Courses

The Master of Divinity program helps students grow as Gracious Christians, Faithful Teachers, and Pastoral Leaders by equipping students with practical, hands-on skills and the analytical abilities to be effective agents of change in their workplaces and communities.

 


Become a pastoral leader who empowers God’s people to actively participate in God’s mission of restoring wholeness

The habits, attitudes, and skills you will develop in the Pastoral Ministry courses include:

  • The ability to use scriptural and theological reflection faithfully in contexts of pastoral ministry.
  • A missional understanding of the church and the ability to discern the social and cultural trends that inform a congregation’s vision and sense of purpose.
  • An aptitude for shaping healthy worshiping communities that draw new people into participation.
  • The ability to cultivate and communicate a compelling vision for ministry.

Become a faithful interpreter and communicator of God's Word in the context of God's world

 

The habits, attitudes, and skills you will develop in the Biblical Interpretation courses include:

  • An understanding of the Bible within its cultural and historical contexts.
  • The ability to interpret and use Scripture in a variety of ministry contexts.
  • The ability to identify contemporary cultural and social concerns and the way they are illuminated and critiqued by the Gospel.
  • An aptitude for preaching and teaching Scripture and a commitment to the education of new generations in the faith.

 


Become a gracious participant in the worldwide, multi-ethnic, multi-generational Christian communion.

The habits, attitudes, and skills you will develop in the Great Conversation courses include:

  • A commitment to the primacy of Scripture for Christian faith and life.
  • The ability to articulate the development of church doctrine over time and the contributions of particular Christian traditions and communities.
  • Attentiveness to God’s active presence in one’s own life, the lives of others, and the world.
  • The ability to listen and learn from the whole church by critically engaging global voices in theology.
  • Capacity for engagement in practices of solidarity and social justice through Gospel witness in the world.

Course Descriptions

Pastoral Ministry | Choose 18 Credits*

MIN 621 | Worship | 3 Credits

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 meets the requirements for students preparing for United Methodist ordination.  

MIN 624 | Care and Counsel | 3 Credits

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.

MIN 625 | Sharing Christ | 3 Credits

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 meets the requirements for students preparing for United Methodist ordination.

MIN 675 | Renewing Congregations | 3 Credits

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.

PSF 611 | Pastoral Formation | 3 Credits

Building on a foundation of the central pastoral acts of prayer, Scripture reading, and spiritual direction, this course seeks to assist the student in the development of a method for ongoing theological reflection in ministry. Among the issues explored are the spiritual and theological foundations of pastoral work, the discovery of a pastoral identity, the meaning of ordination, and the office and functions of the pastor.

Pastoral Ministry Elective | 3 Credits

Choose any MIN or PSF elective or complete an additional field education placement.

Biblical Interpretation | Choose 18 Credits*

BIB 511 | Introduction to Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching | 3 Credits

This course introduces students to responsible interpretation (or “exegesis”) of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments). The course focuses on the hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Students will be introduced to the process of exegesis, applying each step in the process to two significant biblical passages (one Old Testament and one New Testament). Significant attention will also be paid to researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church.

BIB 515 | New Testament Epistles | 3 Credits

This course focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed on one or more New Testament Epistles as case studies in exegesis. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church. This course may be repeated if topic differs.

BIB 516 | New Testament Gospels | 3 Credits

This course focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed on a New Testament Gospel as a case study in exegesis. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church. This course may be repeated if topic differs.

BIB 517 | Old Testament Narrative | 3 Credits

This course focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed Old Testament narratives as case studies in exegesis. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church. This course may be repeated if topic differs.

BIB 518 | Old Testament Poetry | 3 Credits

This course focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed on Old Testament poetic and prophetic books as case studies in exegesis. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church. This course may be repeated if topic differs.

GRK 510 | Biblical Greek I | 3 Credits

This course takes a unique approach to introducing New Testament Greek to those preparing for ministry in the 21st century. A basic assumption underlying this approach to the introduction of New Testament Greek is that the student’s goal is not to teach Greek as a scholar, but to use it in the study of the New Testament as a minister. The focus in this course is on gaining a conceptual understanding of New Testament Greek, not on memorizing all the paradigms, specific details, “rules”, and “exceptions” involved. Students will be required to memorize a basic vocabulary.

HEB 510 | Biblical Hebrew I | 3 Credits

This course takes a unique approach to introducing Old Testament Hebrew to those preparing for ministry in the 21st century. A basic assumption underlying this approach to the introduction of Old Testament Hebrew is that the student’s goal is not to teach Hebrew as a scholar, but to use it in the study of the Old Testament as a minister. The focus in this course is to gain a conceptual understanding of Old Testament Hebrew, not on memorizing all the paradigms, specific details, “rules”, and “exceptions” involved. Students will be required to memorize a basic vocabulary.

MIN 630 | Preaching | 3 Credits

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.  

