MA in EM Program Purpose

The Master of Arts in Educational Ministries (MA in EM) purposes to equip men and women in congregational or parachurch leadership for collaborative ministry engagement, and for formational teaching and learning of others. Graduates currently serve as church educators and administrators for all ages, education or staff pastors, church administrators, Christian school teachers, parachurch or university staff persons, or are pursuing doctoral educational studies.

Focal Areas of Degree Program

In addition to a Bible and theology core, program participants will complete coursework in three focal areas of educational ministries culminating in a MA in EM Capstone that demonstrates educational leadership and application.

Congregational Life – a holistic systems approach to generational and intergenerational ministries that fosters congregational interconnectedness (children, youth, emerging adults, adults, aging adults, family)

Collaborative Ministry Engagement – enriches leadership capacity, and cultivates vocational stewardship, socio cultural analysis and engagement, and small groups/team development

Formational Learning – enhances congregational discipleship/spiritual formation, curriculum design and implementation, and facilitated teaching and learning.

The MA in EM is particularly well suited for practitioners and/or students who serve or will serve in roles that cultivate congregational ministries and strengthen pastoral leadership. The program equips leaders for collaborative ministry engagement based on biblical-theological foundations, whole-life discipleship, congregational best practices, and educational theory and practice.

Ideal program applicants will possess three to five years of congregational life leadership experience, and seek additional understanding and skills to serve effectively as passionate reflective practitioners in their faith community. As such, many program participants are heavily engaged in leadership ministry and continue to serve while completing the program part-time on-campus or online. Others locating to the Bannockburn campus enroll full-time while active in a local church. Persons anticipating ordained pastoral ministry should pursue the MDiv program.

MA in EM course offerings draw from across the curriculum based on a participant’s needs and ministry context (rather than a plethora of topic specific courses). A foundational curricular core in Bible, theology, and educational ministries provide a structure for integrative educational thinking. EM Core courses in the focal areas enhance the educational foundation. All course selections are made in consultation with an Educational Ministries Department faculty adviser in areas of student interest leading to the program Capstone. The Capstone must demonstrate in-depth analysis and critique of educational practices for the local church, or other educational setting identified by the participant (parachurch, camps, Christian school, etc.)

MA in EM Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

The MA in EM will enable participants to:

  • Critique educational practices and experiences with renewed theoretical and educational understanding
  • Ground their educational thinking in a strong biblical and theoretical base
  • Integrate educational theory with Christian character and formation
  • Link their educational framework within a contextualized ministry practice
  • Identify and articulate a leadership philosophy and implementation strategy within an organizational system

MA in EM Residency and Course Delivery

MA in EM courses are available in several modes: on the Bannockburn campus in semester long, short-term weekly modular, weekend, and summer formats; online where the entire program may be completed; at approved extension sites; some independent study work; and conference or on-site wrap-a-rounds. Program participants may “mix and match” blending instructional modalities in any fashion accessible to them in consultation with their faculty adviser. Not all courses are available in all modes or during all semesters.

While Bannockburn-based course work provides the largest course selection, the MA in Educational Ministries is available entirely online with courses rotating through a two to three-year cycle. All Bible and theology, and educational ministries Core courses are available online, as are an adequate number of EM Concentration courses in order to complete the MA in EM degree. Online participants are encouraged to join the Bannockburn campus community for one or two short-term modular or weekend classes as their schedule allows and courses are of interest.

Further, as an Educational Ministries Department we are committed to thoughtful and collaborative delivery of online education. Our intention as an EM Department is to state and practice the following Online Teaching Values:

  • We purpose to equip servants for gospel work unable to locate to the home campus
  • We facilitate learning among geographically dispersed and diverse program participants
  • We intend to maximize a learner’s contextual field experience
  • We collaborate learner to learner, faculty to learner, and learner to ministry colleagues
  • We endeavor to create a community of learners mutually contributing to the learning of others; each person has a responsibility to the learning community
  • We use technology as a tool to enhance and enable and minimize inhibition

MA in EM Community of Learning

MA in EM participants are expected to take part fully in sharing their experience, critical thinking, and course preparation so as to contribute both in and outside the class environment to the community of learning in the MA in EM program. This is evidenced through regular and substantive interaction between faculty and participants and among peer participants both in face-to-face and online contexts. Weekly formation group gatherings, regular online coffee commons gatherings, in-course team assignments, and flexible online and in-person faculty office hours all contribute to peer learning, educational skill development, and personal formation within the learning community. This is further enhanced by many advanced master’s level classes that are also available to PhD Educational Studies students – enabling collaboration among masters and doctoral level program participants.

