Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) was a distinguished German religious reformer. Born with privilege into an Austrian noble family, he is lauded for using his personal resources in the service of missions. Zinzendorf sought to bring a spiritual awakening to the church by funding and organizing communities of believers that are now known as the Moravian Church.
Having served as both a bishop and a missionary, Zinzendorf, lived a life of preaching and church-planting. Olivet University strives to honor that vision through the Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies.
The Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies is the advanced ministry education arm of Olivet University. The name we chose evokes the heart of Olivet’s mission. Our goal is to help further equip mature Christian leaders as they seek to expand and strengthen the church of God globally.
Count Zinzendorf is our historical model. He was a father of the Moravian Brethren, a 17th century Pietist movement that was in turn based on a 15th century reformation in Bohemia. Moravians added missions to the heart of the Evangelical theology recovered during the 16th century Protestant Reformation. It was through contact with the Moravians that John Wesley was transformed to become a leader in the Evangelical revivals of his time in Europe and North America.
Moravians defined four essential values for global ministry which Olivet and the Zinzendorf school share: (1) Commitment to personal transformation by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2) Commitment to Christian community, demonstrated in worship, prayer, and the sharing of resources. (3) Commitment to serving the Great Commission by bringing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ to the nations through evangelism, church planting, and social transformation. (4) Commitment to the shared beliefs of the Evangelical movement rather than the distinctives of the various Protestant confessions. This is indicated by our statement of faith being that of the World Evangelical Alliance, of which Olivet is a supporting member.
From their base at the count’s estate in Germany, (“Herrnhut,” meaning “the Lord’s protection,”) Moravians carried the gospel to every continent while surrounding the enterprise with concerted prayer. God’s formula for successful mission was linked with Evangelical theology and vibrant spirituality. This is the tradition we seek to uphold as we help educate a new generation from among all nations of the world. The goal for us is to increase your God-given abilities to be of even better service for the Church of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Olivet University dedicated to training ministry-bound men and women as biblical scholars and leaders, and to equipping them with the practical skills to preach the Gospel effectively into and after the ‘network generation’ – thus priming them to revolutionize the world through Christian mission.
Our vision is born of God’s enduring hope for a world that is “full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). The fulfillment of this vision inspires, orients, and defines the work of this institution.