Faculty Mentor Spotlight: Greg Henson

September 4, 2023



We think relationships are an important aspect of education. That’s why we work with mentor teams, cohorts, and partner organizations. To help you get to know the people who are part of the Kairos community, we spotlight partners, faculty, alumni, students, staff, and board members from time to time. Today we are looking at one of our faculty

Name: Greg Henson

Location: Sioux Falls, SD

Role within Kairos: President of Kairos University and Professor of Christian Leadership

Education: Bachelor of Science focused on business and leadership, MBA focused on the relationship between innovation and integrated organizational development, DMin focused on fostering fresh expressions of theological education

Teaching and Research Interests: The connection between theology and organizational practices; innovation and change leadership; organizational development; educational philosophy

How to connect with Greg: ghenson@kairos.edu


We asked Greg a few questions to learn a bit more about him. Here’s what we discovered.

Why are you engaged in the work of theological education?
Discipleship matters. At its core, theological education is an intentional and robust journey of discipleship. That journey must be done in relationship with others, which means the Body of Christ, the church, is also an important part of theological education. I have served in many roles within congregational ministry, from janitor to lead pastor and many roles in between. Theological education is the avenue through which I can bring my passion for the church together with my heart for discipleship and penchant for organizational development. That’s a convoluted way of saying, I’m here because I love the church and I feel theological education is the best way for me participate in the work God is doing in and through the people of God.

When you are teaching or working as a faculty mentor, what kinds of questions lead the way?
I tend to focus on how our theology is played out in our practices. Those could be personal practices, congregational practices, corporate practices, leadership practices, etc. What we believe is most evident in our actions. That’s one of the reasons I love that we focus on content, character, and craft in Kairos. While it is important to have a cognitive understanding of who Jesus is and what God is doing in the world through the power of the Spirit, if that understanding is not having an observable impact on our character and craft, then our practices are not aligned with our theology. What we say is true about the nature of God and how God is at work in the world is most evident in the way we interact with others, lead, engage in worship, develop budgets, spend time with family, etc.

So, when I am teaching and mentoring, I tend to ask questions about what it means to participate in the gospel (1 Cor 9:23). If the kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15), then what does it mean to flourish in our vocations as we follow Jesus into the world? Using the program outcomes or learning experience objectives as a guide, we will explore how our understanding of God’s work in the world is played out in our relationships and practices.

Throughout all of our conversations and the journey we take, I am going to continuously invite the student to take responsibility for her or his learning and growth. I have often said that the single most important objective for a student in Kairos is for her or him to cultivate the ability to discern, develop, and demonstrate proficiency in a given area of interest or vocation. Cultivating that ability is the primary task. The outcomes, learning experiences, and relationships are there to provide opportunities to develop that ability.

What rhythms do you like to follow
Well, if you mean personal rhythms, I like good espresso in the morning, focused-work until around lunch, and then afternoons with meetings (and hopefully some exercise). As for communication rhythms with students I might be mentoring, I like to follow the lead of the students I am working with. I tend to invite them to set the schedule and pace. Generally speaking, I prefer to communicate via email or on Zoom. That is usually because I travel so much, which means in-person meetings can be difficult. Also, if I am 100% transparent, my rhythms in May, June, July and August are a bit different than the rest of the year. During May – August, I am often hosting staff gatherings, leading workshops, or engaging in other activities that reduce the frequency with which I can respond to email.

In my work as a faculty mentor, I have worked with students engaged in pastoral ministry, for-profit businesses, nonprofits, as well as some who were self-employed. I’m probably best at working with students in our bachelor’s and master’s degrees who want to take a creative or alternative approach to their educational journey. In my experience, students thrive when they mix project-based learning (i.e., learning connected to work they are already doing) with intentional exposure to alternative ways of thinking and being (i.e., traditions, experiences, or thought processes that may be very different from what they’re used to). While I could work with doctoral students, I think they are probably better served by some of my colleagues.

When you are not teaching, mentoring, or engaged in some other aspect of your work with Kairos, where might we find you?
I’m probably in one of four “places.” 1) With my family, 2) engaged in ministry, 3) riding a bike, or 4) doing something dangerous/adrenaline inducing. My wife, Heather, and I spend a lot of time with our four kids. We travel together quite a bit as a family and I love finding new ways to go on adventures together. As for ministry, my wife and I serve in various ways with the local church and my wife leads a youth ministry. In the summer, I try to support her ministry by helping with everything from staff training to worship leading and technology. I mentioned riding bikes, which I do enjoy, but that is really just one expression of my last comment – doing something dangerous. I have always been drawn to “adrenaline-inducing” activities. I jokingly say that there is a direct correlation between how dangerous something is and how much fun I think it will be. I was that kid who built bike ramps out of anything he could find, climbed anything he came across, and loved jumping off the roofs of houses. The problem (blessing, maybe?), is that I still find those things to be life giving!

We asked Greg to send us a candid picture of life outside of the classroom. Here’s what he shared with us:

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