M.Div Degree

Program Overview

The three-level M.Div. program consists of 76 credit hours of work using a competency-based learning process in the eight areas of ministry shown below. Level I and II are two, four, six and eight weeks long. Most are taught online; intensive residential modules are taught in 10 day sessions or on a long weekend. Rather than an accumulation of hours, this program requires that students demonstrate abilities through competency exercises and a capstone project. Students are in a ministry site 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 spiritual, intellectual and practical aspects of pastoral ministry.

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 Scripture for the Church Leading the Church Through Care
Interpreting Faith for the Church Leading the Church in Worship
Interpreting the Church’s Behavior Leading the Church into Mission
Interpreting the Past for the Church Leading the Church in Formation


Level 1 – Apprentice Level

The M.Div. curriculum is designed around a mentor-apprentice model. During the first or 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 are short courses lasting from two to six weeks. Level I courses are graded as pass/fail except for M.A. & M.A.P.S. degree students.

2 weeks = .5 credit; 4 weeks = 1 credit; 6 weeks = 1.5 credits

Competency Exercise When a M.Div. 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 four, integrative Competency Exercises, she/he will then be eligible to take nine, 2-hour electives in the Journeyer Level. 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.



Level 1 – Apprentice Level                                                                              Credit Hours

• Succeeding in Seminary                                                                                              2

Areas of Ministry

• Interpreting the Scriptures for the Church                                                          10

• Interpreting the Past for the Church                                                                       4

• Interpreting the Faith for the Church                                                                     10

• Interpreting the Behavior of the Church                                                               4

• Leading the Church through Care                                                                            6

• Leading the Church in Worship                                                                                 6

• Leading the Church into Mission                                                                              6

• Leading the Church in Formation                                                                            4

Total for Apprentice Level ____ _______________________                 _ 50

Level II – Journeyer Level

• Nine 2 hour electives                                                                                                 18

Level III – Master Level

• Capstone Project                                                                                                            6

C0venant Groups                              ________________________________2


Total Credit hours for M.Div. Degree                                            76



Level 1 – Apprentice Level

COVENANT GROUPS ______________________________ __________ 2 credit hours

Students will participate in a total of four Covenant Groups: two Covenant Groups while taking modules before their Competency exercises are completed, one while at the Journeyer Level, and one while completing the Capstone Project.

Level I – Apprentice

• CG 510 Covenant Group                                                                                                       .5 cr.

• CG 520 Covenant Group                                                                                                       .5 cr.

Level II – Journeyer

• CG 620 Covenant Group                                                                                                        .5 cr.

Level III – Master: Capstone Project

• CG 720 Covenant Group                                                                                                        .5 cr.



Level 1 – Apprentice Level

SUCCEEDING IN SEMINARY (SIS) (Required for degree students) _____2 credit hours

• SIS 570 The Three Rs of Seminary: Reading, Writing & Research                          1 cr.

• SIS 571 The Two Ps of Seminary: Prayer & Praxis                                                         1 cr.


IS 500 Requires Modules ____             _________________________ 7cr.

• IS 520 The Origin, Inspiration, and Authority                                                                 .5cr
of the Church’s Scripture (self-standing)
[must be taken within first 3hrs. of IS Modules]

• IS 540 Reading the Torah in the Church Today                                                                1 cr.

• IS 541 Reading the Prophets in the Church Today                                                         1 cr.

• IS 542 Reading the Deuteronomic histories                                                                     .5 cr.
(and Wisdom Literature) in the Church Today

• IS 553 Preparing to help the Church read                                                                         .5 cr.
the New Testament for Today

• IS 554 The Gospels as Resources for the Church                                                            1 cr.

• IS 556 Pauline Letters as Resources for the Church                                                     1 cr.

• IS 560 Exegesis for the Church                                                                                               1.5 cr.

IS 500 Optional Modules1.5cr.

M.Div. Prerequisite for Elective Modules: at least one of
the required courses in the testament the course addresses.

• IS 570 Creation and Science                                                                                                 .5 cr.

• IS 571 Wisdom Literature                                                                                                        .5 cr.

• IS 572 The Catholic Epistles                                                                                                    .5 cr.

• IS 573 Acts of the Apostles                                                                                                   .5 cr.

• IS 574 The NT (or Paul) and Women                                                                                   .5 cr.

• IS 575 Feminist Readings                                                                                                           .5 cr.

• IS 576 Reading the Bible in the Black Church                                                                   .5 cr.

• IS 577 Reading the Bible in the Hispanic Church                                                          .5 cr.

