Resting on the classical concepts of church administration as “administry,” this course seeks to develop pastoral competencies for stewardship of the Church’s human and temporal resources. The course explores the biblical, historical, and theological roots of pastoral leadership. Course participants work on the development of skills in the areas of organizational management, congregational development, equipping for ministry, and mission planning.
The Fundamentals of Finance for Ministers and Churches
This course is designed to help church administrators and those currently in (or entering) ministry understand the fundamentals of finance, an area of vulnerability for many ministers and churches. The process of developing personal and church budgets will be discussed. Proper procedures will be identified for handling monies, record keeping, controlling expenditures, and auditing. Available resources and tools for the management of both personal and church finances will be introduced. Students will be taught how to read and interpret financial statements.
Equipping the Laity
One of the primary roles of church leaders is “to prepare God’s people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:12). The involvement of lay people in ministry is a crucial component in discipleship and should be a primary objective for ordained ministers. However, the reality is that pastors often find themselves overworked and frustrated by the lack of ministry involvement by their parishioners. On the other hand, many parishioners find themselves wishing they had more meaningful ministry opportunities. This course will work at developing a biblical view of ministry, a historical perspective on the roles of clergy and laity, and a contemporary approach to equipping the laity in the church. The goal is to help both ordained ministers and lay leaders recapture the rich and rewarding heritage of ministry that utilizes all God’s people.
The History of The United Methodist Church
Introduction to the narratives forming personal and corporate identity of United Methodists today, including founders’ stories, phases of the denomination, persons representative of major developments, and stories that counter present perceptions. Fulfills the UM History requirement for election to probationary membership and commissioning in The United Methodist Church as specified in the most current Book of Discipline. Normally taken through Wesley Theological Seminary.
United Methodist Polity
The constitution and structural relationships of The United Methodist Church are examined with a particular focus on the workings of the local church. Fulfills the UM Polity requirement for election to probationary membership and commissioning in The United Methodist Church as specified in the most current Book of Discipline. Normally taken through Wesley Theological Seminary.
The History and Discipline of The Wesleyan Church
Through self-directed study and classroom discussion, students will investigate the pertinent historical, theological, and governmental documents of The Wesleyan Church. This course is designed to meet the ordination requirements for The Wesleyan Church. Taught by a denominationally-approved instructor.
Lutheran Theology and Practice
Through self-directed study and classroom discussion, students will investigate the pertinent historical, theological, and governmental documents of Lutheranism. This course is designed to meet the ordination requirements of the various branches of the Lutheran tradition (ECLA, MS, LCMC, etc.). Taught by denominationally-approved instructors.
History and Polity of the Free Methodist Church
Through self-directed study and classroom discussion, students will investigate the pertinent historical, theological, and governmental documents of the Free Methodist Church of North America. This course is designed to meet the ordination requirements for the Free Methodist Church.
Doctrine, History, and Polity of the American Baptist Church
Through self-directed study and classroom discussion, students will investigate the pertinent historical, theological, and governmental documents of the American Baptist Church. This course is designed to meet the ordination requirements of the American Baptist Church. Taught by a denominationally-approved instructor.
Doctrine, History, and Polity of the Nazarene Church
Through self-directed study and classroom discussion, students will investigate the pertinent historical, theological, and governmental documents of the Nazarene Church. This course is designed to meet the ordination requirements of the Nazarene Church. Taught by a denominationally-approved instructor.
Doctrine, History, and Polity of the Presbyterian Church
Through self-directed study and classroom discussion, students will investigate the pertinent historical, theological, and governmental documents of the Presbyterian Church, PC (USA). This course is designed to meet the ordination requirements of the Presbyterian Church. Taught by a denominationally-approved instructor.
Fundamentals of Transformational Leadership
This course explores the process by which God calls and prepares people for leadership and gives attention to the development of the inner life and character of an effective leader. The course will contribute to the student’s self-understanding and the identification and appreciation of personal and professional strengths. In addition, attention will be given to clarifying personal leadership vulnerabilities and developing a plan for life-long growth as a leader. Students will clarify their personal ministry values and priorities and reflect on the nature of ethical decision making in leadership. Beyond self-leadership, students will consider the fundamentals of transformational leadership including the principles of communication and the constructive use of criticism and resistance. Transformational theory will be presented and illustrated through the use of case studies.