Great Conversation | 18 Credits

BHT 521 | Being in the Story | 3 Credits

The entire biblical story or metanarrative stretching from creation to eschaton articulates a vision of God’s intentions for this world, beginning with creation, and continuing after the fall, as the Creator works through Israel, Jesus, and the church for the world’s redemption, until that day when there will be a new heaven and new earth, in which righteousness dwells. This narrative vision of the missio Dei provides a non-negotiable framework within which we live out our faith.

A clear understanding of this biblical vision is of great value for interpreting individual biblical texts, especially for those engaged in pastoral leadership, which typically involves interpreting Scripture in various contexts. Without a solid grasp of the foundational biblical vision of reality we are in danger of (mis)reading Scripture in light of our own contemporary assumptions. This course, therefore, aims to help Christian leaders grasp the basic contours of the overarching story the Scriptures tell, with a focus on exploring the logic of salvation as holistic—for the whole person, and even the entire created order.

BHT 522 | Being in the Word | 3 Credits

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are crucial to the life and ministry of all followers of Christ. They are central to the preaching and teaching ministry of the church. Furthermore, the Scriptures undergird our ethics at work and home. They reveal to us the nature of God, what it means to be fully human, and our role in the mission of God. But in order for Scripture to play the formative role that it is designed to play, we must know these Scriptures well. Moreover, to know these Scriptures well we must understand the context in which they were composed. This is true not only of the popular books of the Bible, but also for the parts of the Bible that are often ignored.  This class will the introduce students to the Bible in all its complex and multifaceted glory. Students will gain an understanding of the major sections of the Bible (the Torah, the histories, the Psalter, the Prophets, The Gospels, the Letters of Paul, etc). They will discern the major themes in these texts and their relevance for ministry in the 21st century. They will also discuss issues of authorship, setting, and the major interpretative approaches to these texts throughout church history. The goal is to open up the whole Bible as a resource for ministry and spiritual formation.

BHT 523 | Being Human | 3 Credits

What does the fact that God became incarnate as a human being in Jesus Christ reveal about God’s priorities for what it means for us to be human persons? What do the Christian scriptures and the historic church have to say about what it means to be human? How do we nurture and attend to our basic human qualities in imitation of our Lord Christ?

This course will lead students through an exploration of what Christianity has to uniquely contribute to the conversation of what it means to “be human.” It will assist students in developing a framework for discerning and integrating formational insights from various fields of study that contribute to human flourishing, emphasizing that to do so is to attend to and cooperate with the redemptive work of the Holy Trinity. It will also provide students with opportunities to explore and reflect on classic Christian practices of nurturing attentiveness to and cooperation with God’s work in their own lives and in the world at large.

BHT 524 | Being Christian | 3 Credits

Reflecting on the formative era of the Christian church, this course takes up the conversation about what it means to be and to become Christian. Much like today, the early church found itself in a religiously plural context, which shaped the development of Christian identity. In this course, students will consider how Scripture, context, and spirituality shaped early Christian communities, the formation of doctrine through early church councils, and the ways in which these conversations continue to shape the church throughout the world today.

BHT 525 | Being Church | 3 Credits

In this course students enter into the ongoing conversation on the nature of God’s restorative grace in human life, with a particular focus on the church as the people of God. Through a focus on the theological perspectives of the Catholic and Protestant Reformations and the Great Awakening, the course moves toward contemporary understandings and application of such questions as how people come into a restored relationship with God and what it means to be to people of God in today’s world.

BHT 526 | Being Mission | 3 Credits

Dietrich Bonhoeffer posed a question to the church of the early twentieth century:  “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” This perennial question shaped Bonhoeffer’s ecclesiology and understanding of church mission.  This same question provides the course framework for exploring God’s call to the church from the nineteenth century through our time.  The course is organized around conversations focused on the relationship of historical theology, church mission, and culture.

Reflections on current trends, and exploration for application to student church context are a central theme of the course.  Within these course conversations are topics that are revisited in each century and unit of study. These themes include: racial and gender identity, social change movements, the relationships of worship and service, spirituality, ecumenism, and church leadership.  Strategies for understanding these historical theological themes include reading primary texts that bring “alive” the conversations that were occurring during these time periods. Emphasis is on critical analysis and interpretation of the central Christological question, and application to contemporary church mission.

Elective Competency | 18 Credits

Elective Options

Specialize your degree by completing a focused elective competency in Advanced Biblical Studies, Spiritual Formation, Theology and Social Justice, Transformational Leadership, or create your own when you choose select courses from each of these concentrations.

Additional Courses | 8 Credits

Integrative Capstone | 2 Credits

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 in the curriculum, required and elective courses, PSF program, and field education. 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.

Contextual Ministry | 6 Credits

Field education courses 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.

Total Credits: 80

*Course selections must meet requirements for graduation. You will choose courses through academic advising.