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Master of Arts in Church Leadership

Center for Church Leadership

The standalone MA in Church Leadership is designed for those students who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to complete graduate studies in ministry. While the foundational coursework is the same in both emphases, students can decide to emphasize in either Christian Ministry or Teaching and Biblical Interpretation. Students, depending upon the track they choose, will complete a total of 35-50 units of coursework.

Rev. Jonathan Ruehs

Dr. Jonathan Ruehs
Director, Center for Church Leadership
[email protected]
(949) 214-3114

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Foundational Courses

Both emphases will complete the 26 units of foundational courses, which include classes in biblical and historical theology, systematics, and practical theology. Some sample courses include:

  • Courses
  • THL 504: Survey of Historical Theology
  • 3

This course will give an introduction to historical theology and a survey of the development of the theological formulations of the church with an emphasis on "challenges to orthodoxy" laid upon the church at various times and the role such events played in the church's confessional responses to enhance the student's understanding of the church's theological and doctrinal tasks today.

  • THL 528: Seminar in Biblical Theology and Exegesis
  • 3

This seminar course will cover the Canon, inspiration of Scripture, and major themes in the Old and New Testaments using appropriate exegetical methods for interpreting various literary genres within the Bible.

  • THL 573: Systematic Doctrinal Theology
  • 3

In this course students will pursue graduate-level study of systematic doctrinal theology from a biblical perspective through the survey of loci, i.e., the topics, of doctrinal theology, and consider the nature and task of theological reflection; responsibilities and qualities of a theologian; and key topics in theological reflection such as the Person and Work of Christ, Justification, Law and Gospel, the Trinity, Creation, the Word of God, the Last Things, Christian vocation, and the life of the Christian church. Special attention will be given to recognizing and characterizing the church-related context in which and for which theology is undertaken.

  • MACL 502: Spiritual Care
  • 3

This course explores various areas of spiritual care offered by ministry leaders as they serve church members in their individual and corporate needs. The application of God’s Word and the assurance of his grace is stressed as ministers serve in times of crisis, illness, grief and also in joyful life events. Application will be made in fieldwork or internship churches.

  • MACL 530: Communicating the Gospel I
  • 3

This course explores how ministry leaders connect the Word of God to those they serve. Students will learn and apply sound exegetical principles, including how the right distinction of Law and Gospel is essential to effective application of Scripture to people today. Students will analyze texts, prepare presentations that are appropriate to their area of service, and explore effective communication strategies. Application will be made in fieldwork or internship churches.

Emphasis: Christian Ministry

The Christian Ministry track is for students who did not complete a bachelor’s degree in ministry and therefore desire to either go into ministry or who are already working in ministry and want to receive graduate-level education to help them succeed in their ministry vocation. Students in this emphasis will complete 9 units of additional coursework. Some sample courses include:

  • Courses
  • CED 532: Methods of Christian Discipleship
  • 3

This course examines theory and practice in discipleship, catechesis, and spiritual formation as conducted in the ministry of the Church. The course focuses on planning, managing, delivering, evaluating, and integrating Christian teaching into the life of the Church.

  • CED 560: Adult Ministry
  • 3

This course will look at adult learning theories, faith development, and discuss andragogy as it relates to the planning of effective adult education programs in a local congregation.

  • CED 580: Youth Ministry
  • 3

A course which provides students basic foundations of parish youth ministry and an opportunity to better understand the current youth culture. Supplies a variety of organizational models and an opportunity to develop programming skills needed for successful parish youth ministry. A fieldwork component is required.

Emphasis: Teaching and Biblical Interpretation

The Teaching and Biblical Interpretation track is for those students who would like to deepen their knowledge of the Bible and their ability to communicate God’s Word. For example, students who desire to become teaching pastors are highly encouraged to take this route of study. Students in this emphasis will complete between 18-24 units of additional coursework. Some sample courses include:

  • Courses
  • TGRE 501: Greek I
  • 3

A study of the fundamentals of New Testament Greek. Morphology, syntax and vocabulary for translation and linguistic analysis of passages of the New Testament.

  • TGRE 502: Greek II
  • 3

TA continued study of the fundamentals of the New Testament Greek. Morphology, syntax and vocabulary for translation and linguistic analysis of passages of the New Testament. Will also overview appropriate use of Bible study software for Greek translation. Prerequisite: TGRE 501 or equivalent.

  • TEXN 510: Synoptic Gospels and Acts
  • 3

This course will offer a comprehensive overview of all isagogical information concerning the Synoptic Gospels and Acts. An individual Gospel will be selected and translated with a focus on the theological meaning, emphasis, and its modern application. Prerequisite: TGRE 502.

  • TEXN 540: Pastoral Epistles
  • 3

The course offers a comprehensive overview of all isagogical information concerning Paul's Prison Epistles, the Pastoral Epistles, the General Epistles and Hebrews. Individual books will also be selected for in-depth translation and application. Particular attention will be paid to the pastoral and church related issues proclaimed in the epistles towards a practical competency of leading a congregation in the ethnic, multi-cultural context of modern pastoral mission work. Prerequisite: TGRE 502 or equivalent.

Ministry Capstone

Both tracks require the student to complete a 3-unit capstone course. Within the Christian Ministry capstone, students will explore the integration of theological knowledge and ministry skills within their current ministry context. Students in the Teaching and Biblical Interpretation capstone will explore the integration of exegetical method, theological knowledge, and teaching within their current ministry context. Both of these capstones require the student to complete a director’s approved practical ministry project, as well as a final theologically evaluative paper on their experience.

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