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At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we're dedicated to learning, serving and leading through rigorous scholarship and a humble approach to Scripture.

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Grand Rapids Theological Seminary Announces Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership for Social Justice Program

News June 22, 2021

Pursuing social justice is an inherently biblical calling. Many ministry leaders in the 21st century feel called to pursue reconciliation, seek equity, feed the hungry and be agents of God’s peace.

Grand Rapids Theological Seminary now offers a Master of Arts in nonprofit leadership for social justice. This program combines the nuts and bolts of operating a nonprofit organization with a deep theological understanding of the roots of justice and how it can be carried out today.

“It involves a thorough grounding in Scripture, especially an exploration of how the Bible depicts God’s program for social justice,” said Dr. Timothy Gombis, professor of New Testament at GRTS. “This will have deep roots in the Old Testament portrayal of God’s commission for Israel to be a people that embodied God’s social justice.”

Human suffering is an irrefutable fact of human existence in a fallen world. Until Christ’s kingdom is fully realized on earth, we will never fully experience true justice. As Christ followers, we can take the lead in shaping communities that orient themselves toward God’s justice. It’s a weighty and important call, and this program provides students with preparation, sacrifice and investment.

“The program prepares followers of Jesus to engage in the work of justice by purposefully cultivating a theological vision of justice along with the knowledge and skills essential to effectively lead nonprofit organizations,” said Dr. John VerBerkmoes, dean of GRTS. “The GRTS team is excited about this new opportunity to participate with other followers of Jesus in the work of God in our world.”

This program is designed for students who are passionate about seeking justice in our broken world, whether their passions lie in racial reconciliation, immigration, gender equity or poverty. Courses include Biblical Theology of Justice, Contemporary Issues in Social Justice, Cultural Intelligence and a capstone course to help students bring their education to fruition. Content that students learn in the classroom can be immediately applied to their work out in the community.

“‘Social justice’ has taken on some negative connotations among some Christians,” Gombis said. “The core classes will clarify a biblical vision that is thoroughly Christian. We believe the Bible is sufficient to orient our approach and are confident that we will arrive at a hopeful conception of how to live as a public testimony to the God who sent Jesus to make all things new.”

Whether students are just starting their career in the nonprofit sector or have been in a leadership role for years, the M.A. in nonprofit leadership for social justice is valuable to both. GRTS also provides three modalities for students to learn: in the classroom, online in real time or online at their own pace.

The M.A. in nonprofit leadership for social justice is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools.

Learn more about the M.A. in nonprofit leadership for social justice by requesting information today.

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Audrey Wierenga

Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18) is the copywriter for Cornerstone’s Marketing & Communications Office. She graduated from Cornerstone in 2018 with a degree in broadcast communication. Audrey also serves on the Young Alumni Council.

In her spare time, Audrey enjoys working on her own full-length work of fiction, co-hosting a podcast about the Academy Awards and participating in local theatre productions.

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