Terry L. Cross, Dean
School of Religion
Bob Bayles, Interim Chairperson
Department of Christian Ministries
Lisa Milligan Long, Director
Graduate Studies in Christian Ministries
Joshua J. Black, Executive Director
Division of Adult Learning
Purpose and Philosophy
The primary purpose of the M.A. in Ministry Studies is to provide training for ministers in light of a growing consensus that ministers in the twenty-first century need more training to be effective in vocational ministry. The program utilizes a modular format that will allow working adults to complete the program with little interruption in their vocational duties. The scope of the program will allow both clergy and lay members to complete a graduate degree in ministerial studies which will positively affect their practice of ministry. The degree prepares students in the foundational theory and praxis of ministry as well as in the social and psychological contexts of the people to whom they will minister. Interdisciplinary in nature, this program presents the foundations and skills of ministry for pastoral staff ministry (e.g. family pastors, youth pastors, lead pastors, worship pastors) and parachurch staff (e.g. non-profit organizations, discipleship associations, social service providers). The program offers a core of 18 hours of general ministry courses and three emphases for specialization: Leadership Studies, Worship Studies and Youth and Family Ministry Studies.
The overall goal of the program is to provide advanced understanding of ministry issues in order to prepare men and women seeking to fulfill their calling to vocational ministry in both church and parachurch settings.
Emphases within the program will attain the following goals:
- Leadership: The leadership studies track will outline key elements in leading organizations; develop a basic knowledge of leadership; acquaint students with a development model for equipping and training followers; focus on the minister’s personal life (e.g., value systems, morals, ethics) as it relates to leadership; and on leading through motivation, communication and conflict leadership (which includes conflict management and resolution).
- Practical Theology: The practical theological studies emphasis provides training in biblical and theological studies specifically for use in ministry contexts. the intent of the emphasis is to provide both enhanced knowledge and successful methods for biblical, theological and liturgical study to enhance the student’s practice of ministry.
- Worship: The worship studies emphasis is not intended to provide musical skills to the novice worship leader. Rather, the focus of the degree is on exploring the theological and historical foundations of worship in the Christian Church in conversation with contemporary practices of worship. The intent is to enhance the worship leader’s musical ability with a theologically sound understanding of worship, as well as the skills for theological reflection and cultural analysis that are vital for ministry in the 21st century.
- Youth/Family: The youth and family studies emphasis enables men and women to minister effectively to children, youth and families in contemporary culture, via exploration of the biblical and theological foundations of ministry, the foundational theories and praxis of ministry, and the social and psychological contexts of the people to whom they will minister.
- There are two levels of admissions status. The first level is for those who have a bachelor’s degree or minor in religion, theology, Bible or practical ministry areas from an accredited college or university. The second level is for those who have a bachelor’s degree in an area other than those listed above.
- Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in religion or practical ministry areas from an accredited university, college, or Bible college, may apply for acceptance into the first level of admission. This level requires 36 hours for completion as outlined in the Program of Study cited above. Accreditation must be from a regional accrediting association or from ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education). If the applicant’s education is from outside the United States, each applicant’s transcripts and status of his/her school will be evaluated by the admissions committee and the Director of Graduate Programs in Christian Ministries.
- Applicants without a bachelor’s degree in religion or practical ministry areas may apply for acceptance into the second level of admission. This level requires up to 48 hours for completion. The Director of Graduate Programs in Christian Ministries may require as many as 12 hours of work in biblical, theological, historical, or practical studies at the graduate level (500 level). The Director will prepare a plan of courses for the applicant in order to make up for any deficiencies in his/her religion background. Students admitted at this second level will take the same 36 hours as those admitted at the first level, but will also take courses along with these in order to provide a deeper background in religious studies. Applicants who believe they can demonstrate equivalency for religious work or study should petition the Director of Graduate Programs in Christian Ministries for consideration. It should be noted that in no case does Lee University grant life experience as “credit” for coursework.
- Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts of credit earned at all institutions of higher education.
- A preferred GPA of 2.75 in undergraduate studies.
