In light of the
cultural diversity in America and globally, anyone called of God to
minister will be working across cultural and social barriers. Our goal
is to prepare God’s people to recognize and creatively minister
with effectiveness across these barriers. Students are given strategies
and skills to develop effective interpersonal relationships, to analyze
culture and society, and to develop leadership in a second culture.
Emphasis is placed on intercultural communication, equipping people
to work with and enhance the ministry of God’s people from and
in every part of the world.
DIS 502 - Perspectives on World Ministry. This course provides practical
direction to students in discharging the mandate of the Church to go
into all the world and to make disciples. Emphasis is balanced between
the imperatives of evangelism and edification. The course gives insights
into missiology, and its applications to the ministry of the local church.
DIS 503-504 – Communicating Christ in Cultural Context I & 2.
These courses will help you develop strategies for proclaiming God’s
message to all peoples. Emphasis is placed on learning how people understand,
and how to prepare effective proclamation in various cultural contexts.
The focus will not be on techniques, but rather on fruitful ministry
strategies built upon a knowledge of both people and the Message. Major
topics include the theological and applied foundations of communication,
culture and worldviews, social networks, perception, media usage, basic
skills of cultural observation, and evaluation of communication effectiveness.
This two-semester course must be taken in sequence over two consecutive
semesters. 2 hours each term.
DIS 508/608 - Practical Anthropology. Concepts of culture and cultural
effects on the communication of God’s Word in different societies.
Cultural assumptions and resulting patterns of attitudes and behaviors,
as well as the need to use anthropological tools for field study are
identified. 2 hours.
DIS 509/609 - Culture and Ministry. Using the concept of world view, four
important dimensions of cultural difference are studied. This course
provides a useful approach to cross-cultural comparisons and development
of Christian ministry in each setting. 2 hours.
DIS 511/611 - Contemporary Mission Strategies. Case studies and
experienced outside resource personnel are used to help summarize the
factors that affect an overall strategy of mission. Prerequisites:
DIS 503-504 - 2 hours.
DIS 516 - Language and Culture Learning. Outlines a practical
method for learning another language in the living setting of its own
culture. The course draws on introductory phonetics, general linguistics,
and psycholinguistic theory. 2 hours.
- History of Missions. The dynamic factors God has used in
the expansion and spread of His church. Successes and failures in mission
endeavors, from era to era, by both Eastern and Western churches and
events are analyzed. Strategies used by missionaries throughout the
ages are studied as a guide to forming a personal strategy of mission
and an understanding of practical aspects and principles of world missions.
DIS 522/622 - Starting and Developing Churches. Basic principles for starting
and developing churches. Concentration is on the biblical factors in
quantitative and qualitative church growth. Current church growth theories
are critiqued as part of the preparation for field practice. 2 hours.
DIS 523/623 - Christology of Mission: Glory of the Living Word.
Fresh perspectives on apostolic evangelism, church planting, and local
church leadership training are gained from examining the place and meaning
of Scripture in the life and ministry of Jesus. This course shows how
commitment to Scripture and the Lord Jesus Christ affects the evangelistic
outreach of the local church in its worldwide mission. 2 hours.
DIS 526/626 - Religions of the World. A survey of each major world belief
system is presented in order to learn the common themes expressed in
different religions. Strategies are examined for establishing an effective
witness to the uniqueness of Christ to each of the major religions.
Includes field trips to local places of worship. 2 hours.
DIS 529 - Cross-Cultural Music. Students explore the different facets
of ethnomusicology and how Christian musicians can and should be involved
in the study of other musics in order to ensure culturally relevant
worship and music in the church. Through comparison, demonstration,
participation, listening and lecture, students become acquainted with
the music systems of non-Western cultures and how music is used within
those cultures. Principles used in the study of culture are employed
in the study and appreciation of worldwide music. Cross-listed as MMS
557. 2 hours.
DIS 530 - World Ministry Practicum. Students live and minister in an
ethnic community different from their own. This "cultural immersion"
includes language learning, competent mentoring, rigorous accountability,
continued theoretical input, and practical application. Timing and location
are flexible, but normally a minimum of six months in length is required.
Prerequisites: MFM 500; either
or DIS 533. For M.Div. students electing the World Ministry
specialization. 3 hours.
