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Issue #171

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Twenty Years of Training

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          Together with faculty, staff, and local pastors, 95 students gathered on August 28, 1986, for The Master’s Seminary’s inaugural convocation chapel. The seminary quietly came into being that day, 20 years ago, on the campus of Grace Community Church.


          Word of the seminary’s birth spread quickly. The well-defined focus on godly character, biblical knowledge, and ministry skills not only attracted prospective students, drawing men from across America and from many other countries, but it also impressed the regional accrediting association: “The seminary has been very intentional in its development of an M.Div. program with few analogies in the U.S., distinguished above all by it almost single-minded commitment to the preparation of ordained pastors. Combining church-based involvement, personal discipleship, and academic study…the seminary is on the cutting edge of reform.” 


          The Master’s Seminary and Grace Church together serve as a “living lab” for training future pastors. Students continually observe firsthand the biblical characteristics of ministry. The pastoral staff members give their time and expertise to provide a full package of ministry preparation. Our students receive solid biblical training in the classroom and also experience a vital, dynamic church community in which to be discipled and nurtured. 


          Our school’s name, “The Master’s Seminary,” signifies two profound truths. First, “The Master’s” highlights the fact that the ownership of TMS resides with The Master, Jesus Christ. This pastoral training center intentionally emphasizes God’s Son, our Savior and Lord. Second, “Seminary” signifies that TMS’s operation results in a new generation of gospel preachers and Bible teachers. A notable dictionary defines the primary meaning of seminary as “a piece of ground for the sowing and growing of seeds/plants intended for later transplanting.” The Master’s Seminary serves as a Christ-centered spiritual seedbed where young men can be nurtured and then, three to four years later, transplanted to local churches throughout America and around the world.


1986-1987 Student body


          The “seedbed” has grown fourfold since 1986—from 95 students to 375. The seminary started with two degrees, a Bachelor of Theology and a Master of Divinity, and we have added three more over the past two decades: a Master of Theology, a Doctor of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry. Most importantly, after our twentieth graduation in May, TMS will have transplanted over 850 men from this seminary to locations throughout the world, in obedience to Christ’s Great Commission directive (Matt. 28:18–20). 


          TMS graduates minister in 46 U.S. states (the few exceptions being North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia). Also, 35 countries have become ministry locations for over 15 percent of our graduates (see the list below). Bible TrainingCenters (BTCs) have been started in 13 of these countries.


Albania (BTC)








Croatia (BTC)

Czech Republic



Germany (BTC)

Honduras (BTC)

Hong Kong

India (BTC)



Japan (BTC)

Mexico (BTC)



New Zealand (BTC)





Rep. of S. Africa (BTC)


Russia (BTC)




Ukraine (BTC)

United States (BTC)


          These ministry fruits, after only 20 years, richly highlight God’s blessing. Through the faithful proclamation of God’s Word, alumni of The Master’s Seminary touch millions of lives around the world. Through preaching, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and pastoral training, Christ’s influence through The Master’s Seminary continues to expand. The full effects will be fully known only in eternity. Truly, the Lord has done exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think. To God be the glory!

“We train men as if lives depended on it.”

2005-2006 Student body

News and features for graduates and friends of The Master's Seminary