MDiv Overview

Program Overview

The three-level MDiv program consists of 76 credit hours of work using a competency-based learning process in the eight areas of ministry shown below. Courses are two, four, and eight weeks long. Most are taught online; residential courses are taught in 10 day intensive sessions. Instead of simply accumulating credit hours, this program requires that students demonstrate pastoral abilities through competency exercises and a capstone project. Students are in a congregational role throughout their degree program in order to benefit from the distinctive formation of congregational life and leadership. At each level, the learning process integrates attention to the spiritual, intellectual and practical aspects of pastoral ministry.

Level 1 – Apprentice Level

The MDiv curriculum is designed around a mentor-apprentice model. During the Apprentice Level, the student learns foundational knowledge about ministry. This level consists of short courses and competency exercises that prepare the student to enter the Journeyer level.

Level I Courses (500 level courses) are short courses lasting from two to four weeks (2 weeks = .5 credit; 4 weeks = 1 credit). For grading information, see the Student Handbook.

Areas of Ministry

An area of ministry is a way to categorize particular practices that are important for pastoral leadership. There are four Interpreting areas and four Leading areas of ministry in this curriculum design.

Interpreting the Scripture For the ChurchLeading the Church Through Care
Interpreting the Faith For the ChurchLeading the Church in Worship
Interpreting the Behavior For the ChurchLeading the Church into Mission
Interpreting the Past for the ChurchLeading the Church in Formation

Competency Exercises

When a MDiv student completes the number of required and optional courses in one area of Interpreting and one area of Leading, the student will then take a Competency Exercise that integrates the two areas of ministry.

Level 2 – Journeyer Level

When a student has passed at least one such, integrative Competency Exercise, she/he will then be eligible to begin taking nine, 2-hour electives in the Journeyer Level (600 level courses). At this level students learn a variety of perspectives and understandings of ministry.

Level 3 – Master Level – Capstone Project

After completing the electives at the Journeyer level, a student moves to Level III, the Capstone Project. The student, in consultation with his/her mentor, identifies a significant ministry issue in the congregation that will form the basis of research and resource development. The student draws together his/her research of biblical and theological understandings of the issue with a coherent plan of addressing the issue through liturgical, educational, and programmatic processes and resources. The project is presented to the assessment team for evaluation.

Covenant Groups

Students participate in a total of four Covenant Groups: two Covenant Groups while taking courses in the Apprentice Level before their Competency Exercises are completed, one while in the Journeyer Level, and one while completing the Capstone Project. The Covenant Groups are facilitated by faculty and clergy and explore issues of ministry and learning throughout the program.

     Succeeding in Seminary (SIS)2.0
          SIS 570 The Three R's of Seminary: Reading, Writing & Research (Must be taken within the first 8 hours of courses)1.0
Interpreting the Behavior of the Church (IB)4.0
     IB 500 Required Courses
          IB 551 Ethical Forms1.0
          IB 552 God and Science: Introduction to Issues in Biomedical Ethics1.0
          IB 553 Social Ethics1.0
     IB 500 Electives0.5
     IB Competency Exercise0.5
Interpreting Faith for the Church (IF)10.0
     IF 500 Required Courses
          IF 550 Theology and Theological Language (Prerequisite for all other IF courses)1.0
          IF 552 Theology of Sermons0.5
          IF 553 Made in the Image of God: Theological Anthropology1.0
          IF 554 The Nature of God: Theology1.0
          IF 555 "One Bread, One Body": Theology of the Church1.0
          IF 556 "Who Do You Say That I AM?": Christology1.0
          IF 557 Theology and Pastoral Care: Discussing Suffering and Hope1.0
          IF 558 God Save Us: Soteriology1.0
     IF 500 Electives1.5
     IF 590 Competency Exercise1.0
Interpreting the Past for the Church (IP)4.0
     IP 500 Required Courses
          IP 550 Early and Medieval Western Church: 100-15th Century1.0
IP 551 From Reform to Individualistic Freedom: 16th-20th Century Western Church1.0
     IP 500 Electives1.5
     IP 590 Competency Exercise0.5
Interpreting the Scripture for the Church (IS)10.0
     IS 500 Required Courses
IS 520 The Origin, Inspiration, and Authority of the Church's Scripture0.5
          IS 540 Reading the Torah in the Church Today1.0
          IS 541 Reading the Prophets in the Church Today1.0
          IS 542 Reading the Deuteronomic Histories in the Church Today0.5
          IS 553 Preparing to Help the Church Read the New Testament for Today0.5
          IS 554 The Gospels as Resources for the Church1.0
          IS 556 Pauline Letters as Resources for the Church1.0
          IS 560 Exegesis for the Church2.0
     IS 500 Electives1.5
     IS 590 Competency Exercise1.0
Leading the Church Through Care (LC)4.0
     LC 500 Required Courses
          LC 520 Pastoral Care Modalities
          (self-standing, prerequisite for all other LC courses)
          LC 550 Creating a Congregational Culture of Care1.0
          LC 552 Diagnosis and Referral: The Lost Art of Listening0.5
          LC 554 The Art of Visitation0.5
     LC 500 Electives1.0
     LC 590 Competency Exercise0.5
Leading the Church in Information (LF)4.0
     LF 500 Required Courses
          LF 550 Biblical and Vocational Foundations of the Teaching Ministry0.5
          LF 551 Congregation as Context0.5
          LF 552 Cultural Shifts Impacting Teaching of Faith0.5
          LF 553 Stages of Faith0.5
     LF 500 Electives1.5
     LF 590 Competency Exercise0.5
Leading the Church Into Mission (LM)6.0
     LM 500 Required Courses
          LM 520 Program Planning and Evaluation1.0
          LM 560 Resources for Mission: Stewardship as Vision & Practice1.0
          LM 561 Governance and Management1.0
          LM 562 When Conflict Comes Calling1.0
     LM 500 Electives1.5
     LM 590 Competency Exercise0.5
Leading the Church Through Worship (LW)
     LW 500 Required Courses
          LW 550 Introduction to Worship
          (self-standing, prerequisite for all other LW courses)
          LW 553 New Birth to Dying in Christ: Baptism, Table, Wedding, Funeral
          LW 554 Sermon Preparation
          LW 577 Practice Preaching
     LW 500 Electives
     LW 590 Competency Exercise
Covenant Groups - 500 Level
          CO 501 Covenant Group
          *Students will participate in two (2) Covenant Groups while taking courses in the Apprentice Level before their Competency Exercises are completed.
Covenant Groups - 600 Level
     CO 601 Covenant Group
600 Level Elective Courses
Covenant Groups - 700 Level
     CO 701 Covenant Group
Capstone Project
     ML 700 Capstone Project

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MDiv Capstone Project – Overview (See the Student Handbook 7.1.13) »