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Why a "School of Leadership?"

South Carolina School of Leadership was birthed out of the discipleship based foundation of Master Commissions. According to statistics, 88% of youth raised in church abandon their faith during college. SCSL provides an environment in which students can pursue God like they have never pursued him before. It allows students the chance to solidify their relationship with the Lord, develop spiritual disciplines necessary for a successful Christian walk, and establish a Biblical worldview.

At SCSL, students have an opportunity to learn and develop leadership skills, confrontational skills, communication skills, and work skills. The character of each student will be refined through their interactions, their responsibilities, and their ministries. As a result, the students end the year with a newfound confidence in the Lord and themselves. Many of them will find the courage to pursue personal dreams and aspirations like never before.

South Carolina School of Leadership also gives students an opportunity to discover the destiny that God has for their lives. We truly believe that destinies are discovered, not decided. During the first few years of college, majors are often changed at least once or twice. Sometimes students never fully realize their life's passion until they graduate from college. As students pursue God at SCSL, it allows God the opportunity to reveal His destiny and dreams to the student. Students are taught spiritual truths and disciplines that well help them to discover their personal, God-given destiny.

Taking a Gap Year

Some people may think taking nine months to attend SCSL will cause them to fall behind. We think just the opposite! During SCSL, students will be taught spiritual disciplines, responsibility, life skills, and be equipped with leadership skills that will give them a distinct advantage.

As students grow in their relationship with God, they better understand themselves and become more focused in their vocational pursuit. For some, this will save the expense of changing majors several times once they attend college. This can also result in better grades as students begin to pursue their God-given passion. 

We encourage you to read the following “gap year” articles. We believe that students who choose to take a “gap year” at SCSL will become more mature spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. SCSL is an incredible opportunity for all students, especially for those who are at a place of transition. Students have the chance to better understand themselves, meet others from across the nation, travel, and grow in Christ.


SCSL Advantage

SCSL Advantage


At SCSL we don’t just talk family—we live it out. SCSL is a place for you to experience a brotherhood and sisterhood like you have never experienced before. Our strong sense of family is the result of the director and staff’s heart and commitment to family. Family is not something you are born into; it is something you fight to create.

Student Life  

Student life events are where it is at in the SCSL world. We desire to give you an opportunity to form meaningful life long friendships. People plan for what is priority, and at SCSL we plan for student life events so we can create lasting memories.

Academic Focus

Throughout the course of nine months you will have upwards of 20 different pastors and marketplace professionals pouring into your life. We are fortunate to be on the receiving end of so much wisdom and knowledge. Our senior pastor and many of the pastoral staff will instruct classes and sow into the students lives. It is our desire that the ceiling of those who have gone before you will be your floor.

Part-Time Jobs

Every student has the option of working a part-time job while at SCSL. Time is scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and all day on Fridays and Saturdays to work. This will give you the chance to earn money for gas, food, and tuition. More than that, you have an opportunity to be a witness throughout the community as you live out the truths you are taught at SCSL.

Christian Life Church

The pastoral and church staff along with the Christian Life church family are absolutely incredible. They will be a wonderful support to you during your SCSL experience. Due to the incredible ministry and friendliness of Christian Life, we have had many parents of SCSL students comment on their desire to move to the Columbia area.

Ministry Diversity  

Although SCSL is not the infrastructure of any one ministry at Christian Life, students have an opportunity to choose from one of eighteen areas in which to serve. Some of the areas include children’s ministry, youth ministry, multimedia, choir, worship and childcare. You will find it a joy to participate in the exciting ministry of Christian Life.

Apartment Life

Apartment life is vauluble in creating a culutre of family. Memories are made on a daily basis with other students from across the nation. Special apartment family nights are planned throughout the year, which give you an opportunity to relax and share heart with those you’ll grow closest to. It’s an incredible home away from home.




Who can become a part of the SCSL family?

Any student who desires to lay a solid Biblical Worldview foundation that will help them succeed at home, in the church, and in the marketplace should attend SCSL.  First year students are equipped for life, second year students are equipped for leadership, and third year students are equipped for vocational ministry (Youth, Children’s, Worship, and Missions). 

