Developing the Skills of Ministry

Course descriptions and scheduling are subject to change by administrative decision. See course offerings booklet for current offerings. Some courses will be offered on a two- or three-year rotation.

Congregational Life and Work (SMCL)

This course will explore issues of youth ministry beyond the introductory level. Students who have had another youth ministry course or extensive youth ministry experience are invited to be a part of this class. Together the class will investigate matters such as sexuality, the influence of mass media, youth culture in society at large, the development of skills in conflict management, counseling of youth, multi-cultural issues, money management, alternative programming for youth, and the inclusion of youth in the worship life of the congregation. Specific directions for this course will be dictated by the needs and interests of the students and professor.

This course involves an exploration of stewardship education resources alongside the explanation of financial tools and services needed in today’s world. It is designed to serve the needs of pastors and other church leaders in the congregation. Initial attention will focus on the personal stewardship practice of class participants. An exploration of biblical and spiritual perspectives will prepare the way for each participant to develop a five year stewardship education plan for themselves as leaders as well as their respective congregations.

Congregations are too often guilty of reducing Christian education to only head knowledge or viewing it as a limited-time activity mainly for children and youth. In reality, Christian education is a life-long transformative action that is necessary for every member of the body of Christ and encompasses our whole beings. This course will provide a survey of major topics and theories in Christian education and faith formation including definitions, biblical foundations, purposes, and contexts for Christian education; age-related educational theory; and introduction to learning styles and multiple intelligences. Through self-reflection and engagement with course readings and guest speakers, students will work towards integration of practices with relevant theory in order to design and facilitate a Christian education event, workshop, or one-time event for a Christian ministry setting.

This course provides a foundation for communicating in today’s real-world settings. Students gain a working knowledge of skills, strategies and goals to facilitate effective communication in such diverse contexts as interpersonal relationships, organizations, and social media.

This course is designed to equip students to explore and develop dramatic and visual arts for Christian worship. It is grounded in an understanding that artistic expression can assist us in opening ourselves to God’s movement in us, in the church and in the world. Primary attention is given to how we use the scriptures for developing dramatic and visual arts. Reflection on the relationship of Christian faith and the arts will also be a part of this course. Students will be given the opportunity to practice their skills in visual arts, scripture reading, biblical storytelling, dramatic interpretations of biblical themes, the reading of litanies and calls to worship.

This course is designed for singing and studying hymns. It is organized historically and teaches students the many historical styles of hymn singing, newer styles of congregational song and international styles. Both unaccompanied and accompanied styles of hymn singing are included. The course explores the role and importance of congregational song in worship.

Traumatic life experiences come in many forms, touch multiple networks of relationships and systems, and call for a complex set of responses. The church must be equipped to respond. This course examines the physiological, psychological, spiritual and social impact of trauma. It explores how the Christian narrative/community with its transforming practices of truth-telling, forgiveness, reconciliation, restorative justice and peacebuilding can lead to the shalom of God’s present and coming kingdom, both within the church, and through the church, to the larger world. Pastors, church leaders, missionaries, counselors and others who seek to become agents of trauma healing will examine a healing path that integrates theology, spiritual practices and counseling skills.

This course is for both students with a pastoral counseling concentration and other seminary students interested in learning the introductory level of the art and science of pastoral counseling. The course will examine the basics of a counseling relationship and give the student the opportunity to practice a “counseling” relationship and skills in the context of the course. Topics to be covered include: theory overview, skills work, typical cases encountered, issues related to ethics, culture, theology, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Special attention will be given to the dynamics of counseling in the context of the congregation or faith community.

This course is a general introduction to preaching, emphasizing how to move from biblical text to God-centered proclamation of the gospel. While the course will explore a variety of approaches to the biblical text and consider historical, theological, pastoral, and creative aspects of preaching, we will focus primarily on one methodology that can be adapted to a variety of styles and forms.

A critical reflection on what it means to be a caregiver in the ministry of the church. Among the issues examined are the assumptions one brings to caregiving, the relationship between caregiving and counseling, and various models for pastoral care and counseling. Specific pastoral care events such as births, weddings and funerals are also explored. Professional and ethical issues related to caregiving and counseling are introduced. There will be a brief introduction of basic counseling skills.

