John Lillis has been Provost at Grace College and Seminary since 2014, as well as a Senior Associate and founding member of the Global Associates for Transformational Education (GATE). In that time, John, along with consultant Dr. Leland Eliason, has led in the effort to “re-imagine” seminary education at Grace Theological Seminary. Grace’s new Competency-Based Theological Education (CBTE) program, called Deploy, is conducted completely in the student’s ministry context, utilizing mentors within that context. John also serves on the ATS CBTE peer group, which has been focused on developing best practices for CBTE programs.
John came to faith in Christ in his early twenties while serving as a research physicist for the U.S. Air Force. His subsequent call to ministry led him to seminary, into overseas missions, and to leadership within Christian higher education. From 1982 to 1990, he lived in Southeast Asia serving as the Asia Director of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary’s Southeast Asia Extension Program (later re-named Asia Biblical Theological Seminary of Cornerstone University). He then spent 11 years at Cornerstone University, eventually as Provost and Executive Vice-President, and taught Christian education and spiritual formation. From 2001 to 2014, he served as Executive Officer/Dean of Bethel Seminary San Diego.