This course examines the history, theology, and practice of Christian worship from an ecumenical perspective. It surveys major features of worship, including the Christian calendar, word and sacrament, the role of music, liturgical space, and occasional services. In addition to classical patterns, the course discusses contemporary trends in worship, including the liturgical renewal movement, charismatic and neo-Pentecostal influences, and the seeker-service movement. The aim of the course is to guide the student in building a foundation for the ministry of worship planning and leadership. This course fulfills the United Methodist Worship and Liturgy requirement for students preparing for United Methodist ordination.
Care and Counsel
This course surveys the scope and practice of pastoral care. Employing the analogy of a physician’s care for the physical body, the course seeks to develop proficiencies necessary in the pastor’s responsibility to care for the spiritual person. Among the issues explored, specific attention is given to spiritual direction, pastoral counsel and counseling skills, crisis ministries, care of the dying, development of Christian community, and social justice as pastoral care.
This course explores the theology and practice of the Church’s ministry of evangelism and discipleship as both personal and corporate practices. The course focuses on Christian identity in the midst of religious plurality and the ethical and spiritual requirements of Christian life and witness. In this course students will develop an approach to evangelism and discipleship that is a natural expression of the Christian faith, rooted in the truth of Scripture, and appropriate to changing cultural contexts. This course fulfills the Evangelism in the Wesleyan Tradition requirement for students preparing for United Methodist ordination.
Rooted in a Christological model of biblical servanthood, this course examines the role of the leader in the organizational development. Topics of study include personal leadership, team building, board and staff development, and the identification, training, and empowering of others to achieve organizational goals and objectives. The course explores strategies for achieving both missional faithfulness and organizational effectiveness with a focus on developing leadership capacity within the organization. In addition, attention will be given to understanding approaches to creating cultural change within churches and organizations to foster institutional vitality and longevity.
Teaching the Bible
This course focuses on the educational ministry of the church and the practice of teaching the Bible as God’s Word. Students will develop skills in teaching, curriculum planning and evaluation, and communicating God’s word to people of all ages. Opportunity will be given to improve teaching skills through in-class practice.
This course will trace the move from text to sermon and aid students in the study, shaping, and presentation of sermons which follow Scripture. The course will require at least two preaching experiences. The beginning stages of the class will examine the spiritual life of the minister, with a particular focus on prayer, and then move to the study and exegesis of individual biblical passages. The class will then study the transition from text to sermon, with special attention to the sermon having a form which fits the form of the biblical passage. The class will conclude with work on effective public presentation.
This course provides students with an overview of the complexities of the specialized role of chaplains within a variety of contexts including: healthcare and correctional facilities, schools, fire and police departments and the military. Students will consider topics such as the history of the profession and the professional identity of chaplains, ministry within complex institutional systems, assessing individual spiritual needs, expanding cultural competence, faith as it relates to ethical decision-making, and providing pastoral and emotional/spiritual support to others, as well as caring for staff and caregivers. In addition, students will be introduced to the various competencies expected of board-certified chaplains and will explore the regulations related to healthcare privacy. Students will have the opportunity to expand their understanding of the importance of research in ministry and the need to develop self-care practices. The course will include presentations from chaplains serving in a variety of settings and will enable the student to compare the uniqueness and commonalities of ministry within each context. Offered on demand.
Ministry in a Multifaith World
This course explores the global character of the church and the practice of ministry in the multifaith and multicultural context of contemporary society. Attention is given to the wide diversity of religious traditions present in the potential ministry settings and considers how the church can serve with faithfulness and respect in a religiously pluralistic culture. Students will have the opportunity to develop their theological convictions in dialog with other religious traditions and gain skills in interfaith engagement as an expression of their Christian discipleship. This course is cross-listed as THE 633NE. Offered on demand.
Introduction to Military Chaplaincy
This course will introduce the student to the military culture, its customs, and their importance for ministry. Within this context, the students will learn how to integrate their ministry into their assigned unit’s mission along with the Chaplain’s Military School Training. In particular, the student will learn the importance of the Commander’s Master Religion Program (CMRP) and how to complete it for the Commander’s approval. A spiritual assessment will be introduced to assist the student/Chaplain to ascertain the needs of the Soldiers. Resiliency Training will also be provided along with approved marriage programs such as the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP). Offered on demand.
