beliefs, and issues of spiritual warfare and syncretism to be considered in communicating the Gospel.
Special Notes: San Diego only.

GC739 • Theology in a Global Context. 3 Credits.

This course addresses key intersections between theology and culture and explores questions and issues related to contextuality in theologizing. It does so by close readings, discussions, and analysis of contemporary theologies coming from beyond the traditional Euro-American context, including African, Asian, Latin American, and other non-Western contexts. Themes of focus include Christology, anthropology, and the doctrine of salvation.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS739.