Study business or ministry? This 2022 Baylor MDiv/MBA grad answered, ‘Both.’
Before Connor Griffin (BBA ’18, MBA/MDiv ’22) could drive a car, he had already started a business. He and his brother would push a lawnmower around their neighborhood, earning money by caring for nearby yards. As the son of small business owner, he had entrepreneurship in his blood — but he also felt a call to ministry.
“Some people told me that I had to go to seminary, while others said, ‘Go to business school, and you can minister to people there,'” Griffin remembers. “I realized that at Baylor, I had the unique opportunity to not just think about business and ministry separately, but could integrate the two.”
A Waco native whose father also attended Baylor, Griffin pursued a degree in accounting while joining the staff of his home church, First Baptist Church Hewitt. There, he served in young adult ministry while also performing administration and finance duties for the church. He also worked for a private neurological group in Waco.
As graduation approached, he learned about Truett Seminary’s joint degree programs — specifically, the joint Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration (MDiv/MBA) program. The idea of studying both business and religion appealed to Griffin, and so he continued his studies at Baylor — spending three years in seminary, and then a fourth to receive his MBA.
In that context, his professors encouraged his dual passions and educated him in the “theology of work.” In other words, he says, “When I got my MBA, I didn’t have to turn off what I learned in seminary.”
As Griffin prepares to graduate this weekend, he will continue in a bi-vocational role, serving as pastor at Ecclesia Community Church in Waco while also working for his family business, Ultraclean Janitorial Services. As he works to grow a church replant, he sees a greater need for bi-vocational leaders in a world while most churches are small — often 60 members or less.
“I think there is a growing need for passionate and talented businessmen and businesswomen to step into leadership in the local church and to leverage their abilities for the sake of the kingdom,” he explains. “What would it look like if managers were pastors, and leveraged the income they have from full-time positions for the sake of the local church? That alleviates some of the pressure points for churches that can’t afford full-time staff people, but that need the training of an MDiv student, with people who can serve.”
Sic ’em, Connor!