Friday, April 01, 2016

Ease from academics to ministry!

IWU's School of Theology and Ministry (STM) has recently added a master's degree that eases the transition from the academy to the church.

1. Designed for those right out or recently out of college, it's a two year master's degree that is the academic equivalent of an MDIV (72 hours).
  • The first year is on the residential campus, going to class just like you're used to, with courses arranged so that you can do ministry or work in between. 
  • The second year is a placement at a church with some online classes integrated with your church work (some of the online may have a "real time" option).
So the first year includes a biblically and theologically rich fare with practical courses like pastoral counseling and spiritual formation. Then the second year transitions to a church placement, where the focus will become more heavily practical with some online components.

We've just changed the name of the degree to a "Master of Practical Theology," the same degree that Wesley Seminary offers in a shorter form to individuals who already have one master's degree. But this new version of the master's is designed for people who are just finishing or have recently finished college. It covers all the bases of a traditional MDIV, has the number of hours of an MDIV, and could easily serve as a stepping stone later to a DMin or even PhD.

When I finished college, I wasn't ready to pastor yet, and a program like this one would have eased me into the church world. Many of the ministry students in our first cohort are headed for places like 12Stone next year. What a great way to ease into ministry! The cohort has become really tight, both single and very recently married students, a real community of learners and ministers.

How much does it cost? Tuition starts at 485 a credit hour, but there are significant scholarships and the possibility of denominational money, making it a pretty inexpensive master's degree. You can get advanced standing for some courses from your undergraduate work.

2. Of course for those already in ministry and those who want an even more practical focus, Wesley Seminary is better than ever and offers an MDIV designed just for you. It's a three year, 75 hour degree that can be taken online from anywhere in the world. If you minister in the area, there is also an onsite option that meets once a week. WS also has a two year MA in Ministry degree with lots of possible specializations.

3. This new STM degree has been a long time coming, going way back to early meetings with KERN by people like Keith Drury and Russ Gunsalus, and it has reached its mature form under the perfecting genius of Dave Ward, Brian Bernius, and the energizing, personal touch of Eddy Shigley and Melissa Fipps.

Don't hang in limbo next year after you graduate; come have fun with us! Go deep in the Bible, theology, and history the first year. Then dive deep into the practice of ministry the second.


Paul Tillman said...

Sure you want to announce this on April 1?

Ken Schenck said...

The thought did occur to me. :-)