Moral injury is a term used to describe extreme and unprecedented life experience including the harmful aftermath of exposure to such events. In the Armed Forces, it focuses on the trauma of those who experience deep inner wounds created by an incongruity between their actions and convictions of right and wrong. This course will examine the differences between moral injury and PTSD and other frequent diagnoses related to trauma experienced in the military. Focus will then be given to the nature and devastating effects of moral injury along with ways to identify and enter its brokenness in order to move toward health and wholeness. Offered on demand.
Ministry to the Dying and Bereaved
This course seeks to develop pastoral leadership skills to provide spiritual care to those experiencing loss and grief. The course focuses on the role of the minister in providing understanding, guidance, and support to children and young, middle, and senior adults. Strategies for helping people of all ages cope with loss and grief will be discussed. Cultural practices relative to funerals, graveside services, viewing, cremation, and hospital visitation will be explored. Participants will develop listening skills and the ability to interpret and use Scripture appropriately within the context of loss. Offered on demand.
Contemporary Ethical Issues
This course is designed to help those in, or entering, ministry to understand better their own ethical perspective and apply it to significant ethical questions facing society today. Issues to be covered include: approaches to ethical decision-making (both general and explicitly Christian), bioethical issues (reproductive technology, genetic screening, and physician-assisted suicide), social issues (pornography, sexual harassment), and business issues (job discrimination, capitalism). This course is cross-listed as SOC 649NE. Offered on demand.
Bioethics and Ministry in the 21st Century
Human cloning is very near. Healthcare rationing is an increasing reality. Comfort care for the dying increasingly hastens death. This course is designed to help those currently in, or entering, ministry to understand better their own ethical perspective (their own general approach to ethical decision-making) and how this perspective applies to bioethical tensions such as those mentioned above. Students will have the opportunity to prepare and present a detailed analysis of an ethical issue they perceive to be of particular social significance. This course is cross-listed as SOC 650NE. Offered on demand.
Navigating the Minefield of the Parish: Conflict in the Local Church
How should church leaders respond when a member, a sub-group, or the entire congregation “gets mad” at them? What should they do when members of the church or the staff are fighting among themselves? What can leaders do when the congregation gets upset with the ecclesiastical hierarchy outside the local church? The church leader’s role as referee, mediator, and conciliator will be examined in this seminar, as well as their personal involvement as participant or bystander, and (most importantly) as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Offered on demand.
The Fantasy Literature of Tolkien and Lewis
This course will look at fantasy works by both authors, and Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy-Stories” will provide the critical context and language for the discussion of these works. Among Tolkien’s works that will be examined are The Fellowship of the Ring; Smith of Wootton Major; and Farmer Giles of Ham. Among Lewis’s works that will be studied are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Great Divorce; and Till We Have Faces. The students will examine the relationship between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches during the first half of the 20th century and will consider themes of good and evil, temptation, mercy, and redemption in Tolkien’s and Lewis’s writings as well as biblical and mythological influences on their texts.
Willow Creek Leadership Summit
Through attendance at the annual Willow Creek Leadership Summit Conference and a post-summit class meeting, this course will provide exposure to core, cutting edge principles of leadership being practiced in modern culture and will facilitate a biblical and theological examination of each. Course reading assignments, instruction and dialog with the professor, and a major final paper will enable the students to critique current leadership styles and discern their appropriateness in Christian life and ministry. This course may be substituted for a Transformational Leadership Competency elective by petition.
Strategic Planning for Churches and Nonprofit Organizations
This course reviews the reasons why churches and nonprofit organizations should embrace strategic planning as a way of improving their performance. It presents an effective strategic planning process that has been successfully used by leaders of nonprofit organizations. The course is comprised of a set of concepts, procedures, and tools that can help leaders enhance organizational achievement. Overall, the course is based on the premise that leaders of churches and nonprofit organizations must be effective strategists in order to fulfill their missions.
