NOTE: This program is not admitting students at this time.

 The Master’s program in Christian Formation and Ministry prepares students to foster the development, growth, nurture, and wholeness of Christians in a wide array of ministry settings. Our department is convinced that the individual well prepared for ministry will possess a strong liberal arts foundation in ministry-relevant disciplines, a growing capacity to effectively link theory and practice in concrete ministry settings, and a purposeful participation in an ongoing process of personal spiritual formation. Through these various avenues, students work to develop an integrated philosophy of formation and ministry that is biblically and theologically grounded, academically informed, and relevant to the needs of a changing world.

The program is designed for the "reflective practitioner" because it promotes a continual dialogue between foundational principles and pressing ministry concerns. As such, it is useful for anyone interested in facilitating spiritual formation in others, particularly those working in church and parachurch contexts, student development settings, schools, camps, and the mission field. Because of the value placed upon collaboration and the richness and diversity of faculty and students, there is a significant emphasis on the development of a vibrant learning community. In addition, students participate in spiritual formation courses that facilitate personal and corporate spiritual and character development and the discernment of ministry calling in the context of this community.

While all of the courses are designed to reflect broad ministry concerns, students are encouraged to pursue their particular ministry interests throughout the program. Beyond the core requirements, students are required to select an area of ministry concentration. Students may choose a ministry concentration in:

  • Church and Parachurch Ministry

  • Bible, Theology, and Ministry

Regardless of the chosen focus area, students will benefit from the combination of core ministry themes and more specialized courses in areas of personal interest.

Admission to the Christian Formation and Ministry graduate program is open both to those who are currently involved in ministry and to those who are preparing for future ministry. Admission does not require a specific undergraduate major or a prescribed set of courses, but students are expected to possess a basic knowledge of the Bible and proficiency in written and spoken English. Since this program is aimed at preparing students for Christian ministry, continued enrollment in the degree program requires successful candidacy approval, which occurs after admission and before 12 hours of coursework have been completed. During the candidacy approval process, CFM professors will evaluate the presence of essential ministry skills and dispositions, as well as the student's demonstration of a commitment to growth in Christian virtues. At the time of acceptance into the program, the department will notify the student if there are course deficiencies which need to be met.

Master of Arts, Christian Formation and Ministry

Requirements for the Christian Formation and Ministry program leading to a Master of Arts degree consist of the successful completion of 42 semester hours. Students are required to complete 24 hours of core courses plus an additional 18 hours in a specified area of concentration.

Core Courses
CFM 512 Bible in Ministry (course no longer offered)2
CFM 513History and Philosophy of Ministry4
CFM 514 Ministry in Culture (course no longer offered)2
CFM 516Teaching for Transformation4
CFM 517Developmental Theory and Spiritual Formation2
CFM 518Research Methods for Ministry2
CFM 521Personal Spiritual Formation2
CFM 522History and Traditions of Spiritual Formation2
Category I Bible TSR requirement4
CFM 683Integrative Seminar0
CFM 691Concentration Mentoring Group (registered each semester)0
CFM 693Ministry Practicum0
CFM 692Creative Project2
or CFM 698 Applied Thesis/Thesis
Theological Studies (TSR) 1
Concentration Area
Select 18 credits in a specified area of concentration (see list) 218

As part of this 42-credit program, all graduate students are required to complete a theological studies requirement of 6 semester hours. For CFM students, this consists of CFM 512 (no longer offered), plus a 4-hour course from the Category I listing in the Graduate School section of this catalog. Students are also required to complete a zero-credit Integrative Seminar (CFM 683), a zero-credit Mentoring Group in their area of concentration registered each semester (CFM 691), a zero-credit Ministry Practicum (CFM 693) and a two-credit capstone research project (CFM 692 or CFM 698)


Up to eight hours of electives within a concentration may be taken through independent study courses. With the exception of zero-credit offerings, courses taken on a pass/fail basis may not be applied to the degree requirements. For courses offered only on a pass/fail basis, two hours of pass/fail credit may be applied to the degree with approval of the department chair.

Ministry Concentrations

Bible, Theology, and Ministry Concentration

The Bible, Theology, and Ministry concentration is designed for those who desire a more advanced grounding in biblical and theological studies while also developing a strong ministry foundation. Students in this concentration will develop an integrated understanding of the biblical narrative, biblical interpretation, Christian theology, and church history while also developing a ministry philosophy, learning critical ministry skills, and deepening their engagement with personal spiritual formation.

Biblical Studies
BITH 566Foundations for Biblical Interpretation (counts as TSR requirement)4
Theological Studies
Select 4 credits of the following:4
Old Testament Theology
New Testament Theology
Christian Theology
Theological Anthropology
Topics in Advanced Biblical and Theological Studies
Christian History
Select 4 credits of the following:4
History of Christianity to 1900
The Reformation
Seminar in American Christianity and Historical Theology
Historical Theology: Patristic
Historical Theology: Medieval Christianity
Introduction to the History of Christianity
BITH Elective
Select 4 credits4
Open Elective
Select 4 credits4
Bible, Theology, and Ministry Final Project
CFM 692Creative Project2
or CFM 698 Applied Thesis/Thesis

Church and Parachurch Concentration

The Church and Parachurch concentration is designed for those who are involved or interested in church and parachurch ministries in any setting. The core courses of this program are relevant to all ministry contexts, providing a solid foundation in biblical and theological reflection, ministry philosophy, practical skills, and personal spiritual formation. Beyond the core courses, students can tailor much of the program to their unique needs and interests, selecting a combination of courses that will best equip them for fruitful ministry.

Required Courses
CFM 523Ministry Leadership and Organization4
Church and Parachurch Final Project
OAL 534Care and Counsel in Ministry2
CFM 692Creative Project2
or CFM 698 Applied Thesis/Thesis
Select 10 credits in ministry-related courses (up to 8 credits can be taken from other graduate departments or other concentrations)10
Total Credits18