Pursuing a degree in Christian Ministry can be a calling and a challenge, but it does not have to be a source of frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty. ChristianMinistryEDU.org provides students of faith with the guidance and information they need to find Christian educational institutions that nourish their intellectual and spiritual development.
The aim of this blog post is to help prospective Christian students from all denominations access and understand the wealth of available information on ministry education programs. Each student will likely take their own personal approach to decision-making, but we recommend taking these steps.
Gather Informational Materials
Before you weigh your options and start the application process for any ministry education program, it is important to have all the information about the schools on hand so you can compare the options side by side. In this respect, pursuing a degree in Christian Ministry is similar to choosing any other bachelor's or master's degree program. Consider the characteristics of different schools, such as:<!- mfunc feat_school ->
- Tuition and fees
- Eligibility for financial aid
- Faculty-student ratio
- Types of degrees offered (for example, master's degree)
- Type of ministry (for example, women's ministry)
- Admission requirements
- Percentage of students who graduate
- Employment rates after graduation
If the number of choices available seems daunting, identify any "must-have" features and use them to narrow down the list before weighing your options. You can always relax your criteria later if none of the remaining choices suit your needs.
Seek Inspirational Faculty and Leadership
One of the advantages of a Christian ministry program is the opportunity to learn from leading religious scholars, theologians, and people of faith. As you progress through your ministry education program, the faculty of your chosen program will be your mentors and role models. Their experiences and relationships might influence the career opportunities that you pursue after you graduate.
Visit the faculty pages of the schools on your shortlist and look for individuals that exemplify the approach to Christian thought and action that you want in your life.
Do they share your passion for spiritual understanding? Do their words and deeds inspire you? Do they seem motivated by an authentic relationship with Christ?
If faculty members have a blog, podcast, or other way to connect with the community, get a sense of whether their personality and instructional style are a good fit for you.
Professors and instructors retire or change jobs, so avoid choosing a school for the sake of one specific instructor.
Examine Their Educational Credentials
One indication that a college, university, or other educational institution adheres to standards of quality and transparency is to look for accreditation by an accrediting body that the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes. For example, the Association for Biblical Higher Education conducts the accreditation process for ministry education programs in North America. Accreditation teams review documents from each candidate institution and conduct evaluation visits before deciding whether or not to confer accreditation.
The accreditation process verifies that the school has a clear academic purpose, ensures academic integrity, and confirms that the school has the resources (such as teachers and facilities) to provide appropriate instruction. These factors will likely improve your overall experience in the ministry education program and increase the value of the degree when you pursue job opportunities after graduation.
Evaluate Professional Development Opportunities
Research, scholarship, and discussion of Christian thought are essential elements of any ministry education program. However, pursuing a degree in Christian Ministry involves more than a static study of scripture. Ministry is an active process of engaging with communities in an often complex world.
An educational program that prepares its members for Christian service positions should help students develop job skills and good work habits. Once you graduate, you will draw upon what you have learned to provide steady guidance and shape souls in challenging circumstances.
Investigate the on-campus and community outreach activities that the school supports. Does the school have exchange programs or study abroad programs that broaden their students' horizons?
Does the program provide guidance, networking opportunities, academic journals, and access to libraries to promote student research?
When you leave school with your Christian ministry degree in hand, you want to be able to assure any future employers or volunteer organizations that you work with that you are ready to meet the responsibilities of your role from day one.
Look for a Climate of Spiritual Growth
For most applicants, pursuing a degree in Christian ministry is part of a larger process of following a spiritual calling. If you emerge from a two-year or four-year program exactly the same as when you entered, what have you gained aside from a line on your resume? Find testimonials from graduates of the institutions and look up notable alumni to find out what role the school played in shaping their views and their character.
A Christian ministry education program should challenge you while giving you opportunities to build on the foundation of your current knowledge and relationship with Christ. You can expect to encounter questions you have not considered before and meet Christians with different perspectives on God and faith. Your experiences can be a catalyst for profound revelations and lasting personal growth.
Find the Right Christian Degree Program
Pursuing a degree in Christian ministry can be daunting, but finding the perfect institution of higher learning can change your life. ChristianMinistryEDU.org is a resource for students seeking the best ministry education program for them. We receive advertising revenue from high-quality Christian institutions of higher learning and make information freely available to prospective students.
We encourage you to look over our website and explore our educational resources before deciding where to apply. The true worth of your Christian ministry degree might not fully reveal itself for years or decades, but starting your journey with the right information and a prepared mind will help you avoid missteps along the way.