Founders’ Vision

Shiloh University was founded by Gary and Marilyn Hargrave in 2006. This momentous event was the culmination of decades of seeking the Lord to see the Shiloh church in Kalona, Iowa become the university of biblical studies that Shiloh’s founder, John Robert Stevens, had envisioned.

John Robert Stevens founded the Shiloh Church in Kalona, Iowa, as a training ground for men and women of God. Here Stevens provided teaching, training, and mentoring for the maturing of believers into their ministries in the Body of Christ. The training of a minister included instruction in the Scriptures and the apostolic Living Word, as well as apprenticeship in the ways of God.

Stevens was succeeded by Gary Hargrave who, over the course of his thirty years as an ordained minister, has continued Stevens’ legacy of teaching and training to see every believer matured “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Marilyn Hargrave also had a deep love of learning and teaching and was determined to see each new generation taught in the ways of the Lord. Shiloh University is an expression of these passions.

Gary and Marilyn recognized that an online university would be the best expression of their desire to see pastors truly prepared for the ministry. Traditional seminaries and Bible schools have historically required young men and women to leave their places of ministry in order to earn a degree. This old paradigm of ministerial training has left churches without the vibrant hunger that these young men and women provide. It has also in many cases removed these hungry hearts from the mentoring and hands-on experience they were receiving in the field. In contrast to the scriptural pattern of ministry training found in the apostle Paul, who mentored his spiritual son Timothy, the current process has been detrimental to the holistic preparation necessary for pastoral success. The founders’ vision for the University was born out of their years of training and mentorship under John Robert Stevens. Therefore, Shiloh University seeks to bring the principles of mentoring into an online expression.

Gary Hargrave, University Chancellor, has been intimately involved in the formation of its biblically-based curriculum. He has also participated in the selection of credentialed administrators, professors, and qualified board members; bringing together men and women of integrity who have a deep love for God and His Word, and a drive to provide quality education that helps equip God’s leaders in this and future generations.

Honoring Marilyn Hargrave, Co-Founder of Shiloh University

As the co-founder of Shiloh University, Marilyn Hargrave shaped the worldview of the University’s approach to Christian education. Marilyn believed that education should be accessible and inclusive, and that everyone should be provided the opportunity to learn. She promoted a vision for a welcoming
learning environment built on God’s principles of love, edification, and encouragement.

As a spiritual and natural mother, Marilyn was burdened for all of God’s children to learn to apply God’s Word in their daily lives. And she saw the University as a practical avenue for the preservation and application of the Word of God in this generation.

For Marilyn, every subject, from theology to math or literature, had to be filled with the anointing of the Lord. She was determined that the school be run by faculty and staff called by God, and considered an individual’s love for God and love for others to be as important as their professional qualifications.

For decades prior to the founding of the University, Marilyn also oversaw Living Word Publications, the publishing house for The Living Word Fellowship. Many of the messages she helped formulate and publish became foundational curriculum for some of the University’s ministry practice courses.

We deeply honor Marilyn Hargrave’s legacy at Shiloh University. We would not be where we are today without her passion for the Word of God, her commitment to share that Word, and her work to make that Word accessible to God’s people everywhere.