The Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership Degree Program

OFFERED ON THE ONLINE, PORTLAND, SACRAMENTO, AND SAN JOSE CAMPUSES

Program Overview

The purpose of the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Ministry and Leadership program is to equip persons for ministry leadership in some form of specialized ministry in congregations and other ministry settings. It combines the core ministry and leadership skills with focused ministry specializations required in congregations and parachurch ministries today. For example, they may be seeking to serve as associate pastors on a church staff, in parachurch agencies, or in specialized areas of ministry (e.g. chaplaincy, coaching, mission and culture, pastoral care, evangelism, youth ministry, etc.). The program is not recommended for those preparing for a ministry where ordination is expected or required (e.g., the pastorate) or for those who anticipate subsequent doctor of ministry studies.

Students will take a common sequence of courses to build the core outcomes in Christian spirituality studies, biblical and theological studies, and ministry studies. As students proceed with their classroom studies, they are challenged to sharpen their ministry skills in a chosen place of ministry. Interaction between student, faculty advisor and ministry mentor will facilitate the refining of ministry effectiveness by identifying areas of strength to be honed and areas of critical weakness to be improved. Building on the core foundational areas, students will develop specialized ministry and leadership skills through their electives. Students will follow one of the defined specialization tracks, or they may choose the open track which includes a variety of ministry and leadership courses in consultation with their faculty advisor.

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership program goals include:

  • The capacity for critical and constructive theological reflection regarding the content and processes of the areas of specialized ministry
  • The skill in the design, implementation, and assessment of ministry in these specialized areas
  • An understanding of the various disciplines that undergird the area of specialized ministry
  • Growth in personal and spiritual maturity.

The Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership program is designed to prepare graduates with the following learning outcomes:

  • Applies biblical truth to life and ministry based on sound hermeneutics and a thorough understanding of the biblical canon.
  • Employs mature theological thinking to evaluate competing ideas, communicates theological truths clearly, and applies theological truths to life and ministry.
  • Demonstrates cultural awareness and discernment in theological thinking and ministerial practice.
  • Exhibits a Christ-like character worthy of being emulated, and integrity that imparts credibility to his/her ministry.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and a commitment to ongoing personal and spiritual formation.
  • Implements a gospel-centered philosophy of ministry that is biblical, missional, and transformational.
  • Leads others in effective ministry by casting a vision for transformational ministry, equipping others for ministry, and faithfully modeling servant leadership.
  • Demonstrates mastery of the key principles of their chosen area of ministry through effective service in that area.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Seminary, applicants for the M.A. in Ministry and Leadership program must possess a four-year baccalaureate degree or its educational equivalent from a college or university accredited by a United States association holding membership in one of the seven regional accrediting associations, membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, membership in the Association for Biblical Higher Education, or from an institution which maintains similar academic requirements and standards. Additionally, M. A. applicants must present a GPA of 3.0 or higher, including a breadth of liberal arts. Applicants who do not meet these general academic requirements may petition the Admissions Committee for consideration. A recommendation from the applicant’s pastor and three personal recommendations regarding the applicant’s Christian character and leadership also are required.

Transfer Credit, Advanced Standing, and Residence Requirements

Upon approval by the registrar’s office, transfer of up to 26 hours credit is allowed toward the M.A. program from graduate institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Students must have earned a grade of B or higher for a course to be considered for transfer and coursework must have completed no more than five years prior to matriculation to Western Seminary. Transferability of credits earned at Western and transferred to another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution.

Alternatively, students may receive advanced standing of up to 13 credit hours of the 26 credit hours of transfer credit allowed toward their program if they are able to demonstrate current competency in required coursework based on prior study (based on parallel undergraduate work or transfer credit that is ineligible for consideration based on age). Advanced standing is allowed for up to eight credits of the required BL courses (501, 502, 503) and eight credits of the required TH courses (501, 502, 503). They may qualify for four additional credits of advanced electives for the remaining credits in each of these required courses. Consult the registrar’s office for information on eligibility of transfer credit and advanced standing.

