I got my Master’s yesterday; it was a long time coming, so I’m excited about that.
What may surprise you is that my degree was actually a Master’s of Arts in Theology, not the norm for college ministry training. In fact, the one Collegiate Ministry class I did take doesn’t count toward the degree. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my degree plan, and Bible and theology are always edifying. It just wasn’t specifically college ministry-focused.
But that’s not to say I didn’t gain some major help for Collegiate Ministry just the same. Here are a few classes I found particularly helpful for that field:
Hermeneutics: If I was designing a Collegiate Ministry degree, I would probably include at least two semesters of Hermeneutics (perhaps with a healthy dose of secular Logic as part of that).
Both the facts and the skills gained in studying the science of interpretation are indispensable for Christian college ministers. We face an awful lot of bad interpretations (of the Bible and other things). And we also have the chance to shepherd Christian students at the exact point in life when they need to get really good at reading the Bible (without “reading into” the Bible).
Patristic Greek Readings and Exegetical Seminar in Acts: Why did these classes help me for college ministry? Because I didn’t take them at my school!
Though my degree came from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I transferred these two classes in from the grad school of Abilene Christian University, an internationally-recognized Church of Christ school in West Texas. It was a blast hanging out and learning with some studs from a different area of Evangelicalism. Knowing how to encounter differences is one of the many specialist skills needed in college ministry, and I’m glad I had the chance to spend time outside of my norm – and in a college campus environment, which is even better.
Intro to Missiology and Intro to Church Planting: These courses were the most formative for my own work in Collegiate Ministry.
Though it would be a while since I said it out loud, I certainly can point to these Missiology classes as helping me begin thinking about college ministry as missions. We spoke of strategy and history and contexts and differing methods, and it sounded suspiciously like the very ministry I was already doing… as a college minister.