What are the prerequisites before joining the family?

• Students must have graduated from high school or obtained their GED; most of our students range in age from 18 to 25.

• Students must desire to establish their identities in Christ, process their pasts, develop Godly character, learn life and leadership skills, acquire a vision for man/womanhood, and lay a solid Biblical Worldview for their lives.

• Students must desire to engage in a culture that focuses on walking in honor and integrity and being people who are passionate for God, humble, and servant-hearted.

• Students must have a financial plan and the means to pay for their tuition.

What can I expect during a typical week at SCSL?

Every day begins with morning prayer. Different classes ranging from Scripture Studies, Christian Life & Ministry, Biblical Studies, Life Lessons, and UpClose mentoring are held throughout the week. Optional courses, such as SC District School of Ministry (DSOM) and Global University (GU) are also available. Other weekly events such as student-led devotions, AC families, community outreach, Cymbrogi discipleship, church ministry, student life, & even optional part-time jobs also make up the SCSL schedule.

What are some of the academic courses available at SCSL?

SCSL offers a curriculum that is aimed at equipping our students to further understand and practically engage in  life through a biblical worldview.

In Biblical Studies courses, students gain the knowledge of the practical application of biblical truths. So, whether a career in vocational ministry or the secular marketplace is their ultimate goal, students are taught how to fully walk out their Christianity. Classes include: Conflict Resolution, Relational Integrity, and Forming Biblical Convictions.

Through Christian Life & Ministry 101, students gain an intimate knowledge of their faith through experienced ministers and pastors. Students are grafted into the wealth of theological doctrine to set a strong foundation for their Christian belief. Classes include: Church History, Systematic Theology, and Old & New Testament Survey.

Life Lesson courses are all about the skills required for entering into adulthood. Where in a traditional college students are left on their own to figure out important life skills, our students are guided by skilled professionals in order to excel. Classes include: Public Speaking, Time Management, and Budgeting

Insights Groups are in depth study groups on topical subjects. Each group focuses on a book or sermon series and dives in through discussions. Classes include: Co-Dependency, Addictions, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, Captivated and Wild at Heart.

Cymbrogi (Biblical Man/Womanhood)

• Acquiring a Vision for Life

• The measure of a Man/Woman

• Overcoming the Father Wound/Overly Bonded Mother

What ministry opportunities can SCSL offer?

Students will have the opportunity to work with several ministries including youth, children, worship, special needs, missions, school campus ministry, media/audio experience, and more through weekly community outreaches and ministry teams.

How much does SCSL cost?

$3650 tuition

$3500  housing

+   $650 events

  $7350   Total Cost*

* There are additional costs associated with college credits and credentialing.  Please see DSOM or GU Fact Sheets for more information on specific cost breakdowns. 

Every student is required to attend one mission trip during the school year; this cost is not included in tuition.  A $300 missions deposit is due upon arrival at SCSL.

Can I use a loan to pay for my tuition?

Because SCSL is not an independent full-time educational institution, many student loans may not be applicable toward your tuition.  However, some have found unsecured personal loans and direct-to-student loans to be successful. 

Will the credits I earn at SCSL transfer to college?

Students who desire to earn transferable college credits while attending SCSL have the option of taking courses through Global University which is regionally accredited.

Students who desire to attain their ministerial credentials may take courses offered through SC District School of Ministry.  Students have the opportunity to become certified within one year and are able to become licensed for full-time vocational ministry within two years. 

Can students work while attending SCSL?

Students have the opportunity to work a part-time job(20-30 hrs) while attending SCSL.  Work schedules may vary, though, due to ministry trips and other SCSL responsibilities.  Employers must understand the priority of the students’ commitment to SCSL.  Students regularly work on Monday and Thursday afternoons, Fridays, Saturdays, and even Sunday afternoons if necessary.

Is there a deadline for applying to SCSL?

There is no deadline! Applications are accepted for the upcoming year until enrollment is full.  Acceptance is based on a first come first serve basis as there is limited space each year.  A $500 deposit is due upon acceptance to secure your spot. A $1000 enrollment fee, a $300 missions deposit, and an optional academic fee (SC DSOM or GU) will be due upon arrival at SCSL.

