Mike SevereProgram Director & Associate Professor of Christian Ministries
MA, Educational Ministries, Wheaton College Graduate School, 2004
BS, Youth Ministries and Bible/Theology, Multnomah Bible College, 1999
AAS requirements completed, Computer Science, Everett Community College, 1995
Why I Came to Taylor
Taylor is a collaborative community seeking to further the kingdom of God. I believe God has called me here to make disciples and train those who wish to use their gifts and engage in ministry. God calls our Christian ministries students to a wide variety of ministry opportunities and it is a privilege and a challenge to help them seek God’s direction and equip them for His work. Taylor supports important research and allows me to make a contribution to our discipline and the entire Kingdom. One of the most important reasons I feel called to Taylor is the students and professors here. Students are passionate, creative, and hard working. My colleagues are gifted teachers, people of integrity and maturity who seek to glorify God in all they do. It is a privilege to serve here amongst God’s people.
How do you Integrate Faith in the Classroom?
All that is true comes from God. These truths, lived, experienced and explored in a holistic liberal arts education can help us better train and grow the body of Christ and to prepare those who will disciple and nurture others. This is one of the main goals of Christian education.
A Christian liberal arts education should stretch the individual in mind, faith and action. While there is pressure to provide a professionally relevant curriculum, Christian liberal arts goes beyond by providing the background for engaging our culture. It is a vital part of using the gifts God has given, stewarding the collected resources of knowledge, inquiry and experience. It is an education for all of life, centered on God’s word and modeled by Christian teachers.
Scholarship should be the pursuit of loving God with our minds. The sciences and the humanities explore God’s world and can help us live according to his plan and design in nature, a life that is full and free under the Lordship of Christ. Christian liberal arts education should help a student develop a worldview by which they will form their life. As they develop their capabilities, character, virtue and mind they can become more like Christ. It is a holistic development that cultivates Christian leaders in homes, churches, missions, workplaces, communities and countries. These leaders are prepared for a life of service in whatever capacity and role they may find themselves.
It is interesting to discuss the integration of biblical faith and the discipline of Christian education. It is never wise to consider integration automatic due simply to the nature of the topic. Integration must be intentional, and even more so with Christian education otherwise we run the risk of compartmentalizing the nurture of the church to a simple academic exercise.
A truly Christian education will be one not only in content but also in form. The process, the people and the pedagogy must coincide with a biblical view of the person. Understanding both the fallen-ness of humanity (Rom 3:23) and being created in the image of God (Gen 1:27, 5:1-2) is vital. The integration of faith and Christian education requires relationship, challenge, guidance, process and example. It is the means by which a person can more fully resemble Christ in this world. Thus the relationships, experience, attitudes, skills and knowledge gained are for the purpose of forming character and virtue in the individual. That individual then is prepared to do the same in their ministry context.
What is your Faith Journey?
Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior when I was five years old and I was baptized several years later in my home church. At the age of twelve I committed my life to the service of God, wherever he would have me work. This came without any discernible prompting from family or church sources. From that point on, Bible reading, worship and communion with God has been part of my daily life and I began developing a great passion for my relationship with God. Church attendance, my parents, mentors and daily reading in the Word helped me to grow in my faith and I begin to share it with others throughout my teen years.
I soon married and moved away to a Christian College, both of which deepened my faith in God and my ability to love people. I no longer only wished to do what Jesus did or think what Jesus thought or know what Jesus knew but to have a relationship with him and portray his love and life to others through me. The practical experience of fulltime ministry, new mentor relationships, readings of the lives of past saints, and challenging intellectual stimulation continued to deepen my knowledge of and love for God and others. Many bouts with pain through family sickness, loss and working in ministry has deepened my dependence and broadened my insight.
Having been in fulltime ministry for well over a decade and now higher Christian education, I have seen Christ step into some of the darkest and humanly impossible situations. He repeatedly reveals his love, power, grace and mercy. The role of helping people live and die well in Christ has been had a profound impact on my faith.
The impact of my faith is holistic in my life and continues to spread. It encompasses my desire to learn, my emotions and my behavior. There is no aspect of my life that is not affected by my faith in God and His work in me. I am striving to give Him greater control over all areas of my life and I hope to live daily Spirit filled and continue to seek His will for my life.
I enjoy playing strategy games with my kids, reading, chess, camping/hiking, and sports. I like to read science fiction, theology, and historical biography. I enjoy listening to various Christian artists like Skillet and David Crowder Band.
Major Career Accomplishments
The Christian Education program is currently working with a grant to form a Student Leadership Institute. We are excited to equip ministries with tools to develop adolescents into ministry competencies. I am currently on the Board of the Association of Youth Ministry Educators, a professional organization that provides, networking, research, a journal and professional opportunities for those in the field of formal youth ministry education.
My Ph.D. Education was earned at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Fall 2008. I have done extensive research into youth ministry, ministry philosophy, evaluation/assessment, spiritual formation, adolescent identity/culture, networking, transformative learning and more. Multnomah Bible College and Seminary asked me to help design their first Graduate program and I consulted with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to reform and re-launch their M.A. in Christian Education. I have developed evaluation tools for networks in the National Network of Youth Ministries and been utilized as a consultant on the national level. I have spearheaded and designed institutional research for academic enhancement and consulted with the ethnic inclusion committee at Toccoa Falls. In 2011 I designed and led a series of professional development seminars for the faculty at Toccoa and participated in a redesign of departmental curriculum across four majors.
I have led seminars, lectures and training in half dozen states and three continents, including both colleges and seminaries. I feel called to a lifetime of youth/family ministry and training and currently have over a decade of professional experience in youth ministry and Christian education.