This collaborative learning community, together with the contextual ministry practice environment where the program participant resides, provide an exceptional learning experience. Opportunities for enhanced field-based class assignments and the Capstone executed in the embedded participant’s real ministry context is an added strength for the online MA in EM program.

MA in EM Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

The purpose of the MA in EM is to equip men and women in congregational or parachurch leadership for collaborative ministry engagement, and for formational learning and teaching of others. Life and ministry circumstances, including God’s call to support congregational ministries and strengthen pastoral leadership later in life, result in a breadth of types of MA in EM applicants.  

In addition to the general admission requirements for master’s programs described in the Admissions section of the catalog, those specific to the MA in EM program are:

The ideal applicant will have completed:

  1. an undergraduate major in educational ministries or its educational equivalent that includes a minimum of 30 hours in educational ministries, Bible/theology, and social science studies; OR
  2. an undergraduate major or its educational equivalent with exposure to educational practice in the church, parachurch, other Christian organization, or in the public education arena
  3. AND leadership experience in educational ministry practice

Alternatively, some applicants may not meet the above ideal admission requirements, but possess the following and are encouraged to apply to the MA in EM program, or the Educational Ministries Certificate:

  1. Intensive or extensive life experience with educational practice in the church, parachurch, other Christian organization, or in the public education arena (generally five-plus years of full-time experience)
  2. Non-formal or informal preparation for theological study in educational ministries at the graduate level (theological education in a church or parachurch environment)
  3. Demonstrated academic ability through evaluation and interview by the EM Department (personal interview encompassing demonstrable skills, character, knowledge, and critical thinking)

Advanced Standing in the Educational Ministries Department

Advanced Standing of not more than nine semester hours may be granted in the MA in Educational Ministries program and not more than three semester hours in the Certificates on the basis of prior academic work in a formal or non-formal context. Such work shall be assessed by the Educational Ministries Department in light of the stated program objectives with evidence of knowledge, competence, and skills aligned with the degree program. Advanced standing with credit is not granted on the basis of ministerial or life experience. After consultation with the EM program adviser, petitions for advanced standing should be submitted to the department chair subsequent to completion of the first program course and prior to enrollment in the third semester. See the EM Department for details.

MA in EM Concurrent or Second Degree Options

Participants may desire to complete the MA in EM with their primary degree program such as Master of Divinity or Master of Arts (Theological Studies). In such cases, an overlap of program requirements up to 50 percent of the shorter degree is permissible. For example, a student combining the MA in EM with the MDiv or MA (TS) could overlap 18 semester hours (50 percent of the MA in EM). Coursework must be planned carefully to ensure the specific program requirements for each program are met. Consult the “Degree Combinations” section of the Catalog and the Educational Ministries Department faculty for details.

MA in EM Program Duration and Statute of Limitation

The MA in EM program assumes two academic years of full-time program work. Semester one involves completion of preparatory seminary work in Bible, theology, or education deemed needed in the admission process; semesters two, three, and four focus on the course content (10 full-time hours each semester); and semesters four and five on the Capstone experience. Full-time students are generally able to complete the program in four semesters (two years).

All requirements for the MA in EM must be completed within seven years of matriculation into the program. Petition to extend the statute of limitation may be made by the participant to the Academic Exceptions Committee.

MA in EM Graduation Requirements

In addition to the general graduation requirements for all master’s programs listed in the Catalog, the following are required for the MA in EM:

  • Completion of all coursework with a minimum cumulative grade point average for program course work of 2.5, with no coursework graded below a “C-” applicable to the degree.
  • Completion of EM 7465 MA in EM Capstone for 0-4 semester hours. While the expectations for the Capstone engage a minimum of two semester hours work, some participants prefer to complete additional course work for those four hours while others prefer to complete the Capstone for additional academic credit.

