Grace Theological Seminary is devoted to equipping new and seasoned pastors alike. Dr. Rock LaGioia, professor of pastoral studies and director of doctoral programs at Grace, has been committed to partnering with Grace in this mission for eleven years. Dr. LaGioia enjoys investing in the futures of the students and desires to have seminary programs that will truly prepare them for a future serving the Lord.
Who is Dr. LaGioia and how did he end up at Grace College? Continue reading to learn these answers and more!
How did you become a Christian?
I started listening to Christian preachers on the radio. After a few months of listening, I purchased my first Bible and began reading John’s Gospel. Under conviction, I asked Christ to forgive and save me from my sins. He did! He also gave me a clear sense of purpose, peace, and abundant joy!
Tell us about your family.
Kathy and I have been married for 36 years. We are now happy grandparents who are enjoying Ezra, our new grandson. Ezra’s dad is Mike, our oldest son, who is a worship leader, and his wife Amy sings on the worship team. Our other son, Andrew, is an accountant and musician. Both Mike and Andrew are Grace alumni.
How have you seen your passion for training church leaders develop?
When I was a young man training for ministry, I was blessed to have a number of pastors invest in my future by providing an opportunity for me to serve as a pastoral intern. I acquired pastoral ministry skills and ministry competency through supervised “hands on” experience. While serving in pastoral ministry, I have enjoyed supervising young interns who were preparing for vocational ministry. My passion for training future church leaders was stoked even further when I transitioned into teaching. Today, in addition to training young aspiring pastors, I am blessed with the holy privilege of training seasoned pastors who are enrolled in doctoral programs at Grace Theological Seminary.
What is your favorite part about teaching college students?
What is not to like about teaching bright, enthusiastic, teachable college students who still have most of their lives ahead of them? Of the many things I enjoy, my favorite part of teaching college students is when I see students experience a “starburst” learning moment. Sometimes, the joy of discovery is evident in a student’s countenance. The eager and thoughtful questions during and after class are what keep me motivated as an educator.
How did you become a faculty member at Grace?
I met Dr. Katip for the first time when our oldest son was applying for a Presidential Scholarship. In the course of our conversation, we discussed an open position in the School of Ministry Studies. Sometime later, I was contacted by the search committee and went through the interview process. After being invited on campus to teach, I was offered the position. Eleven years later, I am still extremely grateful to God for His kindness!
You’ve taught at many churches in the area. What do you enjoy most about preaching?
The purpose of all preaching is to bring about a personal encounter between the God of the Word and the hearer of the Word. Preaching is God’s primary and unique means by which His Word is brought effectively to people. There are no words to describe the exhilaration I experience when delivering a sermon. The freshness and immediacy of each preaching event coupled with the Spirit’s empowerment is enthralling. That said, what I enjoy most about preaching is its transformational effect upon the listener.
What are you most looking forward to currently, in or outside of the seminary?
Dr. Cardoza and I have invested approximately two years praying, thinking, researching, dreaming, brainstorming, and planning in an effort to reconfigure and revitalize our doctoral programs. This rigorous process has resulted in two high-quality doctoral programs designed to increase professional competence and overall effectiveness in ministry. Since the rollout of both programs, student enrollment has risen significantly. We plan to add even more enhancements in the near future. I am looking forward to the continued growth of our doctoral programs and an ever-widening ministry impact as God works through our students in their ministry context.
Do you want to be taught by professors who are committed to preparing you for a successful career in ministry? Explore our program and delivery options here to find the right fit for you.
Rock LaGioia, Professor of Pastoral Studies, is passionate about building up the body of Christ by training the next generation of effective church leaders. Rock has many years of pastoral experience and enjoys preaching and teaching sound doctrine regularly at worship services, conferences, and seminars.