Carlos Lonberger, Ed.D., Director
Theology and Christian ministry have stood at the very heart of Olivet’s heritage since the university’s founding over one hundred years ago. Today Olivet offers a rich range of options for graduate education in theology, Bible and Christian Ministry, with eleven master’s degree programs and several specialized tracks for specific audiences. The professors in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry are committed to excellence in education and to the standards of the academy. Each member of the School’s graduate faculty is committed to scholarship, publication, and the highest level of reasoned discourse in their respective field of expertise and strives for excellence in teaching. In addition, nearly all the School’s faculty members have extensive experience and a record of successful and effective ministry. The eleven master’s programs fall into three areas:
General Ministry programs
Olivet offers four Master’s programs for general ministry. Each is distinct in format, prerequisites, and the kind of student for which it is intended. Students considering a degree in general ministerial studies should understand each option and choose the best fit for their circumstances.
- Master of Divinity presupposes a strong undergraduate education, which will continue at the graduate level. With concentrations in pastoral ministry, urban ministry, family ministry, chaplaincy, and more, the program serves those who wish to seriously explore a call to Christian ministry in many different contexts. The program follows a variety of course formats: modules, half-semester, full-semester, online, video conference, etc. Concentrations are available as follows: Urban Ministry, Family Ministry, Pastoral Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Ministerial Studies, Missional Multiplication, Biblical Studies, and Theology.
- Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is a gateway program that does not presuppose previous study of theology or ministry, nor does it presuppose that the student is already in ministry. Coursework can be completed through a combintion of on-site, online, and video conferencing options.
- Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies presupposes a strong undergraduate education, preferably in, but not limited to, theology, Bible, or Christian Ministry. The distinct purpose of this degree is to complete ordination requirements for ordination for the Church of the Nazarene. Coursework can be completed via distance learning options of online, video conference, and one-week intensives.
- Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry presupposes a strong undergraduate education in theology and ministry and continues that study at the graduate level. The focus of this program is on general pastoral ministry as distinct from specialty ministries, such as urban, family, or youth ministry. It does not require that the entering student be in ministry at the time of entry. During the first year, the program is a residential program at Olivet’s campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Most of the courses are based in the traditional classroom, although some are modular (see Program Formats section). During the second year, the student engages in mentored ministry, which may be at some distance from the campus.
- Master of Ministry program also presupposes that the student is currently engaged in ministry. The coursework can be completed through on-site, online, one-week intensive modules, and video conference options. This program allows students the flexibility to earn their degree at a pace that is fitting to their workload capacity, as well as accept some transfer credits.
Specialized Ministry programs
Olivet offers five Master’s programs for specialized ministries. Each degree is designed to provide a highly focused and powerful education for specialized ministry in the local church. These degrees prepare students for ministry to a specific audience, and they are distinct in format and prerequisites. Students considering a degree in one of the following should choose one that best suits their background and calling.
- Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership presupposes that the student is currently engaged in ministry. This program focuses on developing the students’ theological understanding and vision of ministry to enhance their effectiveness as pastoral leaders. It follows the cohort program format (see Program Formats section of this chapter) and is entirely online. No coursework may be transferred in for this program.
Master of Arts in Missional Multiplication presupposes a strong undergraduate education in theology, Bible, and/or ministry. The program provides graduate level study that focuses on a curriculum and training for students/practitioners within the field of Missional Theology, Church Planting, and Church Multiplication. Coursework can be completed entirely online or through other distance-learning and on-site class options.
- Master of Arts in Family Ministry presupposes a strong undergraduate education in theology, Bible, and/or ministry. The program provides graduate level study that focuses on ministry to the entire family in today’s culture in a local church context. It does not require that the entering student be in ministry at the time of entry. During the first year, the program is residential at Olivet’s campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Coursework can be completed via semester-long on-site and one-week intensive module options. In the second year, the student engages in mentored ministry, which may be some distance from campus.
- Master of Ministry in Spanish is offered entirely in Spanish. Most courses are taught online, and a few are offered as intensive week-long modules on Olivet’s Bourbonnais, Illinois campus. This program is designed for pastors ministering in Hispanic contexts in the United States and Canada. Prospective students should hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, or a “licenciatura” in theology (at the university level) from a recognized Latin American theological seminary.
- La Maestría del Ministerio en español, se ofrece totalmente en este idioma. La mayoría de los cursos se imparten en línea (internet) y unos pocos se ofrecen como módulos intensivos de una semana en el campus de Olivet, en Bourbonnais, Illinois. Este programa está diseñado para pastores que ministran en contextos hispanos en los Estados Unidos y Canadá. Los candidatos para este programa deben tener un grado de bachiller de una universidad acreditada (USA/Canadá) o una licenciatura en teología (nivel universitario) de un seminario teológico reconocido de América latina.
- Master of Arts in Urban Ministry is designed to develop missional ministry leaders for service in an urban context. Intentional focus is given to forming theologically shaped leaders who are prepared practically for effective, as well as purposeful, ministry in these special urban contexts. Emphasis is placed on personal experience in urban ministry and teaching and coaching by experienced leaders in urban and compassionate ministry. Coursework can be completed from a distance through a combination of distance-learning options including online and video conference options; students already serving in an urban ministry do not have to leave their current assignment. Graduates of this program are expected to become leaders in the work of the church in urban contexts.
If scholarly study of the Christian faith is of interest, the following program is offered. The program focuses on the classic theological disciplines of Bible, theology, and church history. Both are offered on Olivet’s campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
- Master of Arts in Religion Master of Arts in Religion is Olivet’s oldest graduate degree and remains the most flexible for students with a variety of scholarly goals. The program allows students to mix and match courses in theology, Bible, church history, and some relevant philosophy options to form a coherent plan of study, which is approved by the program coordinator or the director of graduate studies for the School of Theology and Christian Ministry. With specific course selections, concentrations are available in Theology, Biblical Studies, and Religious Studies.
For further information as well as updates to rules and regulations, please visit https://online.olivet.edu and click on the “Ministry” programs option.