Article - Ministerial Associate Degree:

Obtaining a Ministerial Associate Degree can be completed in two years, but it is usually only a step toward higher education in the field of religious studies.

Have you ever considered a day in the life of a minister?  Perhaps you have had need of one’s assistance, and only then realized that a minister is master of multi-tasking, or at least, needs to be.

These are the well-known parts of the job description:  performing marriages, funerals, baptisms, and dedications, visiting members of the congregation in times of need, making hospital calls, and scheduling counseling appointments. Administrative tasks include budgeting, decision-making, overseeing department heads, and managing correspondence.

Now, add into the schedule time for outside ministry events such as visiting the homeless shelter, responding affirmatively to other church invitations to come and minister at their location, and even attending conferences and continuing education classes.

The term minister is predominantly of Protestant origin, and is defined as a man or woman ordained to provide service for a particular religious organization.

Some churches require nothing more than the “call of God” in a minister’s life in order to be ordained. There are sites on the Internet which offer licenses that legally allow the holder to perform the functions of a minister, simply by paying a set price. These websites are considered little better than a diploma mill-- they are quick to accept payment for the piece of paper they send you, but they offer no instruction or support of any quality.

Most religious entities require extensive training from either a seminary or theological university. These educational facilities operate expressly for the purpose of religious studies.

Most seminaries require a four-year degree from an accredited college as part of their application approval process, and also have a minimum grade point average for previous college coursework. A Ministerial Associate Degree may have other names, depending upon the school. These include an Associate Degree in Theological Studies, an Associate Degree in Ministerial Studies, or a combination of both.

Courses required for this degree are generally:  Bible (Old Testament and New), Literature (Old Testament and New), Christian Doctrine, Biblical Ethics, Church Administration, Computers in the Church, Worship Leadership, Family Ministry, Lay Leadership, Introduction to Church History, Introduction to Christian Missions, Introduction to Ministry and the Church, Pastoral Counseling, Introduction to Preaching,  and Entry-level Greek and Hebrew languages.

Often additional courses, such as philosophy, are called for. Many seminaries and theological universities now include Practicum in Ministry, which sets the student in various area of ministry to allow them hands-on learning in a chosen field. Preaching Practicum also provides the student the opportunity to prepare, write, and deliver a sermon, wherein both the instructor and classmates critique a student’s performance.

A graduate who obtains a Ministerial Associate Degree seldom finds employment within the mainstream, structured religious affiliations. If a church needs a minister immediately, and finds the graduate a good match for the current leadership and congregation, then it may allow the applicant to continue the studies required for a degree, while beginning the pastorate.

However, most of those who obtain the Ministerial Associate Degree are either employed within a church or religious denomination as support persons. If they desire to pastor their own congregation someday, they will continue their pursuit through further education, and earn a higher degree, or concentrate their studies in a specific area of ministry.



Please Wait... processing