University Receives Kern Family Foundation Grant to Grow M.Div. Program

Dr. Justin K. Hardin, assistant dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies, teaches students in the accelerated bachelor's degree and Master of Divinity degree program during a class at Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach.The Kern Family Foundation has awarded the University a $555,000 grant to double enrollment in its accelerated bachelor’s degree and Master of Divinity program through expanded recruitment, scholarships, vocational mentoring and church partnerships.

“We are thrilled the Kern Family Foundation continues its partnership with PBA’s School of Ministry to grow the Master of Divinity degree, not only in student enrollment but also in ministry formation and preparation,” said Dr. Justin K. Hardin, assistant dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies. “With this strategic grant, PBA will continue to lead the way in innovative graduate theological education.”

The Kern Family Foundation previously awarded PBA a $450,000 grant to pioneer an accelerated program in which students can complete a Bachelor of Arts and an M.Div. in five years. Students complete a rigorous academic program, including 600 hours of ministry training at four supervised apprenticeships.

With this grant, the University will hire a coordinator of this accelerated program. The coordinator will provide significant mentoring for students and grow PBA’s network of partner churches beyond Palm Beach County to Miami, Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Tampa.

Jordan Massey, a graduate of the accelerated bachelor's degree and Master of Divinity program, listens to Dr. Justin K. Hardin, assistant dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies, teach during class at Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach. Massey is now pastor of Westside Baptist Church's Southwest campus in Gainesville, Florida.“God still calls people to ministry,” School of Ministry Dean Dr. Jonathan Grenz said. “Understanding one’s calling is a journey that unfolds and having a mentor, or shepherd, really helps. This grant provides us with the people power to make an even greater investment in the lives of students.”  

PBA’s emphasis on the American free enterprise system also aligns with the Kern Family Foundation’s goal to promote the integration of faith, work and economics, Grenz said. The grant allows for additional coursework and experiences that help students equip people for whole-life discipleship and fruitful work for the flourishing of their communities.

The Kern Family Foundation, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, enriches American lives by promoting the value of work, developing the formation of good character, increasing educational achievement and instilling an entrepreneurial mindset. The Foundation intentionally focuses on systemic change rather than charity by founding broad impact, long-term programs.

Photo 1: Dr. Justin K. Hardin, assistant dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies, teaches students in the accelerated bachelor's degree and Master of Divinity degree program during a class at Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach.

Photo 2: Jordan Massey, a graduate of the accelerated bachelor's degree and Master of Divinity program, listens to Dr. Justin K. Hardin, assistant dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies, teach during class at Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach. Massey is now pastor of Westside Baptist Church's Southwest campus in Gainesville, Florida