Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership

39

Credit Hours

2-3

Years to Complete

  • Residential
  • Online
  • Hybrid

    Through the Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership program, you’ll be empowered to learn, grow, and enrich your ministry—all within a theologically rich community of students, professors, and mentors.

    Overview

    Lead well. Led by the Spirit.

    Discover a ministry leadership program that is wildly transformative, highly specialized, and intentionally practical.

    Transformative

    Find yourself challenged and inspired by biblical education. Your learning will be shaped by Scripture, conversant in church and world history, and applicable to your area of ministry.

    Specialized

    Take on one of five tailored concentrations, curated for your calling:

    • Education, Youth, and Family
    • Missional Leadership
    • Pastoral Care
    • Pastoral Leadership
    • Worship

    Practical

    Become functionally equipped to deepen your kingdom work. Plus, with distance learning options, you can stay in your ministry while getting more out of it.

    Contextual Learning

    In addition to their classroom work, Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership students work closely with the Vocational Formation Office and are placed in a contextual learning context, in order to enrich their studies and provide them on-the-ground experience.

    These placements, which are based on the students ministry and vocational interests, are assigned early in a student’s program, often within the first year. For more information on the Vocational Formation program at Calvin Seminary, visit their webpage.

    Format Options

    Either In-Residence, Online, or in Hybrid format

    The Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership program can be completed fully in residence, fully online, or by way of the hybrid format. Through the hybrid distance learning option, students complete most coursework online but travel to campus mid-semester for one week of face-to-face time in the classroom.

    The Program

    A Streamlined Curriculum

    The Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership has been designed with the current and future ministry practitioner in mind. This program packs a lot into just 39 credits, preparing you for your calling.

    “The MA program taught me to think theologically about music and worship, and presented many opportunities to put music and theology into practice. Taking a number of courses alongside MDiv students also helped give me a glimpse into the life and work of a pastor and form relationships with future pastors and colleagues.”

    Elly Boersma, MA '13

    Required for all Concentrations16

    1 Biblical Interpretation for Ministry

    An introduction to basic principles for interpreting the Bible in the Reformed tradition. This course initiates the student in the fundamental task of a doing a responsible and relevant interpretation of the biblical text. Thus, the course aims to familiarize us with the indispensable abilities to hear attentively the Word of God and obey it.

    2 Theological Education as Formation for Ministry

    Introduces all parts of seminary life as interrelated and formative for ministry, and examines the process of spiritual formation by illustrating habits developed through theological education and how they are critical for ministry.

    3 Bible Survey

    Prepares leaders in the church to be faithful and effective stewards of the Word by acquainting them with the basic content and principal theme of each book of the Bible; the historical, geographical, and cultural backgrounds to the Bible; its introductory hermeneutical principles; and its continuing relevance.

    1 Digital Bible Tools for Teaching and Preaching

    This course introduces students to using digital tools for studying Scripture: exploring the text in its original languages, finding resources for deeper enrichment, and establishing a lifelong process for preparing to teach and preach.

    2 Great Books in Ministry

    Students will read, analyze, and discuss 500 pages of key sources in their concentration. This course will include guided discussions across concentrations.

    5 Formation Group (MAML)

    2 Contextual Ministry Internship

    Elective Options (Choose 2-3)6

    3 Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions

    Introduces Reformed theology through a study of confessions, from the Reformation era (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort) and the more recent past (Contemporary Testimony, Belhar Confession), and through the basic elements of the Reformed worldview grounded in this confessional theology.

    2 Apologetics

    Presents a Reformed approach to the rational defense and presentation of the Christian faith and engages crucial issues in apologetics: the existence of God, the credibility of Scripture’s witness to Jesus Christ, the problem of evil, challenges based on the natural and social sciences, and religious pluralism.

    3 Christian Engagement with World Religions

    Introduces the global engagement of the Christian faith with major world religions, worldviews, and forms of spirituality, framed by a biblical-Reformed theology and philosophy of religion that examines religious experience, tradition and practice in the light of general and scriptural revelation, and a commitment to the universal common humanity of God’s image bearers.

    3 Systematic Theology I or II

    3 Church in Historical Context I or II

    3 Old Testament or New Testament Elective

    3 Ethics and the Christian Life

    Studies Christian personal and social morality vital for being an obedient church leader and developing faithful communities of disciples.