- An essay of about 1,000 words which will provide the Director of Graduate Programs in Christian Ministries and the Admissions Committee with a description of the candidate’s future goals. Included in the essay should be a discussion of the following components:
- a description of one’s calling
- a summary of one’s past and current involvement in the life of the local church
- future ministry goals with the use of this degree.
- An interview, either by phone or in person, with the Director of Graduate Programs in Christian Ministries or a designated faculty member of the program. In addition to two letters of reference from professors familiar with your work, a letter of reference from your pastor or ministry supervisor is required.
- 36 graduate-level credit hours.
- Final Project or Comprehensive Examination
- A minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program.
- The degree must be completed within 6 years of its inception. Exceptions to this will be evaluated by the M.A. Committee for the Department of Christian Ministries.
Students will have a choice between two means of demonstrating final competency of M.A. Ministry Studies program material. The student will select to enroll in either the Final Project course or the Comprehensive Exam course.
A. FINAL PROJECT: The final project should be completed in one semester. If a student is unable to complete the final project during the semester in which they are enrolled in the emphasis-specific final project course (MLDR590, MPTS590, MWST590, MYFM590), there are two options for completion. Regardless of the option chosen, the student will receive an “F” grade in the final project course. NOTE: A grade of “I” (Incomplete) will only be assigned if the student encounters some personal difficulty such as a severe illness or an extreme family emergency. A grade of “I” will not be given in order to allow the student additional time to complete the final project.
Final Project Completion Option 1
The student will enroll in MMST591 Final Project Extension. This is a one credit-hour course and will be ineligible for financial aid. MMST591 will be assessed with a P/F grade. A grade of “P” will only be assigned upon indication of regular and substantive interaction with the final project reader. Successful completion of the final project will result in the changing of the “F” on the final project course (MLDR590, MPTS590, MWST590, MYFM590) to the appropriate passing grade. Failure to complete the final project after 3 enrollments in MMST591 will require the student to reenroll in the emphasis-specific final project course.
Final Project Completion Option 2
The student may elect to retake the final project course (MLDR590, MPTS590, MWST590, MYFM590). The retaking of the final project course will be billed to the student at the rate of three credit-hours. The retaking of the final project course may be eligible for financial aid, if the student is otherwise deemed eligible. Successful completion of the final project will be reflected on the final project course. If the student is once again unable to successfully complete the final project course the student may either retake the course or move to Option 1.
B. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION: The Comprehensive Examination course is intended to provide an alternative means for students to successfully conclude their studies in the M.A. Ministry Studies program. If a student fails the Comprehensive Exam on the first attempt, he or she will have the opportunity to retake the exam. If the student fails a second time, she or he will be dismissed from the program.
Non-degree Seeking and Special Students
Students may register for non-degree or special status without being formally admitted into candidacy in the M.A. in Ministry Studies Program. Such students may take a total of nine credit hours from courses offered in the program.
Exchange Credits Between On-Campus and Online Programs
Students enrolled in the on-campus or online M.A. in Ministry Studies degree program must take the majority of coursework in the specific program in which they are enrolled (either on-campus MINST.MA or online MINOL.MA). Students may, however, elect to take up to 9 credit hours of coursework in the other program’s delivery format. Specifically, on-campus MINST.MA students may take 9 credit hours in online format and online MINOL.MA students may take 9 credit hours in the on-campus format. No special form or permission is required for the 9 credit hours, but the student should speak to her/his advisor prior to scheduling the course.
A student may transfer up to six credit hours from an approved graduate institution or seminary. The courses must have been in areas related to the curriculum of the program and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs in Christian Ministries. To remain in compliance with university graduate program standards, any grades considered for transfer must be a “B” or better. In addition, transfer students need to be interviewed by the director before admittance into the program.
The M.A. Committee for the Graduate Program in Ministry Studies
Under the supervision of the Department of Christian Ministries and the Dean of the School of Religion, the M.A. Committee for the Graduate Program in Ministry Studies forms the Admissions Committee for this program. It also oversees the program and its development, offering changes to the Department of Christian Ministries and the Graduate Council of the university.