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New MALTS Grads Reflect on Journeys of Transformation

June 09, 2022
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“I came hoping my work would be transformed, but my whole life was changed as well.”

What do an aircraft engineer, a real estate executive, a parachurch worker, a school principal, and an obstetrician have in common? You can find all of them among the recent graduates of Regent’s Master of Arts in Leadership, Theology and Society (MALTS) program.

The MALTS class of 2022, only the second group to complete the MALTS degree, includes graduates representing six countries and a vast range of vocational contexts. From Spring 2019 to Summer 2021, they journeyed through the program as a sixteen-person cohort, sharing courses, conversation, and fellowship.

Despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic—including the challenge of gathering online despite nineteen-hour time zone differences—the cohort never lost a sense of community. In the words of one graduate, “I am immensely grateful God cleared the path for me to walk into this calling with such amazing people.”

Cohort members chose to enter the MALTS program for a variety of reasons, but many recount a sense of calling to think deeply with others and discover a new way to work in the world.

Dr. Caihua Cao, an aircraft structural analysis engineer, was drawn to study theology and leadership during a season of questioning and introspection.

“Before my fiftieth birthday, I was questioning my life purpose and experiencing an identity crisis. Then I was disturbed by the first 737 MAX crash in October 2018 and the second in March 2019. With a sense of both shame and responsibility, I wanted to become a truly wise leader and help restore engineering excellence in my company.”

For Keith Carson, a businessman from San Diego, California, the MALTS program provided answers to long-simmering questions.

“The questions of my professional life have been, ‘Does the work I do matter to God? How does sales play a part in advancing God’s kingdom in the world?’ For most of my life, I explored the answers to these questions on my own, but I was longing to be around others who were asking the same questions. I was also at a point in my life where the professional I had become was not the professional I wanted to be for the next thirty years. I wanted to work differently. I wanted to understand how my ordinary work in the world mattered to the extraordinary work God was doing in the world. The MALTS program gave me the opportunity to explore the answers to my life’s questions alongside others who were asking the same thing.”

Keith introduced a friend, real estate executive Logan Lee, to the MALTS program. At first, Logan was less than enthusiastic. He described his initial reaction candidly: “I felt an unshakeable calling from the Lord to enter the program, but out of fear I made many excuses and attempts to avoid attending.”

Eventually, however, Logan joined his friend Keith in the MALTS program. The experience changed both of their lives.

“It was transformational,” Logan said. “I cannot ‘unsee’ what God has revealed to me through the gifted professors, friends, and visionaries at Regent.”

Keith shared Logan’s sense of renewed vision. “The MALTS program gave me eyes to see Christ in everything. I have a better understanding of how our beliefs about God, our view of people, and our understanding of the purpose and potential of creation shape the work we do in the world. I have started my own company out of a desire to see sales done differently—to reframe, reimagine, redeem the relationship between the buyer and the seller.”

Caihua also felt transformed by her MALTS experience. “Joining the MALTS program has been the most revolutionary moment in my life so far. I was so narrow, shallow, and hollow in my first fifty years. This program has expanded and deepened my knowledge of God, myself, people, and the world. I now realize God placed me in my current role for His almighty purpose.”

Logan, Caihua, and Keith share a deep gratitude for the way God worked in their lives through the MALTS program. In Keith’s words, “I came hoping that my work would be transformed, but my whole life was changed as well. I have become a better husband, father, son, employee, employer, citizen—the list goes on and on. I see everything differently.”

About the MALTS Program

Launched in Fall 2017, the Master of Arts in Leadership, Theology & Society is a unique program designed for working professionals looking to think deeply and practically about how their faith can speak to their vocational experiences and aspirations. Offered in a low-residency, cohort-based format, the MALTS program allows students to learn in close community with others while immediately applying their learning within their own contexts.

As the MALTS program enters its fourth year, Regent is deeply grateful for the incredible generosity that helped the program get off the ground and continues to ensure its sustainability. Initially funded by a very generous gift from a Singapore-based donor with deep ties to the MALTS program, the program continues to benefit from an endowment gift to the Deep Roots Wide Reach Campaign from the same donor. The stories of recent MALTS graduates testify to the impact of this investment.

Applications for next year’s MALTS cohort (running from Spring 2023 to Summer 2025) will open on September 16, 2022. Visit the MALTS program page for more details about this unique graduate degree.

For a faculty perspective on theology, work, and leadership, take a look at this recent interview with MALTS program director Dr. David Robinson.

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