Residence requirements for Portland, San Jose and Sacramento Campuses: Of the 52 credit hours required for the Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership program, a minimum of 26 credit hours must be completed through coursework completed at Western Seminary, with a minimum of 18 credit hours taken in resident study at one of Western Seminary’s physical campus locations.

Residence requirements for Online Campus only: Of the 52 credit hours required for the M.A. in Ministry and Leadership program, a minimum of 26 credit hours must be completed through coursework at Western Seminary, with a minimum of 6 credit hours taken in resident study through the following specific courses and program orientation (Approved exception to ATS Standards A.3.1.3 and B.3.1.3):

  • During October, February or June of a student's first academic year, the student must travel to Portland for one week to attend program orientation and two threshold courses, CS501 Learning to Love God and Others (2 credit hours) and MF501 Introduction to Theological Study and Ministry Formation. (2 credit hours).
  • During the student's final academic year, the student must return to Portland to attend the capstone course, TH504 Integrating Ministry and Theology (2 credit hours).

Program Specializations

The intent of a ministry specialization is to equip the student with the skills, insights, and training experiences necessary for a distinctly defined ministry role. Eight credits of course work reflect a thoughtful blend of required courses and restricted electives designed to impart the character, knowledge, and skill outcomes deemed essential for each particular role. Six ministry specializations are offered, though not all specialization courses are offered at each campus: Chaplaincy, Ministry Coaching, Evangelism and Cultural Engagement, Women’s Transformational Leadership, and Youth Ministry.

Degree Requirements

The M.A in Ministry and Leadership program requires a common core 42 credits including of biblical, theological, Christian spirituality, and applied ministry studies. In addition, students select an elective track of 10 credits consisting either of a ministry specialization or a self-designed sequence of electives approved by a faculty mentor. This flexibility of design recognizes that many students come with differing God-given gifts, passions, talents, experiences, and goals. The elective track also involves either the completion of a ministry specialization (10 credits of prescribed and elective credits) or an open track (10 credits of elective credits) approved by a faculty member).

The Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership degree is conferred upon the attainment of certain personal and academic requirements. In addition to the general seminary requirements, degree candidates must (1) give evidence of a genuine Christian character, orthodox belief, and conduct consistent with a God-given call to a position of leadership; (2) complete all courses in the prescribed M.A. curriculum with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

Students may complete their M.A. studies in as few as four semesters. All work M.A. degree must be completed within five years from the time of matriculation. Permission to extend the five-year statute of limitation must be granted through submission of an academic petition. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree. All credits applied toward the degree requirements must be earned within ten years of the awarding of the degree.

Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership Curriculum Plan

Foundational Studies: 10 credits
BT501 Hermeneutics 2
BT502 Understanding Biblical Theology 2
CS501 Learning to Love God and Others 2
CS502 Growing in Prayer and Other Key Spiritual Disciplines 2
MF501 Introduction to Theological Study and Ministry Formation 2
Biblical Studies: 12 credits
BL501 Interpreting Genesis to Song of Solomon 4
BL502 Interpreting the Prophets and Gospel 4
BL503 Interpreting Acts to Revelation 4
Theological Studies: 14 credits
TH501 Knowing the Living God: Theology I 4
TH502 Glorifying the Word of Life: Theology II 4
TH503 Living as the Community of the Spirit: Theology III 4
TH504 Integrating Ministry and Theology 2
Ministerial Studies: 6 credits
ML501 Theology and Practice of Gospel-Centered Ministry 2
ML502 -or- Transformational Leadership 2
WL504 Women in Leadership 2
ML506 Ministerial Ethics 2
MF531-532 Minstry Leadership Formation (P/F graded, lab fee) 0
MF533-534 Minstry Leadership Formation (P/F graded, lab fee; as needed) 0

Track: 10 credits (select one)

The 10 credits of coursework in the elective tracks may be taken in one of two ways:

  1. A ministry track (minimum of 8 credits in chaplaincy, coaching, evangelism and cultural engagement, women's transformational leadership, or youth ministry courses) plus open electives.
  2. An integrated sequence of electives selected with faculty guidance

The choice among these options is based on student goals, talents, God-given gifts and prior experiences.

