Business joins a world of ministry

New masters program connects business and theology in one degree.


Tim Seeberger/THE CHIMES

Rebecca Mitchell, Writer

To celebrate the start of the new Master of Management, Nonprofit Organizations degree within the Crowell School of Business, staff, students and church leaders gathered for a luncheon on March 29. The new program has paired the business school and the Talbot School of Theology.

A new pairing

The program will include two-thirds business courses and one-third Talbot courses, in addition to two special courses specifically focused on management of nonprofits and a capstone course. Both the dean of the business school Gary Lindblad and the dean of Talbot Clint Arnold want students to bring their passions together to glorify God

“We both really value people who are in business and what they bring to the church, to non-profit organizations and their skillset and their passion for changing the world and using their organizational skills and their business skills for the Lord,” Lindblad said.

To further explain the program, director of strategic initiatives for the Crowell School of Business Robert Harp moderated a Q&A time with Lindblad and Arnold. Lindblad noted the degree includes 35 to 37 units and a way for students to understand the culture and language of business and theology. Arnold also discussed the unique position Biola offers to the program.

“One of the unique characteristics of a place like Biola is you’ve got both of these schools on campus and the exciting thing for us is being able to work collaboratively on this,” Arnold said to the audience. “There’s a unique opportunity here that capitalizes on the strengths in the MBA program and the strengths of Talbot and the degrees that we offer.”

Challenging experience

The program includes two different tracks students can choose from on the theology side, either biblical foundations or spiritual formation. Talbot director of the Institute for Spiritual Formation John Coe remains excited for the challenging experience students will have integrating the topics.

“I’m excited to see… what it would be in [the students’] personal life to learn to walk in the Spirit open to Christ, but then bring that into their jobs so that again learning what would it be to run a business, what would it be to run this non-profit, what would it be to run this church financially but open to the Spirit in this process,” Coe said.

The need for nonprofits

The event also included a message from Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability president Dan Busby on legislation that could affect churches, ministries and nonprofits. One example involves the 1954 Johnson Amendment which limits tax-exempt organizations from supporting or opposing political candidates and parties.

“If today a pastor or religious leader speaks out on a social issue of the day… and one candidate running is in favor of that social issue and the other candidate is against that social issue, speaking out on a social issue by a pastor, imagine it, gives the internal revenue service… the right to monitor the pastor’s speech and determine if the church’s tax exempt status should be revoked,” Busby said to the audience.

Senior business major Jordan Perkins, winner of the Biola Startup Competition whose business includes publishing multicultural stories for children, finds the new program needed for nonprofits.

“I’ve had a couple of years experience working for nonprofits and I’ve definitely seen that there is a big need for understanding solid business principles and that’s actually why I became a business major,” Perkins said.

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