Life Pacific College (LPC), the launch pad for much of Foursquare’s ministry for almost a century, is readying for university status to better position it to prepare graduates for Spirit-led service everywhere from the church to the marketplace.
While maintaining its Pentecostal and Foursquare foundations, Life Pacific University, as the San Dimas, Calif., institution will be known beginning July 2019, will be home to a School of Arts & Sciences as well as a School of Theology & Ministry, with a growing number of degree and major options.
The transformation meets the growing demand for education and equipping that prepares students for Foursquare ministry in traditional settings as well as nontraditional settings, from business to the media.
Since it was founded by Aimee Semple McPherson in 1923, LPC (then called L.I.F.E. Bible College) has sent more than 27,000 two- and four-year graduates into ministry in almost 150 countries. Currently, 700 students are enrolled, around a third of them in nontraditional and distance learning programs designed to help further develop those already active in ministry.
Becoming a university allows LPC to restructure to continue to expand its educational offerings, and is expected to broaden its appeal to more prospective students. At the same time that it adds new areas of emphasis, LPC will retain its spiritual focus, with a continuing priority given to Bible and theological education, and the spiritual development of students.
Announced at Foursquare Connection 2017 in Washington, D.C., in May, LPC’s transition is “much more than a name change,” notes President Jim J. Adams.
“Our transition represents a remarkable milestone in our journey as an institution of biblical higher education now nearing 100 years serving The Foursquare Church,” he says. “I deeply believe our highly focused mission toward the transformational development of students into leaders prepared to serve God in the church, the workplace and the world will be well served by the structural changes attendant to university status.”
Foursquare Education Looks Bright
Since its beginning, The Foursquare Church has been committed to raising up growing, educated leaders. But as times change, so do educational needs. Here we take a look at the different ways Foursquare has equipped ministers and leaders through the years.
ECHO PARK EVANGELISTIC AND MISSIONARY TRAINING INSTITUTE is started by Aimee Semple McPherson, and later renamed L.I.F.E. (Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism), now called Life Pacific College. Graduation from L.I.F.E. was a requirement to become a credentialed minister with Foursquare. The result? A heavy concentration of Foursquare churches in Southern California.
MT. VERNON BIBLE COLLEGE opens in Mount Vernon, Ohio, bringing Foursquare East, and educates many leaders, including President Glenn Burris Jr. The school later relocates to Christiansburg, Va., in 1988 and is called L.I.F.E. BIBLE COLLEGE EAST. Life East later closed in 2003.
In the midst of the JESUS MOVEMENT, The Foursquare Church eliminates the requirement to attend L.I.F.E. in order to be credentialed. Roy Hicks Jr. formalizes INSTITUTES to further emphasize local church discipleship. District licenses begin.
LEADERSHIP ENRICHMENT AND DEVELOPMENT (LEAD) launches under the oversight of Jim Hayford, then Dan Stewart, bringing quality leadership training around the country in seminars attended by credentialed ministers during this time.
IGNITE ACADEMY is launched on the campus of Life Pacific College as a program that focuses on academics, discipleship, community service, leadership training and global mission. In 2011, the program relocates to the original home of Life East in Virginia. Ignite becomes LPC-IGNITE, an accredited extension campus of Life Pacific College.
EMERGING LEADER NETWORK (ELN) is formed to give students out
of high school practical ministry experience. In this network of schools of ministry across the U.S., students are immersed 24/7 in discipleship, ministry training and outreach efforts.
MISSIONAL OBJECTIVES are established with an emphasis on leadership development, church and congregation multiplication, and church transformation. Leadership Education and Training is then formalized under the direction of Lisa Penberthy in 2017.
CANVAS, an online learning platform, launches so that Foursquare credentialed ministers and lay leaders can access training from anywhere. The platform started with core classes on Foursquare polity, church planting and the Bible. Now all 11 Foursquare districts host education. In the past 12 months, 54 courses were offered, which were taken by 892 pastors and leaders.
Life Pacific College will become
LIFE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY in July 2019.