Starting in the fall semester of 2016, Crown College will offer a Master of Divinity graduate degree.
The M.Div. is considered the standard professional graduate degree for students preparing for ministry.
“This really is a signature moment for Crown College,” said Dr. Phil Petersen, professor of pastoral leadership at Crown. “For nearly 100 years, Crown has been training Christian leaders who have served the church and the nations. Ministry training was the reason our college was founded in 1916, and has continued to be at the heart of Crown’s identity and purpose. The Master of Divinity degree is widely recognized as a standard for excellence in equipping people in ministry, so we are excited to continue our history of ministry training, but now to provide this at a higher level of excellence.”
Most M.Div. programs necessitate 90-plus credit hours for completion, but Crown’s 72-hour degree allows for a more cost conscious program that was designed to be taken completely online. The program includes a core of biblical and theological foundations and ministry leadership courses, as well as a summative experience course designed for students to reflect on ministry calling in response to practical ministry experiences.
“We designed a strong program that can also be completed a little quicker,” said Dale Lemke, assistant professor of ministry leadership at Crown. “It’s focused on providing the skills that are necessary for pastoral ministry. Students save some time and save some money to accomplish their goals.”
In addition to a lower credit hour degree program, the Crown degree provides students with a 15-credit hour emphasis in intercultural studies, theological studies, spiritual formation, pastoral leadership or executive leadership. Through this, students are eligible to graduate with a Master of Arts in Christian Studies or Ministry Leadership after 36 credit hours in those concentrations, meaning they will earn two graduate degree when finished with the 72-hour M.Div.
“That’s fairly distinctive,” Lemke said. “We’ve been able to develop emphasis tracks to provide our students specific training in whatever area they wish to pursue.”
Petersen mentioned excitement about a pastoral training degree in which leaders are able to stay in their local congregations while taking classes online.
“Crown will be able to provide graduate training without uprooting the student from their place of ministry,” he said. “Organic leadership development in the early church meant that leaders were trained from within their local churches, mentored by pastors, and serving together with their biblical and theological training. Now, students no longer need to be removed from the local church. Instead, quality academic training will compliment practical service within the context of one’s local church.”
At the core of Crown’s mission and vision is the idea of preparing students for ministry leadership. This graduate degree will provide the practical tools for leadership of diverse organizations, whether a church or a nonprofit.
“It’s a great next step for us in terms of going to that next level of preparing ministry leaders,” Lemke said. “This is a great time for us to offer the hallmark degree of a theological training school.”
For more information about starting this degree, please contact the Online Admissions office at 952-446-4300.