How do I apply to SCSL?

Students can submit an online application at, mail a  printed application to SCSL Admissions, 2700 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC, 29210, or fax it to 803-798-0244.  You can call 803-798-4488 for additional assistance (M-Th, 9-5).

A $25 application fee, pastoral reference, essay, and photo must accompany all completed applications.

Still have questions?  Ask them here!

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff


Darren Hileman - Executive director

Darren Hileman has been in ministry for over two decades. His ministry journey began in South Carolina where for sixteen years he served as a youth pastor. He was used of God to create a life-changing youth ministry, which literally impacted the entire community.

He served as the Youth Ministry Specialist at Valley Forge Christian College for the next two years. His leadership ability resulted in several hundred college students participating in his classes. Darren has a unique mixture of leadership, academic excellence, and deep personal concern. Because he proved to be such an extraordinary mentor to many of his college students, they affectionately referred to him as "Coach."

After serving for two years as director of Master's Commission Atlanta under the leadership of Jeanne Mayo, Darren had the opportunity to return to South Carolina. It is here the Lord opened the doors for him to found South Carolina Master’s Commission in 2006, which today is known as the South Carolina School of Leadership. Under his direction, SCSL has become an incredible program of academics, training, discipleship and mentorship. Darren brings a sense of experience and legacy that is both rare and significant.

Darren is married to his beautiful wife of more than 20 years, Mandy, and has two children, Cailyn and Braydon; as a family, they together provide the model for students of a Christ-centered, selfless, life-giving home, and strive to make functional, healthy families a reality for this generation.

Here Pastor Darren's heart for SCSL.


alex brown - assistant director

Passionate worship, combined with a heart for mentoring and missions describes the very essence of Alex Brown. Alex joined the SCSL team as a Operational Director in the summer of 2008. He is a man of character and integrity and plays an invaluable role in discipling and leading the students at SCSL.

Alex graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Business Management. Following graduation he worked for three years with Light for the Nations Ministry, leading and organizing missions trips. It was during that time that he realized full time ministry was his passion.

In 2006, Alex completed a two-year internship under Jeanne Mayo and served an additional two years on staff with Jeanne and Master's Commission Atlanta. His journey to SCSL has given him the opportunity to fulfill personal dreams while impacting the next generation. His love for God, the Word, and students makes him a tremendous asset to the SCSL family.


Kaleb ALlen

 operational director

Kaleb is filled with a hunger to know God.  He’s a student of the word and prayer that whole-heartedly believes in making disciples of Jesus.  He has given his life to see young men and women serving The Lord faithfully, with passion and obedience to His word.

Kaleb and his wife Haleigh both completed two years of SCSL and graudated in May of 2012.  After SCSL, Kaleb youth pastored and served the local church helping with worship, preaching, and teaching. Kaleb and Haleigh have two beautiful daughters and love being parents.  In October 2014, Kaleb came on staff at SCSL and counts himself blessed to be a part of marking a generation. 

Destiny kimani

operational director

Destiny’s heart burns to see the Kingdom of God advanced in every nation, every sphere of influence, and in every heart. Destiny completed three years of SCSL from 2009-2012 and then went on to pursue the completion of her degree in Education.

     She also has a passion for world missions which has led her to complete missions internships in both Spain, and Ecuador. 

In 2015, the Lord began awakening a desire in her heart to mentor and disciple the next generation of leaders. She officially joined the team in April of 2016. 


Lissyvette Taormina

operational director

Lissyvette has a deep love and fierce commitment for advancing God's Kingdom through discipling young women. Family and discipleship are foundational to Lissyvette’s life and ministry. She completed two years of SCSL from 2008 - 2010, and went on to complete a ministry internship in Connecticut as well as a three month missions internship in Madrid, Spain.  She eventually moved back to her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she met her husband Dan. They were married in November of 2013.  

Lissyvette joined the staff of SCSL in August of 2016. Additionally, she is completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling through Liberty University.