MDIV: Christian Education

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Master of Divinity: Christian Education

Whether you are heading into a vocational ministry role as a youth or children's pastor, or you are a layperson desiring advanced training in the context of parachurch ministry, Christian schools or camping, NNU's fully online graduate programs in Christian Education can equip you for the ministry to which God is calling you. Earn an M.Div. within 50 months or an M.A. in less than two years without any residential requirements.

Many of our students are serving in full-time or part-time ministry assignments while others are serving presently in volunteer capacities. MDIVCE students complete an online orientation, 42 credits in their pastoral ministry core, and 32 hours of emphasis in Christian Education. After completing an online orientation, MACE students focus their studies strictly around the same eight Christian Education courses in which MDIVCE students take as their emphasis, as shown in the comparison chart to the right.

If you are an adult learner who wants to leverage the power of the Internet to accomplish your goal of a graduate degree, then NNU's fully online Master of Divinity or Master of Arts programs in Christian Education may be for you. Study in the context of a community of adult learners from some of the most respected faculty members in online education today. Complete your degree without having to relocate, or even travel for costly, occasional on-campus residential modules. Earn your degree from a leading institution in online theological education with associate membership in The Association of Theological Schools and over 80 years of continuous regional accreditation.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify, or students may take advantage of a zero interest monthly payment plan. Avoid expensive travel costs associated with modular programs at other seminaries, not to mention costly time away from home and your workplace. Tuition discounts are also available to assigned Nazarene clergy.

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Course Descriptions

ONLINE PROGRAM ORIENTATION COURSE

All Master of Divinity students enroll in our zero-credit online program orientation.  

PRTH6000. OnRamp Program Orientation (0 credit): This course orients students to the resources, procedures, electronic operations, and expectations of the program.  


SPECIALIZATION COURSES

BIBL6520. Biblical Foundations of Christian Educational Ministries (4 credits):  The course will provide a biblical framework for Christian educational ministry. Special attention will be given to a Wesleyan hermeneutical process of interpretation as well as Bible study methodologies.

CHED6120. Introduction to Christian Education (4 credits):  The course focuses on the integration of theology and the social sciences particularly as it relates to developing a philosophy of Christian education. The development of a philosophy of Christian education provides students avenues to critically evaluate educational structures and forms of Christian discipleship in local congregations. Particular attention is given to the role of Christian education in congregational life and formation.

CHED6520. Topics in Christian Education: Postmodern Ministry (4 credits): The course focuses on the impact of Postmodernism on youth and children's ministry, drawing upon experts in the area of youth and children's ministry.

CHED7320. Family-Based Youth & Children's Ministry (4 credits): The course approaches ministry to youth and children from a family systems perspective, drawing on current models and approaches from experts in the field of youth and children's ministry.

CHED7720. Seminar in Christian Education: Youth & Children's Ministry (4 credits): The course focuses on contemporary issues and topics in the field of youth and children's ministry drawing upon experts in the area of youth and children's ministry.

CHIS7120. Historical & Psychological Foundations of Christian Formation & Nurture (4 credits):  The course explores the historical foundations of Christian nurture and formation.  Particular attention will be given to the historical development of Christian nurture as well as the impact of developmental theories on Christian formation.

PHIL6520. Theoretical Foundations of Christian Education (4 credits):  The course will be primarily concerned with issues related to human anthropology and the development of the self.  This will include study in the following areas: critical reasoning, human psychology, and character/moral development.

THEO7120. Theological Foundations of Christian Education (4 credits): The course is designed to provide an underpinning for Christian education by examining John Wesley's theological sources.  Particular attention will be given to how theology informs Christian educational ministry practices.

PASTORAL MINISTRY CORE COURSES

BIBL6760. Old Testament Interpretation (3 credits):  This course introduces key strategies and exegetical tools particular to interpreting the Old Testament. Students will develop exegetical skills and the ability to recognize Scripture's theological texture through study of selected texts from the different genres of the Old Testament. 

BIBL7760. New Testament Interpretation (3 credits): This course introduces key strategies and exegetical tools particular to interpreting the New Testament. Students will develop exegetical skills and the ability to recognize Scripture's theological texture through study of selected texts from the different genres of the New Testament. 

BIBL8090. Advanced Biblical Exegesis (3 credits):  An in-depth exegetical study of an Old Testament and/or New Testament book(s).  The course will emphasize the historical occasion, purpose and theological message of the selected biblical books.  It will survey relevant contemporary biblical hermeneutics.  It will utilize inductive, grammatical, historical-critical, literary, and reader-oriented exegetical methods.  The course will self-consciously focus on interpretation within and for the believing community.