    Additional Electives to equal 39 credits

    Biblical, Historical and Theological Foundations9

    3 Old Testament or New Testament Elective

    3 Church in Historical Context I or II

    3 Systematic Theology I or II

    Concentrations8

    8 Education, Youth, and Family

    2 Discipleship and Teaching

    Equips students for leadership in the teaching ministry of the church by providing biblical and theological foundations, examining methods for assessing ministry contexts, developing a teaching-learning strategy appropriate to the context, and providing opportunities to enhance instructional skills.

    2 Youth and Family Ministry

    Introduces pastoral care for young people and families from a systems perspective, develops skills in theological diagnostic method, and examines issues such as depression and suicide, sexuality identity and function, use and abuse of alcohol and illegal substances, and dysfunctional families.

    4 Electives in education and discipleship, or selected courses in worship or pastoral care

    9 Missional Leadership

    2 Introduction to Missional Ministry

    Introduces aspects of pastoral ministry for a missional congregation.

    2 Evangelism & Cross-Cultural Ministry

    Introduces models of personal and congregational evangelism, models of contextual ministry, and skills necessary for cross-cultural ministry; and teaches how to write and communicate faith stories for evangelistic purposes, present the gospel individually and corporately, conduct evangelistic Bible studies, and lead a congregation to the best model(s) of outreach for its context and to church planting.

    3 Christian Engagement with World Religions

    Introduces the global engagement of the Christian faith with major world religions, worldviews, and forms of spirituality, framed by a biblical-Reformed theology and philosophy of religion that examines religious experience, tradition and practice in the light of general and scriptural revelation, and a commitment to the universal common humanity of God’s image bearers.

    2 Discipleship and Teaching

    Equips students for leadership in the teaching ministry of the church by providing biblical and theological foundations, examining methods for assessing ministry contexts, developing a teaching-learning strategy appropriate to the context, and providing opportunities to enhance instructional skills.

    8 Pastoral Care

    3 Foundations for Pastoral Care

    The foundations course in pastoral care presents the basic pastoral theology and theory of pastoral practice that undergirds good pastoral care. Pastoral care is bringing someone into an awareness of the presence of God in the midst of that person's circumstances, offering a vision of the future that is hopeful. Students will also learn how they use themselves as tools for ministry as the Holy Spirit guides them towards effective pastoral care.

    3 Pastoral Disciplines for Counseling Ministry

    Introduces effective personal and marital counseling within the limits of pastoral ministry and explores the theologies and theories of transformation that underlie these pastoral skills. Students learn beginning counseling skills and complete a practicum/case study on a field experience packet filled out prior to the class.

    2 Evangelism & Cross-Cultural Ministry

    Introduces models of personal and congregational evangelism, models of contextual ministry, and skills necessary for cross-cultural ministry; and teaches how to write and communicate faith stories for evangelistic purposes, present the gospel individually and corporately, conduct evangelistic Bible studies, and lead a congregation to the best model(s) of outreach for its context and to church planting.

    9 Pastoral Leadership

    2 Preaching Theory and Methods

    Introduces the practice of preaching through lectures, discussions, readings and preparatory exercises; and provides a grammar for talking about sermons and an elementary approach to sermon construction. Topics include theology of preaching, technique in telling stories, writing for the ear, pastoral issues in the pulpit, use and presentation of scripture in the sermon, and how and where to find illustrations.

    3 Foundations for Pastoral Care

    The foundations course in pastoral care presents the basic pastoral theology and theory of pastoral practice that undergirds good pastoral care. Pastoral care is bringing someone into an awareness of the presence of God in the midst of that person's circumstances, offering a vision of the future that is hopeful. Students will also learn how they use themselves as tools for ministry as the Holy Spirit guides them towards effective pastoral care.

    2 Discipleship and Teaching

    Equips students for leadership in the teaching ministry of the church by providing biblical and theological foundations, examining methods for assessing ministry contexts, developing a teaching-learning strategy appropriate to the context, and providing opportunities to enhance instructional skills.

    2 Forming Worshiping Communities

    Introduces principles and practices of vital and faithful worship leadership, explores biblical and historical perspectives on worship practices highlighting those of the Reformed tradition, and gives students practice at several basic worship planning and leading skills.

    8 Worship

    2 Forming Worshiping Communities

    Introduces principles and practices of vital and faithful worship leadership, explores biblical and historical perspectives on worship practices highlighting those of the Reformed tradition, and gives students practice at several basic worship planning and leading skills.

    6 Worship Electives

    Course Maps

    Flexible Formats

    • Sample Program Chart

      YearFallJ-TermSpring

      Year One

      Biblical Interpretation for Ministry (1)

      Biblical Interpretation for Ministry

      Course Code
      705
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      1
      Description

      An introduction to basic principles for interpreting the Bible in the Reformed tradition. This course initiates the student in the fundamental task of a doing a responsible and relevant interpretation of the biblical text. Thus, the course aims to familiarize us with the indispensable abilities to hear attentively the Word of God and obey it.

