As a husband, father of three young children, and the Associate Pastor of Ministry at The Lamb’s Fellowship in Murrieta, California, MOL alum Ryan Sharp juggles many responsibilities in life. Even while balancing these family and ministry callings, he felt the draw to pursue additional education.
“I’ve always loved learning, and I never stopped reading, but I recognized my own need to expand the scope of my learning,” Ryan remembers. “I also needed opportunities to write and process material, something I knew I wouldn’t do on my own.”
Soon after he transitioned from his role in youth ministry to his current position as an Associate Pastor, he began researching programs that would help him grow as a leader. Ryan recognized the significance of a strong Christian foundation and saw the MA in Organizational Leadership degree as an opportunity to do just that. As a graduate of Biola, he also admitted that he would never want to be affiliated with another University. “The quality of Christian education is unmatched,” he says. “I have been challenged personally and in my ministry, being forced to confront my own weaknesses and let Jesus change me.”
I recognized my own need to expand the scope of my learning
The commute of over an hour from his home to campus each week, while initially daunting, gave Ryan the opportunity to step back for an evening. “This ended up being a refreshing time for me to get away one day a week and look forward to being poured into by the faculty,” he recalls. With experienced faculty members who are deeply committed to both Christ and seeing their students develop as transformational leaders, students in the program find themselves challenged in all of the best ways.
“The MOL professors asked questions and offered insight that conveyed an incredible depth of learning and experience. I consistently found myself unable to take notes fast enough to keep up with the wisdom I was receiving,” Ryan says.
In the MOL, Students learn how to partner their autonomy with interdependence, becoming effective servant leaders in the workplace. As he moved through the program, Ryan says, “I drastically changed my leadership style,” learning the importance of organization-wide input and the value of delegation.
As Lamb’s Fellowship congregation has grown from an average of fifty people each week to one thousand over the course of the last five years, the need for excellent leadership in the church was crucial. “I am overjoyed to be a part of an organization that is alive and growing,” Ryan says. “Jesus is doing incredible things…and every day I am grateful to be a part of it.”
I wanted to grow,
and I did
As for advice to others considering the MOL, he recognizes the hurdles that many potential students face and puts the commitment into perspective: “I finished in three years, which seemed like a long time at first. The reality I had to consider was this: the three years is going to pass whether I’m a part of the program or not. The question is, ‘Who do I want to be at the end of those three years?’ I wanted to grow, and I did.”