Leon Blanchette, Ed.D., Coordinator
This program provides a broad and powerful education for specialized ministry in the local church, the Master of Arts: Family Ministry focuses on ministry to the entire family in today’s culture in a local church context. It integrates theory and praxis, reflection and life. A two-year program, the first year provides a traditional classroom-based education. During the second year, the student engages in a mentored ministry in a full-time capacity, coming back to Olivet for several one-week intensive courses, called modules. The mentor is a seasoned professional.
The M.A. in Family Ministry draws strength from leading experts in the fields of children, youth, and family ministry who come to campus for face-to-face teaching, encounters, networking, and learning with our students. The combination of these experts with our own experienced residential faculty, who total over 60 years of highly successful experience in children and youth ministry, makes Olivet’s Master of Arts in Family Ministry a powerful educational experience that will launch the student into a satisfying career of service for our Lord to the families of the 21st century.
A cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required for graduation from the program, no course counting toward graduation may carry a grade of less than a C.
Core Values Motivating the M.A. in Family Ministry
- Integration of 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, never allowing any person to forget the need for and the practice of integration.
- Theological reflection draws on the belief of faculty members in the M.A. in Family Ministry that there are right and wrong ways to speak about God with young people, their families, and communities. The goal is to encourage each student to grasp the theological foundations and implications of every aspect of ministry.
- Multiple voices, including those of other students, are valuable for students in the family ministry program to hear. Perhaps somewhat paradoxically though, students quite appropriately put a high value on quality interaction with the professor. Achieving these twin goals, the program is structured in modules and semesters, enabling Olivet to bring in a variety of complementary voices that the ministry community appreciates and the student deserves to hear.
- Mentoring goes “way beyond” mere programming. The mentoring model in the M.A. in Family Ministry can and should become a lifelong style for productive ministry. The student should learn a mode of human interaction that sustains in later life and ministry, both as one who mentors and as one who is mentored.
- Lifelong learning is a goal in giving the individual the tools and a renewed desire to become “global Christians” who possess the tools and seek to understand the ever-changing climate of our global community.
More than most master’s degree programs, the M.A. in Family 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. For a more detailed explanation of the various course formats, please refer to “Academic Policies: Program Formats ”.
The majority of the coursework in the M.A. in Family Ministry program is contained in the first year, and this allows the second-year students to engage in their mentored 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 program culminates in an Integrated Capstone Project during the Mentored Ministry course, where the students present their projects and bring all the facets of their Olivet education in Family Ministry into a coherent whole.
A student is allowed four years from beginning the first graduate course to complete the entire MA.FMIN program. Coursework beyond four years is evaluated by the Program Coordinator, 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.