About Us

A welcome from the director

Choosing a school of theology goes beyond a particular degree you can obtain.  It’s about the personal journey you take as you study Scripture, church history, Christian thought and personal formation. At the Hazelip School of Theology, you will explore important subjects in our discipline while learning how it affects the pursuit of ministry in all its forms. Come here to gain a deeper understanding of theological discourse and grow as a Kingdom witness wherever you may find yourself. As one of only a handful of ATS-accredited graduate schools in the region, Hazelip offers the academic rigor you would expect as well as an integrated approach to learning that will enrich your faith.

Dr. Frank Guertin
Director, Hazelip School of Theology

Key things to know about Lipscomb’s Hazelip School of Theology

  • Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools
  • Offers the Master of Christian Ministry (M.A.C.M.) Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.)
  • Taught by faculty with life experience in congregational ministry
  • Online and alterative class formats that fit busy lifestyles
  • Faith-affirming learning that engages the important questions of contemporary society

Our Mission

The mission of the Hazelip School of Theology is to support learning that integrates intellectual formation, pastoral leadership, and character development. We believe these three areas must interact richly in the seminary experience so that our students are well prepared to live out their calling in whatever context they serve.

In light of this vision, the seminary experience at Hazelip focuses on these student-centered outcomes:

  • A robust theological imagination rooted deeply in Scripture and shaped by the broad Christian tradition
  • Formational habits that support a life of ministry
  • Organization-building skills sustained by Christian understandings of leadership
  • Relationship-building skills that nurture forms of authentic community
  • Reflective habits which illuminate the complexities of people-centered ministry

No matter what degree program students pursue at Hazelip, they can expect to grow in these abilities. The integrity of our academic offerings is measured by how prepared our students are for the challenges of today's ministry.

Hazelip instructors take advantage of multiple venues for learning. Students engage in traditional classroom settings, online platforms, and on-site contexts so that they can practically and creatively engage the complex realities of Christian ministry. Students at Hazelip benefit from formative conversations with spiritual directors, coaches, and ministry mentors alongside teaching faculty.

The first graduate Bible degree at Lipscomb was offered in 1983. In 2005, the university named the graduate theology department in honor of former Lipscomb President Harold Hazelip. In 2010, the school was admitted into the Association of Theological Schools as a full member.  

The Churches of Christ continue to be a primary constituency for the Hazelip School of Theology. About half of our students come from this heritage. The students at Hazelip also represent a broader range of Christian traditions which reflects the Christian diversity in Middle Tennessee. Thus our key theological commitments reflect an awareness of our own history as well as other voices within our learning community.

Six core commitments shape all we do:

We are centered on the mission of God.

The Bible reveals the mission of God to bring all things in heaven and earth into unity under Christ, reconciling them through his incarnation, earthly ministry, death on the cross, and resurrection. God is transforming the creation broken by sin and evil into the new creation in which there is no more sin or curse. The Father is the great initiator, sender, and goal of the mission. The Son is the redemptive embodiment of God's mission. And the Holy Spirit is the empowering presence of God as this mission unfolds in the world. The church's mission on earth is to serve the mission of God; and the mission of theological education is to equip men and women for the mission of the church.

We are focused on formation in Christ.

We understand the Christian life to entail following the risen Christ, in the power of the Spirit, to the praise and glory of God the Father. Spiritual formation is our steady response to God's grace shaping us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, in the community of faith, for the sake of the world. We seek to integrate this formation throughout our curriculum.

We are grounded in Scripture.

We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness, and authority of Old and New Testament Scriptures as the Word of God, spoken and composed through human authors in their own cultural settings. We believe that the Holy Spirit works through and quickens these words, making Scripture a living and powerful word.

We are committed to the broad and deep center of the Christian faith.

We declare our belief in and commitment to the unifying core of beliefs insisted upon by the majority of the early church fathers and reaffirmed by the central tradition of the faith over the centuries. We affirm this common consensus as it is found in the Apostles Creed.

We are passionate about the gospel.

The core of our identity is our passion for the good news of the saving work of God through Jesus Christ. The gospel is the announcement that God, through Jesus' birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and enthronement, is overcoming all the powers of this world in order to establish fully God's rule of justice and peace "on earth as in heaven."

We support those called to ministry.

We believe that the community of faith-the church-is the central means of carrying out God's mission in the world. In these communities all are called to be ministers. As we follow Jesus into the water of baptism, so we take up the ministry of Jesus as communities of faith. Within these communities some are gifted as equipping ministers, empowering the church to live out the "fullness of Christ." We are committed to equipping such leaders for God's mission.

We are engaged with culture.

Wherever the gospel is proclaimed and people experience conversion, the way of Christ gets "translated" into new cultures. The North American culture in which we live is postmodern, post-denominational, and increasingly post-Christian. It presents new and sharp challenges, and we seek to engage it with cross-cultural sensitivity as we learn to think and act like missionaries.


On campus - Ezell 224

Dr. Frank Guertin
Assistant Dean
Director, Hazelip School of Theology

Kathy Bickel
Administrative Assistant

Kellye McCool
Coordinator of Student Services


The Hazelip School of Theology at Lipscomb University is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved:

Master of Divinity
Master of Theological Studies
Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
Doctor of Ministry

The Commission contact information is:

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
in the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275 USA

Telephone: 412.788.6505
Fax:  412.788.6510

Website:  www.ats.edu

Statement of Educational Effectiveness

The Hazelip School of Theology is pleased to share educational effectiveness as it carries out its mission “to prepare followers of Jesus for leadership and service in God’s kingdom, especially the church, by providing education in Scripture, theology and history, global contextualization, and ministry skills in the framework of faith in God and formation by the Spirit.” Evidence of this success is demonstrated by student responses in surveys and academic testing processes which measure knowledge, personal growth, and mastery of clinical skills required by present day ministerial leadership and service professionals. 

The following results are based on information provided by 2014-2017 graduates of the Hazelip School of Theology. This self-reported assessment of a completed program’s ability to address various areas in the student’s life and vocation are evaluated on a numeric scale from one to five, where one indicates a program was “not effective at all” and five indicates a program was “very effective.”  The chart below shows key areas of response and their average rating on that scale.

Ability to pray
Trust in God
Respect for other religious traditions
Stronger respect for own tradition
Ability to use Scripture
Give spiritual guidance
Teach well
Knowledge of church doctrine
Think theologically
Relate to social issues
Knowledge of Christian philosophy
Lead others

Direct measures over the past two years (2015-16, 2016-17) have yielded similar results. Based on comprehensive exams and major projects (research, sermons, presentations), 93% of students scored “very good” or “excellent” in ability to interpret the Bible. Likewise, 89% have demonstrated a very good or excellent knowledge of Christian history and theology. Additionally, 86% exhibited a very good or excellent capacity for ministerial or public leadership. 

For additional information on Lipscomb University's institutional effectiveness, visit https://www.lipscomb.edu/information.