One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Matt Otto’94, MMIN ’21

Not unlike many college graduates, my alma mater holds a special place in my heart. It was the place I met my wife, where I felt God’s call to ministry, and the school my children would also choose to attend and graduate from. Cedarville University has been a tremendously formative part in our family as well as in my spiritual growth and development. For all these contributions, I will always be grateful.

Most recently, I returned to Cedarville University as a graduate student after a little over 25 years of serving in the local church. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in the mid-1990s, I cast myself headlong into youth ministry and discipleship, excited about putting my education into practice. However, as time passed, I became more keenly aware of weaknesses and shortcomings in my ministry that I felt demanded strengthening and refining. In turn, I began to consider options that might help further my education and improve my ability to serve.

Several considerations were crucial in choosing Cedarville University. They took the form of three questions beginning with how, what, and who.


Like most full-time professions, ministry rarely offers lengthy periods of free time. I debated on numerous occasions whether I could successfully balance work and study. In addition, the time to return to school never seemed right or convenient. Yet, I found Cedarville’s online degree flexibility a key component in giving me the courage to finally commit to going back to school. While the coursework was challenging, it was equally rewarding and worth every late evening of reading, studying, and writing.


As a pastor, my desire was to receive training that was highly practical and transferable into a ministry context. Even more important, however, was the centrality of Scripture as the ultimate authority and directive for life and service. Every course, from counseling, to leadership, to teaching and preaching, was filtered through the pages of God’s Word. Furthermore, every course placed the local church at the center of God’s work. There is no question that Cedarville University aims to support and strengthen the local church through its educational platform.


According to Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Relationships are a powerful tool. Surprisingly, one of the most memorable and shaping aspects of the online graduate degree was its relational component. The online MMin community at Cedarville University was made up of a broad spectrum of students: men and women, young and old, professionals and stay-at-home parents, and so on. As a result, the online forums and discussions were filled with lively interaction and constant encouragement. In addition, the faculty was engaging and available. I was known, respected, cared for, and, most importantly, prayed for. Even now, these connections and friendships remain a meaningful part of my life.


Share This Article

Interested in Cedarville?

Request Information

Are You Looking for an Expert?

Cedarville University is known throughout the country for its faculty experts who speak into national and international topics. You can find the expert you are seeking by searching our "Media Experts Guide" for detailed profiles and contact information.

Media Experts Guide »