This course explores steps that pastors can take to lead a congregation from maintenance to a missional focus. The course pre-supposes that renewal is a personal and corporate spiritual journey that leaders and congregations undertake in order to realize their full potential in God’s redemptive work. The outlined approach to experiencing renewal is biblical, systematic, and intentional. The course will cover topics such as clarifying a missional theology, developing a corporate identity, assessing organizational preparedness for change, cultivating a healthy congregational climate, building supportive relationships among leaders, focusing on redemptive outreach, preparing for change, and celebrating God’s faithfulness. The course will explore the current research on the status of the American church, noting commonly held variables among declining congregations and among those congregations that have experienced renewal. This compare and contrast approach will enable students to develop their own strategic plan to bring congregational members together for more effective outreach to their community.
Leadership Integration Seminar
This course serves as the capstone experience for the M.A. in Transformational Leadership program. Students will synthesize and apply what they have learned in the program by developing a comprehensive leadership strategy for their ministry settings. This strategy statement will include such key areas as theological foundations for leadership, self-leadership, strategic planning, leading change, team building and resource allocation. The presentation and discussion of these leadership documents will provide a collaborative learning experience at the culmination of the course.
Independent Study in Christian Ministry
Under the guidance of a faculty member, the student is given the opportunity to investigate additional areas of Christian ministry – current and historical.
[Prerequisite: advisor and faculty approval required and a GPA of 3.0]
M.A. Thesis in Ministry Studies
This course is a research option for M.A. students in the field of ministry studies. Students wishing to pursue thesis work must file a written petition with academic services formally requesting this degree completion method prior to registering for the course. (Students who have not completed the thesis project by the end of the semester will automatically be registered for RES 799NE-Continuation of Registration for Master’s Thesis, and charged a $250 fee every subsequent semester until the completion of the master’s thesis.)
Advanced Seminar in Biblical Preaching
This course is intended to enhance the communication skills of students who have had some experience in preaching. Topics of study include the development of sermons that are both biblical and relevant, creativity and clarity in preaching, effective delivery, special occasion preaching, and the life of the preacher. Designed as a practicum experience, this course will provide the student with opportunities for in-class presentation and critique.
MIN 731NE, 732NE, 733NE, 734NE
This sequence of four courses will provide the student with hands-on professional training from capable practitioners and educators. Students will develop professional understanding and competence in ministry. Each course provides time for on-site training, personal and peer-reflection, and classroom instruction. Personal and spiritual formation is a continuing aspect of field education.
Cross-Cultural Social Work Course in China
In conjunction with the social work division of Roberts Wesleyan College, this course can be taken for 3 hours of credit or used for one unit of the field education requirement. During the 2-week trip to China, students will be ministering to orphaned children in a government run orphanage for a 5-day period, and then will go to Beijing to an American managed foster home. The goal of the course is learning about the plight of orphaned children in China, recognizing that the needs of orphaned children exceed the bounds of the United States. This is a life changing course in which classes bond together in Christian fellowship as they meet daily for devotions and debriefing. Students will be responsible for all additional travel costs and should plan accordingly through financial aid and/or personal means.
International Field Education
This course is designed to accommodate students who wish to participate in an independent mission’s trip or ministry tour and utilize the experience for field education credit. Trips must be approved by the director of field education who will assign additional readings and course assignments to be completed prior to travel. The student is responsible for all travel costs and fees in addition to the tuition for this course. To register for MIN 736, the student must complete the Application for Credit for Non-Classroom Course.
M.Div. Integration Seminar
This course is designed to serve as the capstone to the M.Div. degree. The goal is to conduct a review of the student’s learning experience throughout the program. The student’s reflections and analysis are integrated into the preparation of a written ministry plan and professional portfolio. Additional goals: provide written and oral defense of the student’s theological approach to identified ecclesiastical and ministerial concerns and issues; reflect on current and future financial planning; identify conflict management styles and learn adaptive methodology; reflect on personal and professional growth in the areas of community building, spiritual formation, and engagement with culture.
This course is a research option for M.Div. students. When approved by NES faculty, it takes the place of M.Div. electives. Students will design a research project in some area of Christian ministry.
[Prerequisites: faculty permission; offered in the third year of the M.Div. by petition only] [Corequisite: must be taken in conjunction with RES 690NE]