CHED6160. Christian Educational Ministries (3 credits): The course provides a Wesleyan approach to Christian discipleship by integrating Wesleyan theology and current developmental theories. The course explores how pastors can develop educational ministries that foster faith formation and Christian discipleship in local congregations. Particular attention is given to the role congregations play in forming faith disciples through teaching, worship, and congregational life.

CHIS6560. History of Christianity I (3 credits):  A study of the historical development of Christianity from 150-1500 C.E., from the Patristic period through pre-Reformation.  The course will trace theological and doctrinal development as well as offer a general survey of the history of the Church in its ecclesiastical and cultural contexts.  The student will have opportunity to read primary as well as secondary sources, and do research on a specified and focused area of interest.

CHIS6960. History of Christianity II (3 credits):  A study of the historical development of Christianity from 1500-present, C.E., from the Reformation through the 20th century.  The course will trace theological and doctrinal development as well as offer a general survey of the history of the Church in its ecclesiastical and cultural contexts.  The student will have opportunity to read primary as well as secondary sources, and do research on a specified and focused area of interest.

PHIL7560. Philosophical Foundations of Ministry (3 credits):  This course will provide the fundamentals for logical reasoning, review the philosophical foundations of theology, explore contemporary issues in the philosophy of religion, and develop methods for making ethical decisions within the framework of Christian values.

PRTH6760. Spiritual & Personal Formation (3 credits): This course examines spiritual formational practices with particular emphasis on the personal and spiritual formation of the minister. Students will gain personal spiritual formational practices for the purpose of developing them holistically. 

PRTH6960. Missiology & Contextualization (3 credits):  This course provides a study of the challenge and complexity of mission within the cultural diversity of today's world.  Students will review the historical dimensions of missiology, develop biblical and theological foundations for missional ecclesiology, and strategize for cross-cultural communication of the gospel.

PRTH6990. Supervised Ministry (3 credits): Under the direction of a ministry mentor, students will be involved in practical ministry experience in a local ministry context. Special attention will be given to preaching, counseling, teaching, education, evangelism, and administration. This experience will be under the direction of the instructor in cooperation with the supervising ministry mentor.

PRTH7560. Pastoral Leadership (3 credits): This course will help to equip ministers to lead and manage churches and mission agencies.  Special attention will be given to the student's ability to conceive and articulate purpose, mission, and vision for ministry and assist the student to develop the strategic means to realize that vision.

PRTH7960. Preaching & Worship (3 credits): An advanced study of the methods of homiletics as well as applying principles of biblical interpretation to worship and preaching.  A major focus of the course will be on practical application to selected biblical passages through the writing and preaching of expository sermons as well as a study of the Christian practices of the Church including baptism, funerals, weddings, and the Eucharist.

THEO7560. Christian Theology I: Wesleyan Theology (3 credits): Students will explore the theological issues pertaining to the classical doctrines of the Wesleyan tradition.  This exploration will focus upon the main characteristics of the nature of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the human person, sin, salvation, the Christian life, the Church and sacraments, and eschatology. 

THEO7960. Christian Theology II: Contemporary Theology (3 credits):  Students will reflect theologically on life and ministry by exploring various sources of theological reflection.  In particular, dominant themes and figures in contemporary theology will be explored.  In this exploration, students will compare and contrast distinctive characteristics of Wesleyan theology, including various understandings of holiness, with issues found in contemporary theology.

Program Outcomes

  • The graduate understands and is able to explain Wesleyan-Holiness Theology as it relates to Scripture, Christian tradition, reason, and experience in the practice of ministry.
  • The graduate identifies characteristics of the cultural context of ministry and assesses them through an appropriate theological perspective, compares existing cultures with alternative cultural expressions, and develops personal and corporate practices consistent with the Kingdom of God.
  • The graduate practices the means of grace (spiritual disciplines) that lead to emotional and spiritual health, personal Christian virtue, and responsible social engagement.
  • The graduate integrates Christian theological themes in the understanding and practice of ministry and leadership.
  • The graduate identifies characteristics of human development theory necessary for teaching and learning in educational ministries.
  • The graduate integrates and values the role of social science research and theology to inform educational practices that foster congregational education and formation.
  • The graduate gains an understanding of and an appreciation for the historical, theological, and philosophical foundations that inform educational ministry and practice.
  • The graduate utilizes insights of Christian Education to evaluate the congregation (demographics) and move persons and congregations toward Christian maturity and practices consistent with Christian theology.