Originally posted January 8, 2009
We received notification over Christmas break that we are now officially accredited as an institution to offer the MDIV degree at Indiana Wesleyan University. This is exciting to say the least, as we have been designing and preparing for several years now!
Pray for the President and Board of IWU this April as they make decisions on how to configure the degree within the university. There is an excellent chance that it will be housed within a seminary (under the overall umbrella of the university of course) with a dedicated building on the south side of campus. It is hard to imagine how it wouldn't turn out this way.
Regardless of the final decisions on those matters, the MDIV degree will be available for its first cohorts this Fall, starting in August. We have planned for 30 students--one online cohort and one onsite cohort. But I anticipate we will have so much interest we will allow for at least 15 more onsite if necessary. Final admission materials should be available later this month so be contacting the Graduate Ministry department as soon as possible if you are interested.
If you have a PhD or DMin in a field of practical theology, especially fields like evangelism, church multiplication, community development, service, discipleship, etc... we will be making two hires for next year, then at least two the following year, and so forth. We're wanting to hire major players in the practice of ministry, not just nerds like me.
I anticipate that Russ Gunsalus and I will probably be involved with the seminary/MDIV next year in some way (although nothing is certain at this point). Bob Whitesel will also almost certainly be one of our professors. Of course you should expect to see current undergraduate faculty teaching the odd course now and then as well, people like Chris Bounds.
Because we are not starting with existing academic turf, because we all recognize that ministerial education is about training ministers--not about training bible scholars or theologians proper or church historian experts--we have designed a truly revolutionary program that is what ministers want and need, rather than what you usually get at a seminary. In other words, it isn't a program for professors to do their thing whether it is useful in ministry or not.
If you want to go on to get a doctorate in Bible, theology, or church history, go somewhere else for now. We train ministers.
Here are our distictives:
Missional: ... focused on serving the kingdom and transforming the world both near and far, ministering to whole persons and addressing world concerns.
Accessible: You don't need to leave your ministry to retool or deepen your skills and knowledge. The MDIV will be conveniently available online and onsite, will be highly affordable (Lord willing), and will welcome ministers of any culture, gender, race, or class.
The onsite version will probably require one full day a week--from 9 to 5, probably Tuesday in the Fall. You could thus easily drive in from anywhere in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, or Illinois. You'll come to campus for two weeks in the summers and graduate in 4 years. One more course a semester and you'd be able to finish in 3 years (accelerated).
In Ministry: You take courses as you do ministry, taking your church with you to seminary. You get immediate pay off and insight where you need it most. If you are not at least doing 20 hours a week in a church (the precise amount is being discussed), we'll work with you to find a church, which of course should be near where you live.
The MDIV is for pastors and for people involved in church ministry. If you are a parachurch person or a layperson who wants to tool up in specific areas, an MA is more appropriate and we welcome suggestions for specialized MA's you think we should design and add to our program. One prognosticator among us pictures a seminary with far more MA degrees and students than MDIV students!
Application Oriented: The MDIV curriculum is shaped by the nitty-gritty goals and problems of ministry rather than the ivory tower concerns of the academy. We present theory in the service of the practice of ministry by way of adult education models.
Spiritually Formative: A process of personal and spiritual change follows the student through the degree, leading toward increased wisdom, self-understanding, holiness, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. This is not the myopic "go read your Bible and pray," highly individualistic Western spiritual formation program. We're Wesleyan here. We're interested in real change with a corporate twist.
Integrative: Other MDIV programs typically present Bible, theology, and Christian history in isolation from courses like preaching, worship, and discipleship. All the praxis courses of our MDIV involve problem based learning that involves a team of biblical, theological-historical, and practical experts. You'll do pastoral theology relevant to your on the ground ministry in every praxis course.
The default expectation of the MDIV program will likely be to take at least 18 credit hours of the degree in intensive onsite courses. The student could then take the remainder of the program (57 credit hours) either online or onsite. Intensive courses will likely be offered around a weekend of yearly convocation, during which all students and faculty in the program come to campus to worship and fellowship.
Here's the normal curriculum:
1. Pastor, Church, and World (3 hour onsite intensive)
2. Cultural Contexts of Ministry (3 hour onsite intensive)
Fall Semester 1
3. Missional Christianity (6 hours onsite or online)
4. Spiritual Formation 1: Change and Transformation (1 hour onsite or online)
Spring Semester 1
5. Christian Leadership (6 hours onsite or online)
6. Spiritual Formation 2: Self Awareness and Appraisal (1 hour onsite or online)
7. The Bible as Christian Scripture (3 hour onsite intensive)
8. Introduction to Christian Theology (3 hour onsite intensive)
Fall Semester 2
9. Congregational Relationships (6 hours onsite or online)
10 Spiritual Formation 3: Goal Setting and Accountability (1 hour onsite or online)
Spring Semester 2
11. Christian Worship (6 hours onsite or online)
12. Spiritual Formation 4: Mentoring and Spiritual Direction (1 hour onsite or online)
13. Global Christian History (3 hour onsite intensive)
14. Elective (3 hours online or onsite)
Fall Semester 3
15. Congregational Spiritual Formation (6 hours onsite or online)
16. Spiritual Formation 5: Personal and Corporate Disciplines (1 hour onsite or online)
Spring Semester 3
17. Christian Proclamation (6 hours onsite or online)
18. Spiritual Formation 6: Recovery and Deliverance (1 hour onsite or online)
19. Integration Capstone (3 hour onsite intensive)
20. 12 additional hours of electives (or concentration in leadership or youth ministry, 15 total hours of electives)
It's a 75 hour MDIV, with 15 hours of electives. It is likely that you would be able to transfer in up to 27 hours of prior graduate courses, including up to half the hours of a completed MA.
God will get the glory for any success, but let me just say that this is BIG. If God enables us, this will end up being, in my opinion, one of the best MDIV's that has ever existed. Pray for us as we continue the writing process this semester and summer.
This will be a heavily "outcomed" program. Individual professors obviously will get to teach electives (if it's something students will sign up for! no esoteric courses you can't attract students to take). But there will be carefully set out objectives for these courses to where a professor can't just blab about their stuff. In fact, blabbing is not an effective teaching method and shouldn't be more than about a third of the time. Courses will be more about action research in your local church, and we will use tested adult learning methods.
Pray for us!