• IS 578 Liberationist Readings of the Bible                                                                        .5 cr.

• IS 579 Leadership in the Bible                                                                                               .5 cr.

• IS 580 Reading the Hebrew Bible during Advent                                                          .5 cr.

• IS 581 Reading the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in the broader                            .5cr
religious and civic community

• IS 582 Reading the Gospels in Advent                                                                              .5 cr.

• IS 583 Reading the Bible in Lent                                                                                           .5 cr.

IS 590 COMPETENCY EXERCISE                                                                               1 credit


Level 1 – Apprentice Level

INTERPRETING THE PAST FOR THE CHURCH (IP)                                             4 credit hours

IP 500 REQUIRED MODULES                                                                                      2 credits

• IP 550 Early and Medieval Western church – 100 – 15th Century                                   1 cr.

• IP 551 From Reform to Individualistic Freedom:                                                                    1 cr.
16th – 20th Century Western Church

IP 500 OPTIONAL MODULES                                                                                                1.5 credits

• IP 570 Disciples History (Some Regions require this course)                                              1 cr.

• IP 571 Church and the Enlightenment (or Science)                                                                  .5 cr.

• IP 572 Church and Post-modern Society                                                                                        .5 cr.

• IP 573 The Ecumenical Movement                                                                                                    .5 cr.

• IP 574 Church’s engagement with social issues in the 19th and 20th century              .5 cr.

• IP 575 The Church’s move to the Southern Hemisphere                                                         .5 cr.

• IP 576 The Church in Mexico                                                                                                             .5 cr.

• IP 577 The Church and Race Relations in America                                                                   .5 cr.

• IP 578 The Church and the Holocaust                                                                                           .5 cr.

• IP 579 Women in the Church                                                                                                             .5 cr.

• IP 580 The Church in North America                                                                                            .5 cr.

• IP 581 Current Challenges to Church examined historically                                              .5 cr.

IP 590 COMPETENCY EXERCISE                                                                                                  .5 credit


Level 1 – Apprentice Level

INTERPRETING FAITH FOR THE CHURCH (IF)                                                   10 credit hours

IF 500 REQUIRED MODULES                                                                                                  7.5 credits

• IF 550 Theology and Theological Language                                                                        1 cr.
(Prerequisite for all other modules)

• IF 552 Theology of sermons                                                                                                       .5 cr.

• IF 553 Made in the Image of God: Theological Anthropology                                         1 cr.

• IF 554 The Nature of God: Theology                                                                                          1 cr.

• IF 555 “One Bread, One Body”: Theology of the Church                                                    1 cr.

• IF 556 “Who do you say that I am?”: Christology                                                                1 cr.

• IF 557 Theology and Pastoral Care: Discussing Suffering and Hope                           1 cr.

• IF 558 God Save Us: Soteriology                                                                                                 1 cr.

IF 500 OPTIONAL MODULES                                                                                                      1.5 credits

• IF 559 Beyond the Pulpit: Teaching Theology in the Church                                           .5 cr.

• IF 570 The Church and Homosexuality                                                                                     1 cr.

• IF 571 African-American/Womanist Theology                                                                    .5 cr.

• IF 572 Caring for Creation: “Greening” the Church                                                            .5 cr.

• IF 573 Preaching Metaphor                                                                                                          .5 cr.

• IF 574 Theology of Nondenominational Churches                                                              .5 cr.

•IF 575 World Christianities                                                                                                              .5 cr.

• IF 576 One God Three Names: Understanding                                                                        1cr.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam

IF 590 COMPETENCY EXERCISE                                                                                                1 credit


Level 1 – Apprentice Level

INTERPRETING THE CHURCH’S BEHAVIOR (IB)                                                       4 credit hours

IB 500 REQUIRED INSTRUCTIONAL MODULES (IB)                                                       3 credits

• IB 551 Ethical Forms: deontological, utilitarian, teleological, etc.                                               1cr.

• IB 552 God and Science: Introduction to Issues in Biomedical Ethics                                        1cr.

• IB 553 Social Ethics                                                                                                                                           1cr.

IB 500 OPTIONAL MODULES                                                                                                                         .5 credits

• IB 571 Ethics and Popular Culture: What Television Teaches Laity                                          .5 cr.

• IB 572 Christian Sexual Ethics: Black and White Churches in Dialogue                                      1 cr.

• IB 573 Ethics of Ancient Israel: Exploring the World of the Hebrew Bible                                 .5 cr.

