2023-2024 Catalog 
    Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog

Urban Ministry, M.A.

Jeffery Stark, D.Min., Coordinator

This is a highly intentional and focused course of study appropriate to preparation of emerging ministry leaders. The majority of the first year of graduate study is contained to the first year and can be completed from a distance either through online or module course. After the first academic year, students will typically move to assignments in an urban ministry context. These will be selected and approved in consultation with the program advisor. Courses will continue through the second year in intensive or extended delivery class formats. The program will conclude with a capstone course, as a component to the Mentored Ministry, integrating the students experience into a comprehensive and theologically purposeful vision for ministry.

36 hours


A cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or better is required to complete this program. No course counting toward graduation may carry a grade of less than C.

Core Values Motivating the M.A. in Urban Ministry

  • Integration:  To integrate what the student learns in the classroom with the experience and practice of ministry in concrete settings.
  • Intentionality:  Not only to integrate theory and praxis, but to do so consciously, clearly, explicitly and intentionally. Not to let anyone – faculty or student – forget the need for and the practice of integration.
  • Theological reflection:  The faculty members in the M.A. in Urban Ministry believe that there are right ways and wrong ways to speak about God. The goal is to encourage each student to grasp the theological foundations and implications of every aspect of ministry.
  • Multiple voices:  Students in the Urban Ministry program should hear a variety of voices, including other students. And yet, perhaps somewhat paradoxically, students quite appropriately put a high value on quality interaction with the professor. To achieve these twin goals, we have structured our program with modules, half-semesters (called blocks), and semesters, enabling Olivet to bring in the complementary voices that the ministry community appreciates and the student deserves to hear.
  • Mentoring:  Mentoring goes “way beyond” mere programming. The mentoring model in the M.A. in Urban Ministry can and should become a lifelong style for productive ministry. The student should learn a mode of human interaction that will sustain the student in later life and ministry, both as one who mentors and as one who is mentored.
  • Leadership:  A key to success in ministry is understanding the characteristics of a leader. Developing the student to be a leader is a key component of the M.A. in Urban Ministry.
  • Lifelong learner:  We seek to give the individual the tools and to reinforce the desire to become “global Christians” who seek to understand and who have the tools to understand the ever-changing climate of our global community.

Program Format

More than most master’s degree programs, the M.A. in Urban Ministry uses a wide assortment of course formats and teaching methods: intensive modules, half-semester courses, full-semester courses, lecturing, mentoring, internships, seminars, papers, and projects.

A modular course meets for one week, normally on Olivet’s campus. A modular course requires appropriate non-campus study before that week and additional off-campus study after that week. To complete the work done before and after the module, the student must have internet access. The entire M.A. in Urban Ministry program can be completed through online and module courses. This allows the second-year students to engage in their mentored youth ministry experience on a full-time basis and gives them the option to do that mentored experience at locations quite distant from Olivet’s campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The modular courses are offered in August, January, and May. Students will complete a comprehensive Capstone Project as a part of their Mentored Ministry during the second year, then students will present their projects and bring all the facets of their Olivet education in ministry into a coherent whole.

Time Limits

A student is allowed four years from beginning the first graduate course to complete the entire program in the M.A in Urban Ministry. Coursework beyond four years is evaluated by the Program Coordinator for the M.A. in Urban Ministry, or the Director of Graduate Studies, or the Dean of the School of Theology & Christian Ministry. Students granted permission for more than four years may be expected to meet current program requirements, and that may mean retaking one or more courses.