      Bible Survey (3)

      Bible Survey

      Course Code
      716
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      3
      Description

      Prepares leaders in the church to be faithful and effective stewards of the Word by acquainting them with the basic content and principal theme of each book of the Bible; the historical, geographical, and cultural backgrounds to the Bible; its introductory hermeneutical principles; and its continuing relevance.

      Theological Education as Formation for Ministry (2)

      Theological Education as Formation for Ministry

      Course Code
      712
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      2
      Description

      Introduces all parts of seminary life as interrelated and formative for ministry, and examines the process of spiritual formation by illustrating habits developed through theological education and how they are critical for ministry.

      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description
      Formation Group (4)

      Formation Group

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description
      Pastoral Ministry Internship (4)

      Pastoral Ministry Internship

      Course Code
      761
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description

      Provides a leadership experience with a congregation for deepening pastoral identity and developing ministry practices in a 10 week (400 hour) internship, usually completed in the summer after the second year of seminary.

      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description

      Bible Course (3)

      History or Theology Core (3)

      Concentration Course or Elective (2-3)

      Formation Group (1)

      Contextual Ministry Internship (1)

      Year Two

      Gospel Communication

      Gospel Communication

      Course Code
      449
      Category
      Integration Course
      Description

      Trains students in the art of public speaking as preparation for preaching and teaching ministries.

      Bible Course (3)

      History or Theology Core (3)

      Concentrative Course or Elective (2-3)

      Formation Group (1)

      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description
      Formation Group (4)

      Formation Group

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description

      Concentration Course or Elective (2-3)

      Concentration Course or Elective (2-3)

      Integrative Project (2)

      Formation Group (1)

      Stories

      Called to Serve

      Past graduates have applied their learning to a variety of ministry-based opportunities. Here are some of their stories:

      • Preparation

        An open suitcase brings this question -- “What do I need to bring for this trip?”

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      • Van Zanten Urban Ministry Lecture:

        “Have You Heard of the City?”

        For those of you who missed it, or if you want to watch it again, the entire conversation can be watched in this post.

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      Finances

      Calvin Seminary Supports Students

      Calvin Seminary offers a wide range of scholarships and other financial assistance.

      In fact, in recent years, nearly $1.5 million in scholarship funds were awarded annually. For information on ways to make seminary more affordable, visit the Tuition and Aid webpage.

      Application Requirements and Deadlines

      For the MA in Ministry Leadership Program

      A significant number of our students have not formally studied religion and theology prior to attending seminary. Students come from a range of educational backgrounds, from the sciences to the arts and humanities.

      Admission Requirements


      General:
      The Registrar’s Office, with oversight from the Admissions and Standards Committee, will examine the academic, professional and ministry background of each applicant. If it is determined that an applicant would benefit from further study in a particular area, a learning plan will be developed which could include specific seminary electives or additional courses from another academic institution.

      MA Specifics: Typically a bachelors degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited institution and have a grade point average of 2.67 (B-) or higher is required. Due to special circumstances, an applicant without a bachelor's degree may be considered, as is allowed by the Association of Theological Schools.

      A strong liberal arts education provides an excellent foundation for graduate level theological education. A liberal arts education shapes well-rounded, intellectually and culturally astute graduates. Therefore, it is recommended that a candidate’s baccalaureate preparation consist of courses in the liberal arts, including English, philosophy, history, literature, social science and natural science.

      For more details on admission requirements for the Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership program, please review the Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership section of the Academic Catalog.

      Non-native in English: Applicants who are non-native in English must submit official TOEFL exam results as a part of their application for admission. A minimum internet-based total score of 80 with a score of 23 in the writing section is required. Use Calvin Theological Seminary's institutional code 1096 to order scores.

      International Student Admissions: For information on international student application requirements, visit the international student information page below.

      Admission Deadlines

      Use the chart below to find out when your admission materials are due for a particular term. The due dates below are when all materials are due by (the application, recommendations, transcripts, etc). These dates are for residential, online, and distance hybrid students alike.

      Application Material Deadlines

      Fall Semester (September - December)

      July 1: North American Applicant Deadline
      June 1: International Student Deadline
      March 1: Apply for this date to be considered for first round of scholarship awarding. Note: if you miss this date it doesn't necessarily mean you won't receive a scholarship, but you may miss the first round of awarding.

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