Spotlight Series: Dr. Joe Slunaker

January 31, 2022 - By Lauren Rios

At CBU Online, we strive to help our students live their purpose by offering a Christ – centered educational experience. Academics are seamlessly integrated with spiritual learning opportunities that prepare our students to enter the world and help them face today’s challenges.

Whether you are taking Christian Studies courses, studying English, psychology, or anything in between, faith is at the forefront at CBU Online. 

Dr. Joe Slunaker, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, has taught with CBU Online for the last 11 years, but his road to teaching was filled with putting faith first as he gave up one passion to pursue God’s plan for his life.

Due to unforeseen events that happened within his church, at age 18 he was asked to step into a role of ministry. “One day it was a total transformation of my entire trajectory. I just promised the Lord, I will sacrifice whatever it takes to live the purpose you have set out before me; my life is not my own,” said Dr. Slunaker. “So I gave up all of my previous college aspirations, and decided to dedicate myself to serving the people of God.”

After preaching at such a young age, Dr. Slunaker began studying Christian Ministries at CBU. His mentors and professors during his studies became his colleagues, and he went on to study the Old Testament for his doctoral program at Gateway Theological Seminary.

“Learning the Old Testament was foreign and fascinating. The more I poured into it, the more I realized how powerful this message was and it tied together the whole story of the Bible and sets up who Jesus is,” said. Dr. Slunaker. “In order to get the full impact of Jesus as a person, you need the Old Testament foundation and that inspired in me a love for this book.”

In addition to teaching at CBU Online, Dr. Slunaker serves as the Interim Senior Pastor at Knott Avenue Church in Anaheim, California. When asked about his perspective on his current ministry, he discusses how Paul asked many times in 2 Corinthians “Who is sufficient for these things?”

“I asked myself that question about my own ministry, ‘how is it that I am sufficient for these things’ and my conclusion is that I’m not,” said. Dr. Slunaker. “It’s only by God’s grace and the long legacy of Him using unlikely people to accomplish extraordinary things that I even have a chance. I feel like I get to live this double edged sword, which is really all I want to do with my life; serve the local church and serve CBU.”

Learning in an asynchronous environment can leave students yearning for community. Dr. Slunaker prays for his students daily, and implements a “go and serve” assignment for students to begin serving in a vocational ministry setting. Even amidst busy schedules, Dr. Slunaker encourages his students to actively serve wherever they are currently at, and share the word of God with others.

“It doesn’t necessarily matter where the community is, but establishing a community and using their education to serve people is an important part of the process,” said Dr. Slunaker. “Don't just learn in isolation, use what you're learning to invest in others who don't have this opportunity.”

If you are interested in pursuing a degree in Christian Studies with CBU Online, click this link to learn more about how you can get started on your academic journey today.