By Nyomi Mosley and Jaerden Willingham
Administrative Assistant and Student Worker, College of Theology
The College of Theology at Grand Canyon University strives to educate students to communicate the gospel effectively, serve the church faithfully and minister with integrity at home and abroad. Clint Harper, a former College of Theology student at GCU, who majored in Christian Studies with an emphasis in biblical studies, shares his experiences regarding his pursuit of ministry and its role in developing “A Deeper Understanding,” as well as his pursuits as an apprentice with AT3 at City Church Manchester, in the Union School of Theology.
What is AT3 and what do you do there?
AT3 is all about creating transatlantic partnerships between the United States and United Kingdom churches in order to train gospel workers for planting and revitalizing churches in the UK. So many churches have watered down the gospel or shut their doors do to a lack of sound leadership, but AT3 is committed to raising the next generation of gospel workers to reach all the lost through the body of Christ.
Personally, I am on their two-year apprenticeship training and working at City Church Manchester while completing an MTh at Union School of Theology in South Wales. I’m here getting practical full-time ministry experience, but really I’m here just gleaning all the good lessons and wisdom I can from the faithful people around me.
I lead the University Student Ministry at our church, lead bible studies, organize events and speak at both church events and local university Christian unions (a lot like CRU or Intervarsity). I lead worship occasionally, do some design work, help partner with local businesses and really just help get done what needs happening; it’s all hands on deck at our church plant. I will start in the New Year helping develop our Integration Ministry as people new to Christianity and new to church adjust and learn how to be a part of the body of Christ, to serve, share and show Christ. I am also an avid coffee drinker and frequent our many great coffee shops in Manchester.
What do you think is important about the idea of “A Deeper Understanding?”
Seeking a deeper understanding is more than reading the right book, listening to the right lecture or sermon. For me at AT3, gaining a deeper understanding is feeling the weight of what you know to be true. After the Manchester attacks last May, I read, “Love will tear us apart, but hate never will,” on a local music venue board. It was then I felt the weight of the UK’s post Christian culture where only 3% of the population are born-again believers. People who don’t know their left from their right, blind to a God whose love is the only true unity. For a time, I was longing to hear someone even be angry with God, just so they might acknowledge His existence is even relevant. The weight of the “lost-ness” and indifference to the gospel in this culture is the deeper understanding that gives me drive for mission.
How is your education helping you in your current career?
The training in biblical exegesis and interpretation is paramount for my ministry here in the UK. Everything we do is based in the Word, preaching, teaching, discipline, evangelizing, serving and much more. In a society that sees the Bible as an irrelevant and outdated text, knowing it in a holistic sense, how to read it well and explain it clearly are so important.
Also, I learned a lot about Gospel Partnership at GCU, a place where all denominations are welcome, where Christ is exalted and his word revered. As I saw Anglican, Baptist, reformed, non-denominational and Pentecostal professors work together and love one another, I learned what real gospel partnership looked like. Nothing could have prepared me more for the kind of gospel partnership that is necessary for the survival of the church here in England like my experience at GCU.
What were some of your favorite courses or professors at GCU?
I had so many wonderful professors, but Dr. Baird and Dr. Diffey probably taught my favorite courses. They always challenged me to look harder and deeper into the text and not to settle for the surface answer but to spend the time I needed to really search the scriptures. But they were also always quick to apply what we were studying to a ministry context and help us realize how much the Word of God must shape all of our lives!
Interested in Grand Canyon University’s College of Theology and its worship arts programs? Visit the website to learn all about it, as well as all of their opportunities, or push the Request More Information button on this page!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.