• IB 574 Standards of Just War & Issues of Peace                                                                                     .5 cr.

• IB 575 The Faith Community Faces Racism                                                                                                .5cr



Level 1 – Apprentice Level

LEADING THE CHURCH THROUGH CARE (LC)                                                                                    4 credit hours

LC 500 REQUIRED MODULES 2.5 credits

• LC 520 Pastoral Care Modalities                                                                                                                    .5 cr
(Self-standing, prerequisite for all other worship modules)

• LC 550 Creating a Congregational Culture of Care (Family Systems)                                               1 cr.

• LC 552 Diagnosis and Referral: The Lost Art of Listening                                                                      .5 cr.

• LC 554 The Art of Visitation                                                                                                                              .5 cr.

LC 500 OPTIONAL MODULES                                                                                                                            1 credit

• LC 570 Special Topics in Ministry: aging, people with disabilities                                                        .5 cr.

• LC 571 Loss and Grief in a Community of Faith                                                                                             .5 cr.

• LC 572 Crisis Response in Caring Relationships                                                                                            .5 cr.

• LC 574 Economic Crisis and Congregational Care                                                                                        .5 cr.

• LC 575 Small Groups as Centers of Care                                                                                                            .5 cr.

• LC 577 The Healing Power of Anger: Contending as Spiritual Intimacy                                             .5 cr.

• LC 578 Issues of Care in the Black Church                                                                                                        .5 cr.

• LC 579 Issues of Care in the Latino/a Church                                                                                                 .5 cr.

• LC 580 Power, Privilege & Difference: Issues that damage congregational life                                .5 cr.

LC 590 COMPETENCY EXERCISE                                                                                                                     .5 credit


Level 1 – Apprentice Level

LEADING THE CHURCH IN WORSHIP (LW)                                                                                   6 credit hours

LW 500 REQUIRED MODULES                                                                                                                                3.5 cr.

• LW 550 Introduction to Worship                                                                                                                         .5cr
(Self-standing, prerequisite for all other worship modules)

• LW 551 Liturgical Time                                                                                                                                                 .5cr.

• LW 552 Congregational Song (onsite)                                                                                                                     .5 cr.

• LW 553 New Birth to Dying in Christ                                                                                                                      1. cr.

• LW 554 Sermon Preparation                                                                                                                                      1 cr.

LW 500 OPTIONAL MODULES                                                                                                                         2.0 credits

• LW 570 Liturgical Performance & Sermon Delivery                                                                                      .5 cr.

• LW 571 Intergenerational worship                                                                                                                         .5 cr.

• LW 572 Preaching & Teaching                                                                                                                                  .5 cr.

• LW 573 Worship & Pastoral Care                                                                                                                                .5 cr.

• LW 575 Worship Renewal                                                                                                                                            .5 cr.

• LW 576 Worship Space (Self-Standing)                                                                                                                    .5 cr.

• LW 577 Preaching and Leading Worship in the Black Church                                                                        1 cr.

• LW 578 Preaching and Leading Worship in the Hispanic Church                                                                  1 cr.

• LW 579 Preaching and Leading Worship in the Small Church                                                                        1 cr.

• LW 580 Praise Worship                                                                                                                                                    1 cr.

• LW 581 Technology in the Sanctuary                                                                                                                          1 cr.

LW 590 COMPETENCY EXERCISE                                                                                                                         .5 credit


Level 1 – Apprentice Level


LM 500 REQUIRED MODULES 3.5 credits

LM 520 Pastoral Leadership – Concepts .5cr.

(Self-standing, prerequisite for all other worship modules)

LM 550 Learning the Context of Ministry: An Intimate Outsides .5cr

LM 551 Ecclesiology: Creating a Culture of Call .5cr

LM 552 Stewardship and Evangelism .5 cr.

LM 553 Administration: Moving the Vision Along .5 cr.

LM 554 Outreach .5 cr.

LM 555 Power, Privilege & Difference: Issues that Challenge .5cr

Congregational Life (racism, classism, homophobia, sexism, ageism)

LM 500 OPTIONAL MODULES 2.0 credits

LM 570 Special Topics in Ministry .5 cr.

LM 571 Bi-vocational Ministry: Awnings and Awe .5 cr.

LM 572 The Mission Trip as Service-Learning Journey .5 cr.

LM 573 Funding a Special Ministry .5 cr.

LM 574 Ecumenical & Interfaith Ministries .5 cr.

LM 575 Spiritual & Program Gifts Identification .5 cr.

