skip to Main Content

Life, Learning, and Leadership with Derek Zahnd, Ph.D.

For over twenty-years, Derek Zahnd has served as a church-planter in Mexico and a pastor in Sacramento.  His research has focused on Globalization, Ecclesiology, and Leadership.  He brings a vibrant outlook on Christian leadership — in the culture and the church.  Derek spent a few minutes telling us about his journey.  Please welcome him to our Q&A discussion today.

How many years have you taught at Jessup?

1 year

What classes do you teach?

I am the Lead Faculty in the Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) Program. I teach Strategic Leadership Foundations, Leadership: Vocation and Calling, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, and Justice and Mission. I also teach undergraduate leadership courses including Introduction to Leadership and Leading Others.

Briefly describe your path to teaching.

I was a cross-cultural church planter in Mexico for 10 years and then a Sacramento-area pastor for 12 years. I grew up in a family that emphasized education, and I tend to look at life through the lenses of leading and teaching.

How are you successfully transitioning your traditional classes to remote classes during this COVID-19 quarantine period?

My students are bright and flexible. For most, it did not seem to be a major problem to conclude our class through Zoom.

What’s unique about your online teaching style?

There is an English class embedded in each of my classes. I think good writing requires good thinking, so I try to help my students improve as writers.

What do you like most about the online learning mode at Jessup?

That has to be a tie: students and course material.

How can a student get the most out of an online learning experience?

Students who bring their whole selves, who contribute to building a learning community, and who read, write, and ask questions tend to get the most out of our classes.

In addition to teaching at Jessup, do you (did you) have another career?

I am currently the interim pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in Elk Grove, CA.

How are you using your “real-world” experience to help students in your program?

About half of my students serve local churches, so it is natural to talk about my church leadership experience.

How do you integrate faith into an online learning environment?

Our classes assume a Gospel Worldview, which I emphasize in my relationships and teaching

What three people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party?


Winston Churchill

Albert Einstein

For more information about Jessup’s Master of Arts in Leadership program, please visit their program page.

Back To Top