MA in EM Curriculum

Bible and Theology Core: (generally the following courses) 112-13
ID 5000Biblical Theology and Interpretation3
OT 5000Intro to the Old Testament4
NT 5000Intro to the New Testament3
(Note: Additional hours in Bible may be counted toward the EM Concentration)
ST 5201
ST 5202
Theology I: The God of the Gospel
and Theology II: The Gospel of God
Educational Ministries Core: 26
EM 5200Educational Ministries2
EM 5210Christian Leadership and Administration2
EM 5125Teaching and Learning2
EM Concentration14-18
Participants consult with EM faculty adviser to focus concentration courses around an educational area of personal interest.
EM Capstone
EM 7465MA in EM Capstone0-4
MA in EM program participants will participate throughout their program in field-based and collaborative learning community activities that culminate in the MA in EM Capstone. Details are available from the EM Department. Participants consult with department faculty who will determine on the basis of ministries goals and prior experience the nature of the Capstone experience.
Total Hours36

Recommended MA in EM Coursework

All MA in EM participants complete coursework in congregational life, collaborative ministry engagement, and formational learning. The following are selected Educational Ministries Department courses that contribute to those focal areas and offered on a regular basis (though not every course is offered every semester or every year or in every delivery mode). Special topical course offerings not appearing in the Catalog are available nearly every semester. Consult with your EM adviser which would be appropriate to your area of interest.

Congregational Life Focus
EM 5541Youth and Emerging Adults in Congregations3
EM 5560Adults in Congregations2-3
EM 5576Marriage & Family Enrichment2-3
EM 6100Intergenerational Ministry in the Church3
EM 6270Building Community in the Church2-3
ES 7524Children in Congregations1-2
ES 7535Nurturing Families in the Church1-2
ES 7550Local Church as System1-2
ES 8211Teaching Others to Teach1-2
ES 8235Ministry with Aging Adults1-2
Collaborative Ministry Engagement Focus
EM 6100Intergenerational Ministry in the Church3
EM 6270Building Community in the Church2-3
EM 6275Developing Healthy Spiritual Leaders2-3
ES 7550Local Church as System1-2
ES 7815Change, Power, and Conflict2-3
ES 7830Developing Collaborative Teams1-2
ES 8258Online Teaching and Learning1-2
ES 8425Theological Education: Topics1-2
ES 8605Great Religious Educators2-3
Formational Learning Focus
EM 5510Christian Formation & Journey2
EM 6260Small Group Ministry in the Church2-3
EM 6265Building Ministry Teams2-3
EM 6500Curriculum Development3
ES 7550Local Church as System1-2
ES 7560Program Planning Dynamics in the Local Church1-2
ES 8240Intergenerational Education1-2
ES 8255Models of Non-Traditional Education3
ES 8710Social Intelligence and Leadership1-2
ES 8715Appreciative Inquiry1-2

Other Interdepartmental Courses

MA in EM participants are encouraged to consider the following courses in other departments that may be applicable to the EM Concentration depending on a participant’s interest area. This is a partial list. MA in EM participants should consult with their adviser to determine which are appropriate.

CH 5051History of Christianity I3
CH 5052History of Christianity II3
CO 5210Counseling Skills Training3
CO 6510Human Growth and Development3
CO 6530Child & Adolescent Counseling2-3
CO 6575Parent Education2-3
HM 6200Theology and Methodology of Biblical Preaching2
ID 6500Understanding the Social and Cultural Contexts of Ministry2
ME 5001Foundations of Evangelism2
ME 6610Anthropology for Ministry3
ME 6963Principles of Discipleship3
ME 7710Contextualization3-4
ME 8215Teaching Across Cultures3
ME 8815Ethnicity: Modes of Inquiry and Analysis3
NT 5100English Bible:2-3
OT 5100English Bible:2-3
OT 5050Geography of Bible Lands3
PR 5600Christian Faith and Contemporary Challenges2
PT 5100Spiritual Formation for Ministry2
PT 6300Intro to Chaplain Ministries2
PT 7250Christian Worship and Pastoral Practices3
ST 7200Theological Ethics3