My name is Bob Clanton. March 2019 marked 35 years that I pastored New Life Community Church of Monroe, Louisiana. It was a fantastic and fruitful time. With great emotion, as 2019 ended, I began a new era. It was time for me to take my “next steps.” New Life moved up by entering a relationship with a mega–church system in Louisiana, and my wife Martha and I moved up by relocating to North Carolina. We moved to be closer to Grace College of Divinity (now Manna University) and to serve in ministry at Manna Church –Capital Area in the Raleigh, North Carolina vicinity. I am excited about devoting myself in service to Manna and Manna University. A bit more history: I was originally ordained in 1970 in the Southern Baptist Convention and pastored my first church at the tender age of 19 (not an idea I recommend). As I became involved in the burgeoning charismatic outpouring of the 1970’s, I began ministering in a variety of settings including a season as interim pastor in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Monroe Louisiana. After obtaining my Master of Divinity degree in California, I pastored a nondenominational church in Princeton, West Virginia from 1977 to 1980. Moving back to Louisiana in early 1980, we planted New Life Community Church in March of 1984.

Education: I received my Bachelor of Arts in 1973 from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe). Then, I received my Master of Divinity from Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, California in 1977. In 2011, I receivedmy Doctor of Ministry Degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

Family: My wife Martha and I were married in 1972 (June 3 of 2022 we celebrated 50 years of marriage!). We have three grown daughters and three wonderful grandchildren.Ministry Engagement: Alongside workingwith Manna –Capital Area and Manna University, I have been active for years in mission’sendeavors in several nations. I am author of a short book entitled Empowered: Discovering the Power of the Holy Spirit, and I maintain a blog at

Next STeps

Congratulations on your acceptance to Manna University! We are so excited to have you with us as a new student. Your next step in this process is to get you enrolled in orientation. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, orientation is mandatory for all newly accepted students. This course is self-paced and 8 weeks long. Orientation should be completed as quickly as possible in order to get you prepared for your upcoming semester.

You can enroll for orientation the same semester you begin your normal classes. This course in Populi will be open a little earlier than your other courses to allow you to get a jump start. For those of you who use FAFSA or VA benefits, don’t worry, orientation will be financially covered just as any of your other classes would be. If you are not already registered for orientation and you would like some assistance, please email or contact your advisor.

MDiv Tips & Tricks

Welcome to graduate school! Here are some tips or hacks that will help you succeed at this level:
  • Read and write like a researcher

    Take a large amount of information and distill it into a concise and clear presentation of that information. If you are in love with reading every single word in every single required book, you may have a hard time with this. Read strategically. Read as fast as you can while still maintaining comprehension. You can practice some of this, pull out a timer, pull out any book, read as fast as you can out loud and then close the book, say out loud, here’s what the page just said. Then practice again, but read faster, but don’t read it out loud, read it internally, do that same exercise and see how long it took you to read that page with a timer. Once you do that you will get an idea of what your pace of reading is like, and this will help you read for comprehension instead of just to ingest content. Start with the table of contents–know where the book is going; follow the map. Get the heart behind the paragraphs–the first and last sentence of every paragraph contains the heart of what is in there. When in doubt, or when needed, you can read the first and last sentence of each paragraph and get the general idea of what that page is saying. You won’t get the in-depth knowledge. This is not recommended for every single course and every single textbook, but this is a way to take in large amounts of information at a time and still be able to make sense of it. The good news is, you can always go back once you’ve completed your assignments and do some deeper reading.

  • Write with precision and clarity

    Use apps like Grammarly, subscribed to some services like Mendeley (this will help you organize your articles). When you write you want to be clear, you want to be academic in your prose, and you want to become a master in the style guide of your discipline. If you’re in the MACL program, the APA manual is going to determine how you structure papers and what those papers should sound like. When I say master, I don’t just mean the ability to cite sources, I mean your prose. What should this actually sound like when I’m writing? One of the best ways to learn how to write like a graduate student is to read graduate level research. Read peer-reviewed articles, read high-end trade articles, read scholarly books and in doing so you will adopt the tone of a graduate student.

  • Manage your time

    Create a time budget; if you don’t tell where your time to go, it’s going to get up and leave. Graduate school is intensive, it involves a lot of time and reading, writing, and research. Start with a budget. Block off your time during the day that you have your most energy. Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, whatever it is, find out when you are your most productive, when your brain is most active, that’s when you need to focus as much as you can on your schoolwork.

  • Lead yourself

    At the end of the day, you chose to be in this program, you chose to step into this. As you are learning how to lead others, I encourage you to lead yourself. We are better together so you have to have communication with your professors, you have to be engaged and involved with your coursework, you have to have a sense of humility that at this level of education, what I have done before may have gotten me here, but now I have a brand-new slate. I encourage you to be poor in spirit, be humble and take advantage of all the great information that you are going to learn at the graduate level.