DIS 531 - Intercultural
Ministry Internship. Students live and minister in an ethnic community
different from their own. This "cultural immersion" includes
language learning, competent mentoring, rigorous accountability, continued
theoretical input, and practical application. Timing and location are
flexible, but normally a minimum of six months in length is required.
Prerequisites: MFM 500; either
or DIS 533. For M.A. students electing the Intercultural Ministry
specialization. 8 hours.
DIS 532 - Academic Acculturation. Learning how to function effectively
in the American academic setting, including logic systems, academic
integrity, and notetaking. Includes adjustment to American living habits
and expectations, use of support networks, and review of skills needed
for graduate study at Western (such as computer literacy, library research,
language use and writing of study papers). Required for all students
holding an F1 visa. 1 hour.
DIS 533 - Functioning Overseas. Preparing adequately for living outside
one’s own culture, handling culture stress and developing effective
personal witness. Includes legal and health needs, immigration and customs,
planning for travel, and learning and adjusting to new situations and
expectations. 2 hours.
DIS 538 – Mentoring for Ministry. Mentoring for Ministry explores
the process of mentoring by taking the learner through a field-based
experience of a menu-driven, need-determined format, which integrates
pastoral fieldwork with corresponding theoretical content. Normally,
this will be done in partnership with a local church or mission organization.
Course modules A-G. 1 hour each module.
DIS 542/642 - Ministry to Muslims. Nine renowned Islamicists and a Muslim
missionary to the United States deal with the beliefs and practices
of Islam. American misconceptions are discussed as well as the uniqueness
of many different Muslim peoples. Ways to create understanding for building
bridges so that the Gospel is brought to Muslims is a major theme of
the course. Appropriate and successful mission strategies are highlighted
by the different course leaders. 2 hours.
DIS 561Q – Building Ministry with Small Groups. Small groups have
existed at least since the time of Moses. While many ministries thrive
on small groups others have attempted a small group approach and failed.
The context for and variations of a small group ministry are many and
increasing. We will investigate the principles behind small group methods
in their biblical, cultural, relational, communicational, and ecceliastical
dimensions with a vew toward creating a growing small group ministry
relevant for varied contexts. 2 hours.
DIS 562G - Ministry to Children at Risk. Many children, espeically in
the third world, are facing life crisis situations. Their spiritual
need is equally as distressing as their physical needs. This course
presents an overview of some of the major sources of physical and emotional
suffering and danger. It also looks at past and present children-at-risk
ministry strategies using the lens of guiding ministry principles with
an emphasis on those ministries that have targeted evangelism and discipleship
along with social outreach. 2 hours.
DIS 562H – Introduction to Islam. This course is designed to help
the student have knowledge of standard Islam. There will be a brief
overview of the life of Muhammad, the Qur’an, the basic doctrines
of Islam, Islamic fundamentalism, folk Islam, the main sects of Islam
and the main approaches of reaching out to Muslims. 2 hours.
DIS 562J – Theological Issues of Children at Risk. Why would anyone
minister to children at risk or any other troubled populations? Simply
because its consistent with the heart of YHWH. As people after His own
heart, we will approach ministry as He does. We will ask many questions:
How is a child a person? What does family mean to orphans? What place
do children have in the family of God? Should we evangelize children?
How do we do that with integrity? What is the theological basis for
drawing personal boundaries? Why does God allow such suffering? How
can I participate in suffering (Phil. 3:10) without being destroyed?
We will search the Scriptures to lay a strong biblical and theological
foundation for practical methodologies for ministry. 2 hours
DIS 570 - Senior Project. A plan for the first years of service following
seminary training is developed, involving a careful study of the geography,
history, sociology, religions, and church/missions activities in an
intended area of service. This personal strategy integrates missiology,
theological and biblical studies, with the spiritual and physical needs
of that particular area. 2 hours.
DIS 580/680 - Individualized Research. An elective course designed to meet
the specific needs of the individual student. Direct guidance by a professor
within the discipline gives an opportunity for a significant learning
experience. Approval of program coordinator required. 1 - 2 hours, as
DIS 581/681 - Intercultural Ministry Experience. Working with experienced
missionaries and a Western Seminary faculty member, students are provided
with a practical learning and ministry opportunity in another cultural
setting. Extensive reading beforehand will help prepare students for
ministry in and with the national church as cultural awareness is being
developed. 1-4 hours.