LM 576 Congregation-based Community Organizing: From .5 cr

Acts of Mercy to Acts for Justice

LM 577 Peacemaking Skills in Conflict Situations .5 cr.

LM 578 New Church Starts .5 cr.

LM 579 Women and Ministry .5 cr.

LM 580 Leadership in Black Churches .5 cr.

LM 581 Leadership in Latino/a Churches .5 cr.

LM 582 Leadership in Small Churches .5 cr.

LM 583 Technology and the Church .5 cr.



Level 1 – Apprentice Level



LF 550 Biblical and Vocational Foundations of the Teaching Ministry .5 cr.

LF 551 Congregation as Context .5 cr.

LF 552 Cultural Shifts Impacting Teaching of Faith .5 cr.

LF 553 Stages of Faith .5 cr.


LF 570 Children’s Ministry in the Church .5 cr.

LF 571 Youth Culture and Faith Formation .5 cr.

LF 572 Teaching the Bible .5 cr.

LF 573 Engaging Learners Through Questions and Discussions .5 cr.

LF 574 Faith Formation in the African American Church .5 cr.

LF 575 Faith Formation in the Hispanic Church .5 cr.



Level 2 – Journeyer Level (JL) 18 credit hours

When an M.Div. student has passed four, integrative Competency Exercises, she/he will

then be eligible to take nine, 2-hour electives of the Journeyer stage



IS 670 A Troubled Church and What it Can Teach Us: Exegesis of 1 Corinthians

IS 671 An Introduction to Paul’s Gospel: Exegesis of Romans

IS 672 Ministry in the New Testament and Today

IS 673 Mark’s Jesus for Today’s Church: Exegesis of Mark

IS 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


IP 670 Whose Jesus Is He? – A History of Jesus Studies & Their Consequences

IP 671 History & Polity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

IP 672 Denominational Studies (for students who need history & polity of their denomination)

IP 673 When the Church Feels Threatened – Renewal and Rejection in Historical Perspective

IP 674 Genocide and the Church

IP 675 The Church and the Holocaust

IP 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


IF 670 Theology of Nondenominational Churches

IF 671 World Christianities

IF 672 The Church and Homosexuality

IF 673 African-American/Womanist Theology

IF 675 Beyond the Pulpit: Teaching Theology in the Church

IF 676 Moving Beyond Our Walls: Theologies of Mission

IF 677 Theology and Pastoral Care: Discussing Suffering and Hope

IF 678 The Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

IF 679 The Theology of American Exceptionalism: From the Puritans to the Present

IF 680 Spirit in the City: Theology in Urban Environments

IF 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


IB 670 Lifestyle Decisions for Faith People: Issues of Consumerism, Stewardship, Morality

IB 672 Issues of the Public Square: Abortion, Capital Punishment, Health Care, Church-State

IB 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


LC 670 Christian Spirituality – History and Practices

LC 671 Pastor as Spiritual Director

LC 672 Eco-Justice and Care

LC 672 Spirituality and Care

LC 673 Pastoral Care and Substance Abuse

LC 674 Practices and Skills of Counseling for a Pastor

LC 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


LW 670 Sermon Preparation as a Spiritual Discipline

LW 671 Preaching _____________ (biblical book will vary).

LW 672 Sermonic Design

LW 673 Worship Planning through the Church Year

LW 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


LM 671 Administration as a Spiritual Practice

LM 672 The Care and Feeding of Volunteers

LM 673 Distinctive Characteristics of African American Churches

LM 674 Distinctive Characteristics of Latino/a Churches

LM 675 The Small Church as a Distinctive Faith Community

LM 676 Ministry with a Public Voice

LM 677 “The Poor Will Always Be With You” Ministry and Poverty

LM 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


LF 670 Faith Formation of Adults

LF 671 Faith Formation and Families

LF 672 Spiritual Lives of Youth

LF 673 Faith Formation in the Outdoors: Retreats and Camps

LF 674 Ministry with Youth

LF 675 Teaching for Transformation

LF 699 Cross-cultural travel studies


Level 3 – Master Level (ML) 6 credit hours

The Capstone Project is the only element of this level of work. Students will address a significant issue facing the congregation by using a multi-layered strategy. Using the theological, spiritual and practical learning from Apprentice and Journeyer work and in consultation with a seasoned mentor, the student will develop a portfolio which includes:

  • A biblical, theological and ethical foundation for analyzing the issue
  • A range of liturgical, educational, programmatic and missional approaches for addressing the issue
  • A bibliography of helpful resources related to the issue
  • Records and evaluations of ways the strategy is applied in the church