Assessment and diagnosis are central skills for any caregiver whether one is a pastor, counselor or some other helping professional. This course will offer the student the opportunity to learn the basic skills of assessment and diagnosis. Assessment and diagnosis will be addressed from a number of perspectives with primary attention given to psychological, theological, and spiritual perspectives.

This course explores the biblical, historical, and theological issues underlying sacramental life in the church. A comparative study of ecumenical experience provides the student with critical tools to examine specific liturgical practices within his/her own faith tradition. Students will gain an appreciation of the underlying issues that help shape Christian worship in its various forms, and practical guidance in leading that shaping. Prerequisites: CTH 501 and 512

This course will focus on managing conflict in churches. Attention will be given to ecclesiology and theology related to conflict, development of skills for dealing with interpersonal conflicts, managing polarities, teaching communication in the congregation, and intervention skills for addressing deeper, more difficult conflicts in the congregation. The course will be taught with primary attention to the role of pastors, congregational leaders, conference ministers and overseers in managing congregational conflict and creating healthy churches. Class sessions will include lectures, videos, case studies, role plays and sharing of personal experience.

In this course, students will examine the meaning of “ritual” and the formative and transformative functions that rituals serve in the life of the church. Both the theology and practice of the primary rituals of the Christian church will be explored. The rituals of baptism, the Lord’s supper, wedding ceremonies and funeral services will receive the most attention. Rituals of healing, ordination and dedication or blessing will be studied as well. This course will prepare students to effectively lead congregations in meaningfully practicing the rituals of the church.

This course engages leadership and administration in both traditional and emerging congregations as well as missional involvement in the broader community. Initial attention will focus on the leadership formation of the student from a wholistic perspective. An exploration of biblical and spiritual perspectives will prepare the way for an examination of transformational leadership through both a contextual and cultural lens. Finally, students will have the opportunity to practice and reflect on leadership and administration via the exploration of a variety of specific topics including planning, budgeting, communication, team building, and conflict transformation.

This course is designed to prepare students for planning and leading congregational worship and to generate appreciation for the formative and transformative role of worship in the life of the church. Primary attention is given to the practical aspects of creating worship experiences based on biblical texts. Students will practice writing their own worship resources and become acquainted with published worship resources. This course will familiarize students with using the liturgical calendar and the Revised Common Lectionary as resources for worship planning. Prerequisites: CTH 501 and 502

For better or worse, families influence our character, values, and beliefs more profoundly than any other institution. This course will look at a church-based vision for rebuilding the infrastructure of families. It is designed to examine changes affecting today’s families in light of a biblical theology of family and will look at how family culture can be frontline mission agenda for the church of the next decade. The course will assist students in developing a theological and educational framework for thinking about family ministry. The course will also equip pastors and church educators with specific resources related to parenting skills, home-based spiritual formation, and peace and justice concerns.

p(jump-links#SMCL 702). SMCL 702 Advanced Preaching (3 SH)

This course is for students and preachers who desire to explore the theology and practice of preaching at a greater depth. Topics addressed will include: awareness of different theological foundations for preaching and articulation of one’s own theology of preaching; tools and techniques for exegesis or creating a sermon; sermon forms; and ways of improving sermon presentation, such as preaching without notes or the use of technology and visual arts and drawing from the tool of poetry and classic rhetoric. Students will engage these topics through lectures, short readings, class activities, preaching sermons in class, and short reflection papers.
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This course is for both students with a pastoral counseling concentration and other seminary students interested in learning the art and science of pastoral counseling. The course will examine the ministry of pastoral counseling at a more advanced level. It will give the student the opportunity to engage in a sustained counseling relationship with one other person. Topics to be covered include: an in-depth review of counseling theories, advanced skills work, and issues related to ethics, culture and theology. Diagnosis and treatment planning will be given sustained attention. Prerequisite: Pastoral Counseling I (SMCL 581)

This course provides an introduction to family systems theory and its relevance to ministering to marriage and family issues in the congregation. Each student will have the opportunity to develop a multigenerational family genogram and reflect on its impact on one’s own functioning and ministry. Various theories of marriage and family counseling will be examined. Students will be empowered to more helpfully address marriage and family issues in the congregation. Some of the topics covered in the course include: the single life, premarital counseling, wedding preparation, post-wedding involvement with couples, ministry to various family needs and issues, divorce and remarriage issues, marriage and family enrichment, etc. SMCL 611 is recommended as a prerequisite.

