Via Institute

FAQs for Via Institute

What is Via Institute?

Via Institute is a ministry of PCC that seeks to provide seminary level classes to our church community.

What courses does Via Institute offer?

Via Institute offers five courses built around a "missional" core concept. By missional we mean that, because of the cross of Christ, our holy triune God has entered our world to make all things new. While he meets us where we are and accepts us as we are because of Christ he also fills us with his Spirit to join him on the journey of "making all things new." What that means for PCC is that we have been called to make disciples [globally and locally] who know his joy and change his world. To get ready for this journey of missional disciple making, Via offers the following courses:
  1. Via101 Missional God (2 credit hours). This course focuses on the great actions of God in history using the creation, fall, redemption, and consummation framework. We explore the centrality of two themes, covenant, and kingdom, in the mission of God. At the end of this course, you will have a better grasp of who God is and how he is at work all around us making things new. 
  2. Via102 Missional Church (2 credit hours). This course traces the journey of the Christian church through history as it spreads globally and seeks to be relevant to the mission of God in the world. Emphasis will be placed on the global expansion of Christianity worldwide in the last two centuries. At the end of this course, you will have a better grasp of the importance of the local church in God's mission, the centrality of evangelism and discipleship in building the church and what kind of church God uses to change his world.
  3. Via103 Missional Lifestyle. What is God's call in your life? How can you integrate your faith with your work? This course equips you to answer those questions. The course looks at 9 different aspects of God's call in our life as well as examining a host of biblical characters and the principles they teach us about faith and work integration. By the end of this course, you should be able to articulate the many dimensions of the call of God in your life and the role of work in faithfully expressing those calls.
  4. Via104 Missional Engagement. Should culture a battleground on which we fight or a garden we seek to cultivate? This course explores the concept of culture care both to reach an unbelieving and resistant world for Christ as well as a part of our Christian discipleship and a path to human flourishing. We look at the person of Christ as the embodiment and source of all truth, goodness, and beauty. We seek to show how to answer the key questions our peers are asking in a way that uses Christ honoring truth, goodness, and beauty. By the end of this course, you will be able to identify the voices of truth, goodness and beauty in your own life and cultural world that you can use to engage a world that is resistant to traditional approaches of evangelism and apologetics but is quite open to the enchantments of the big three of truth, goodness, and beauty.
  5. Via 105 "Teaching to Transform Lives." Has God gifted you to teach adults? Is it time to get ready to use that gift? "Teaching to Transform Lives" tackles how to prepare a lesson, What kind of teacher does God use to transform lives? How to use both inductive Bible study and directed Bible study, How to find the big idea in any biblical passage, and How to teach different biblical genres like wisdom literature, history books, poetry, parables and epistles.  Students will have the opportunity to practice what they learn in discipleship classes. 

Who is teaching these courses?

Via Institute's lead instructor is Mark Shaw. Mark has been on staff at PCC in several capacities such as global ministry pastor, director of Adult Education, Director of Peninsula Fellows and now director of Via Forum (an outreach initiative of PCC that seeks to engage college and post college emerging adults with the truth, goodness, and beauty of the gospel through courses and culture care). Mark received his doctorate from Westminster Seminary, master’s degrees from Edinburgh University and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a BA from Gordon College. Mark and Lois are also primary global partners at PCC continuing to serve as itinerant missionaries at Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya, where they have worked for several decades 

Where are classes held and when are they offered?

For current information about courses and dates, please contact Mark Shaw at

How do I join and how much does it cost?

Applying is easy.
  • Please send an email of application to Mark Shaw indicating your interest in these courses, why you are thinking of taking them and which courses you would like to take. 
  • Students must be an attender or member of PCC or a member of Peninsula Fellows. College degree required for seminary credit.
  • The cost for Auditing each course is $40 plus textbooks.
  • The cost for taking the course for RTS credit is $80 plus textbooks.
  • These fees are payable through the church finance office.

What about grades and exams?

Via's courses are centered on reading, class discussion, and writing. Each course has two required textbooks as well as several recommended texts. Any exams or quizzes are self-grading and are not counted in one's final grade.

Via Institute uses an "A/incomplete" grading scale. What this means is that students who complete their work in a timely and competent fashion will receive an "A" for the course. If the work submitted, however, is below standard, the student may receive an incomplete and be required to amend or redo the assignment. 

Can I get seminary credit from these courses?

Yes, through Reformed Theological Seminary, one of America's premier graduate schools of theology and ministry. Founded in 1966 to serve Christians in the Reformed tradition it now spans nine regional campuses as well as an online global campus. Students who complete the four courses offered by Via Institute are granted advanced standing in any of the three MA programs (Biblical studies, Theological Studies and Religious studies) offered by RTS. All degree requirements can be completed online. Via Institute shares the balanced approach to biblical study indicated by RTS's motto: "A mind for truth, A heart for God." 

What do I get after completing all courses?

Students who complete all courses receive Via Institute's certificate of completion. Those who have taken the courses for credit are encouraged to continue towards either an online certificate or a degree through RTS.

For more information and for copies of the course syllabuses please write to Mark Shaw at