Calvary Chapel University Awarded Full Accreditation
Story by Josh Luecht
Photos courtesy of Calvary Chapel University
Bobby Johnston thought his higher education “career” was over before it ever even began. After a year and a half of community college, he had only earned five credits because his addiction was consuming his life. Because of these roadblocks, education really ended up on the back burner.
After 20 years of struggling with addiction, Bobby confessed his struggles to his loved ones, sought help, and cried out to the Lord. As part of his transformation, Bobby got the opportunity to finish his education through online classes. In 2019, he graduated from Calvary Chapel University (CCU) with a B.A. in Biblical Studies. Bobby felt that his time lost to addiction had been redeemed. Bobby exclaimed, “I have a passion for teaching God’s Word … I know better than anyone the bondage I was in, and to be freed from that … it’s truly an act of God’s grace. It was a task juggling a career and ministry and classes … but it was so worth it to have that bachelor’s degree at the end.”
In 2020, CCU was awarded full accreditation.
Calvary Chapel University, whose vision is to “Make Disciples”, was birthed from prayer, a call from God, and a very specific desire to be a “helper of people through online education.”
Starting initially in 2000 as The Rock University, this new concept for education was designed to be an online and on-site university for a church in Southern California. However, the vision expanded into becoming a national online resource to raise up the next generation of Christian ministers and teachers. A passion to train Christian school educators led to the 2005 renaming of Rock University to Calvary Chapel Teachers College and a changing of the vision and curriculum to be an exclusively online program available worldwide.
As the years went by and the educational program grew, many Calvary Chapel pastors began asking if the Teachers College had anything to offer them. A fully online program was highly desirable for those who were engaged in full-time ministry and could not break away to study on-site at a Bible college. As a result, a whole new school was created—the College of Biblical Studies—with the goal of serving the pastors of Calvary Chapel. As a result of this expanded vision from the Lord to train pastors and leaders alongside educators, in 2009 the Teachers College was renamed and branded Calvary Chapel University.
Over the next few years, the headquarters for the fully online ministry of Calvary Chapel University traveled between CC San Diego, CA; CC Downey, CA; CC Costa Mesa, CA; and CC Fort Lauderdale, FL. In 2016, the university ultimately partnered with the ministry of Youth Development Inc. (YDI) in Head Waters, VA.
Jim and Kristie Gallagher proudly show their degrees from Calvary Chapel University. Jim, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, FL, earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies in 2019 and Kristie an M.A. in Biblical Counseling in 2020.
One of the early goals for Calvary Chapel University was to be a fully nationally recognized and accredited university. However, this process takes considerable effort and financial resources. Institutions must be fully functioning at a high capacity before they are able to apply for federal recognition. On October 26, 2020, Calvary Chapel University was awarded full accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). TRACS accredits some of the leading Christian colleges and universities in the United States, including Bob Jones University, Southern Evangelical Seminary, Veritas International University, Pensacola Christian College, and others.
Achieving national accreditation and recognition opens a whole new world of possibilities for CCU to expand their reach as they help raise up the next generation of Christian ministry leaders. CCU’s goal is stated as “Simply Jesus, Superior Academics, and Servant Leadership” with fully online, ministry-focused, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programs.
Calvary Chapel University currently offers B.A. and M.A. programs in Biblical Theology, Christian Leadership, Biblical Counseling, Christian Education, Women’s Ministry, and Youth Ministry. Each of these programs is designed to enrich a student’s relationship with the Lord and provide practical training for their ministry calling.
Encouraging Hunger for the Lord
Brenda Leavenworth of Reliance Church in Temecula, CA, shared, “The courses at CCU are effortlessly transferable to all ministry. Every class I complete, I’m astonished at how it improves my ministry. The modules don’t distract or take me away from ministry. Quite the contrary, studying at CCU is the perfect partner with ministry that makes it more alive, and certainly adds depth and value.”
A huge part of Calvary Chapel University’s mission is to help ministry leaders develop their fundamental understanding of God’s Word, give practical ministry advice, and then challenge them to become lifelong learners. The faculty is dedicated to encouraging their students to have a hunger for learning and for growing in God’s Word.
Pastor Don Welch of Calvary Chapel Palm City, FL, stated, “One of the things that I love about CCU is that when I take courses, it forces me to read books I would have never chosen on my own, think about things I may never have considered independently, and learn things I didn’t even realize I needed to know.”
Some pastors and ministry leaders have hesitated to start a degree program after already spending years in the ministry, but CCU’s process is fully designed to help support people who currently minister. Rather than only going back to the basics, each class is intentionally designed to enhance and grow leaders in the ministry they are doing right now.
“CCU has been a wonderful growing experience for me. I have loved being able to take what I’ve learned in the classroom and immediately applying it in the pulpit. I highly recommend CCU to anyone looking to further their education and become more equipped for ministry,” stated Pastor Eric Souza of Reach Jacksonville, FL.
CCU, with the desire to bless those in active ministry and not burden them with the financial impact of higher education, offers a scholarship of up to $12,000 or more to help Christian leaders take the next steps in their educational journey.
Jim Gallagher, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, FL, said, “Attending Calvary Chapel University has been a valuable, exciting, and rewarding venture, and I would encourage others to take the challenge.” He earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies in 2019; his wife, Kristie, earned her M.A. in Biblical Counseling in 2020.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.