This course provides a setting for students to explore homiletical perspectives on theological and exegetical problems discussed in other courses in the seminary. The course enables students to integrate their academic and practical ministry goals by helping them develop sermons that draw on insights gained from other course work. Students will work together through all phases of the preaching task, from conception of the ideas to the delivery of sermons. The expectation for this course is that a student will take it simultaneously with another course which lends itself to the development of sermon themes. Approval must be granted by the instructor of the workshop. Students may take the course a maximum of three times. Prerequisite: SMCL 602 Foundations for Christian Preaching.

Missions and Evangelism (SMME)

Various activities called evangelism center in making authentic new disciples. The disciplines of “initial spiritual guidance” are practiced in this course to help people encounter God, receive God’s forgiving, healing grace, enter God’s arriving reign, learn the Christian disciplines of the Spirit, be joined into the body of God’s people, and learn to take part in God’s own saving, healing, transformative mission in the world. This course includes reflection on the history, theology and practice of making disciples with special concentration on practicing the disciplines of evangelism as initial spiritual guidance among people who are strangers to the church.

Jesus taught his disciples to confront the kingdom of darkness by announcing the arrival of God’s kingly reign, inviting repentance, loving enemies, embracing the excluded, forgiving sinners, and healing the sick and demonized. This course focuses on the biblical mandate for healing ministry, the current recovery of healing ministry, and the crucial place of healing ministry in the church’s life and mission. Special emphasis is placed on learning through experience some of the dynamics of spiritual ministries for healing and deliverance in collaboration with social action, psychotherapy and medical care. Special attention is given to facing squarely some of the hard questions related to healing ministry and its abuse.

The Church in Mission (3 SH)

See CM 501.

Mission in Cultural Context (3 SH)

See CM 621.

Cross-Cultural Church Experience (3 SH)

See CM 613.

Mentored Ministry Internship (2-6 SH)

See SMFE 781.

Field Education (SMFE)

(see the requirements for Mentored Ministry)

Formation in Ministry I, II (Field Education) (3 SH), (3 SH)

See FS 601 and 602.

An intensive experience in supervised ministry normally in an off-campus setting. Internships may range in length from three to 12 months. They may be arranged in settings such as pastoral ministry, urban ministries, church planting and overseas missions. Credit earned is generally elective credit. In some settings, the intern may take a limited amount of study at a local seminary. Internships operate according to guidelines established by the seminary. Ministry Internships in a specialized setting are approved by the Director of Field Education. Prerequisite: Minimum of one year of seminary study; FS 601 and 602.

EMS students may apply for a Teaching Mentorship in the EMU Bible and Religion Department. This mentorship includes practice teaching at the undergraduate level under the direct supervision of a faculty member assigned to the course. The faculty member functions as a teaching mentor and provides oversight and evaluative feedback at regular intervals during the mentorship. Participation in this mentorship will follow Formation in Ministry I & II (or equivalent) and the completion of at least 18 hours of seminary coursework. The number of mentorships each semester will be limited to one. Application shall be made to the EMS Mentored Ministry office.

This course is a guided learning experience in ministry in an institutional and/or congregational setting under a certified ACPE supervisor. Program components include verbatim writing, lectures, individual supervision and the interpersonal experience of a group of peers in a common learning experience. This course is offered during the summer in the format of a ten-week intensive unit and during the school year as an extended unit spanning six months, with three hours of credit each semester.

Directed Studies

Directed studies may be taken in any department subject to the approval of the instructor and the associate dean. More information here.

Research project done in the area of the student’s concentration and under the direction of the faculty supervisor.