Open Track (Online, Portland, Sacramento, & San Jose campuses)
Restricted electives: 8 credits
Select from the courses below with advisor approval:
ML503 Nurturing Faithful Disciples 2
ML504 Taking the Gospel to Diverse Cultures 2
ML505 Applied Pastoral Counseling: Caring for People in a Broken World 2
ML507 Gospel Responses to Contemporary Challenges 2
ML508 Preaching Gospel-Centered Messages 2
Open Electives: 2 credits
Chaplaincy Track (Portland, Sacramento, & San Jose campuses)
Chaplaincy required course: 2 credits
CA501 The Chaplaincy 2
Restricted electives: 6 credits
Select from the courses below or related electives with advisor approval:
CA505 Hospital Chaplaincy 2
CA506 Military Chaplaincy 2
CA530 Chaplaincy Practicum 2
CA531 Clinical Pastoral Education 1-4
CNS501 Clinical Foundations: Basic Counseling Skills and Interventions 2
CNS557 Emergency Preparedness: Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention 1
Open Electives: 2 credits
Coaching Track (Portland, Sacramento, & San Jose campuses)
Coaching required courses: 2 credits
CO500 Introduction to Coaching 1
CO501 Coaching Change, Transition, and Transformation 1
Restricted electives: 6 credits
Select from the courses below with advisor approval:
CO502 Life and Personal Coaching 1
CO503 Coaching Approach to Leading and Managing 1
CO504 Coaching Spiritual Transformation 1
CO505 Coaching as a Brain-Based Approach to Learning 1
CO506 Using Assessments, Inventories, and Tools in Coaching 1
CO507 The Language of Coaching 1
CO508 Growing Your Coaching Practice 1
CO530 Coaching Supervision 0
Open Electives: 2 credits
Evangelism and Cultural Engagement Track (Portland campus only)
Evangelism and Cultural Engagement required courses: 8 credits
ML504 Taking the Gospel to Diverse Cultures 2
ML507 Gospel Responses to Contemporary Challenges 2
Restricted electives: 4 credits
Select from the courses below with advisor approval:
GL501 Spiritual Formation and Discipleship in the Global Context 2
GL502 Theology in the Global Context 2
GL503 Leadership in the Global Context 2
GL504 Self-Directed Learning for Global Leadership 2
Open Electives: 2 credits
Women's Transformational Leadership Track (Portland, Sacramento, & San Jose campuses)
WL531-534 may replace MF531-534 in program requirements above.
Women's Transformational Leadership required courses: 7 credits
WL501 Pastoral Understanding of Women 2
WL505 Building Relational Ministries for Women 1
WL506 Develop and Deliver Life-Changing Bible Messages 2
WL507 Develop Life-Changing Bible Study Curriculum 1
WL508 Develop Your Discipling and Evangelism Potential 1
Restricted elective: 1 credit
Select from the courses below with advisor approval:
WL502 -or- Women in Pain, Part 1 1
WL503 Women in Pain, Part 2 1
Open Electives: 2 credits
Additional required course: 2 credits (replaces core ML course above)
WL504 is required but is approved to substitute for ML502 Transformational Leadership above. If not taken in substitute for ML502 it will replace two credits of open electives for the program.
WL504 Women in Leadership 2
Youth Ministry Track (Portland campus only)
Youth Ministry required courses: 4 credits
YM501 Developing a Theological Model for 21st Century Youth Ministry 2
YM502 Managing Youth Ministry 2
Restricted electives: 4 credits
Select from the courses below with advisor approval:
ML503 Nurturing Faithful Disciples 2
ML504 Taking the Gospel to Diverse Cultures 2
ML505 Applied Pastoral Counseling: Caring for People in a Broken World 2
ML507 Gospel Responses to Contemporary Challenges 2
ML508 Preaching Gospel-Centered Messages 2
Open Electives: 2 credits