Earning a Christian ministry degree online allows you to build foundational knowledge in biblical studies.
This type of program can help you better understand biblical doctrine and help you develop leadership skills for serving in your church or in your faith-based community.
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Should you wish to pursue a life of service, an online ministry degree can provide you with the relevant training to understand and engage in Christian service of all kinds.
Christian Ministry Degrees Online
A Christian ministries degree online program encompasses a broad variety of Christian knowledge. It can help you understand biblical texts at a deeper level and can train you to become a servant leader.
Christian ministry bachelor programs focus on teaching biblical and theological foundations and preparing students for Christian service. They also concentrate on the history of Christianity.
Some course topics you may encounter in this program include:
- Old Testament studies
- History of Christianity
- New Testament studies
- Christian ministry
- Christian ethics
Programs can also have an internship component. This can allow you to experience working in your church community.
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Some careers in ministry and pastoral services include:
- Private school religious studies teacher
- Youth pastor
- Religious activities director
All these avenues of work are focused on service and dedication to your community, with your faith as the foundation of the work you do.
A Christian ministry degree can also be beneficial if you have no prior experience with theological studies. You may want to consider this route if you wish to pursue a faith-based career that is rewarding and can make a difference in your community.
Common Bachelor of Ministry Specializations
A generalized Christian ministry degree can help you develop broad knowledge and skill sets in biblical studies and service. Many programs also offer degree specializations that can train you in specific branches of ministry.
- Ministry Leadership. If you want to become an ordained Christian minister, you may want to consider a degree in ministry leadership. This specialization can help prepare you for leadership positions in churches.
- Pastoral Studies. This degree looks at religion through a lens of social environments. Pastor schooling helps students analyze how faith can be implemented as a foundation for all relationships and experiences in life.
- Youth Ministry. If working with young people interests you, you may want to consider a youth ministry specialization. You can learn how to communicate with young people and help them understand the role God plays in their lives.
- Leadership and Missions. If you wish to travel the world and share the Christian faith on a global scale, a concentration in leadership and missions may be a good fit for you. You can learn how to effectively share the good news of the Bible with people who have cultural differences.
- Theology. If you’re interested in learning about world religions, you might consider a specialization in theology. This track looks at all major religions and can equip you with skills that are applicable in a variety of fields, such as education.
There are many diverse specializations you can pursue with online ministry training, depending on your passions and ultimate career goals.
If your goal is to become an ordained minister, or to move up in church leadership, then a Master of Divinity online or on campus is usually required.
Ministry and Theology Careers & Salaries
Some students earn a Christian ministry degree in order to pursue work in their local church, and others use their training to benefit the community.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for clergy is expected to grow 4% over the next ten years. There are also a number of alternative career paths in the field of ministry.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$69,600|
|High School Teachers, Private Schools||$58,550|
|Music Directors and Composers||$52,250|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||$51,560|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$47,660|
|Religious Activities and Education Directors||$45,110|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||$35,960|
There are a wide range of career paths for professionals with an education in ministry. For example, those who don’t want a position in a church may pursue work in Christian education, in nonprofit organizations, or in social or community service.
Bachelors in Christian Ministry Curriculum & Courses
Similar to an online bachelor’s in theology, your online Christian ministry degree program can introduce you to a diverse curriculum that’s intended to build your foundational knowledge on biblical, theological, and faith-based topics. Here are some courses you may encounter during your studies:
- Old Testament Studies: You’ll learn to analyze the Old Testament and how these historical lessons can be applied to the present day.
- History of Christianity: This course gives you a historical look at the way Christianity has molded and changed over time. You’ll look at important points in Christian history and analyze them from a present day perspective.
- New Testament Studies: This course studies the books of the New Testament in depth. Some programs also look at the original Greek texts.
- Christian Ministry: This course covers what it means to become a leader in Christian service, with a particular emphasis on communication and cultural understandings.
- Christian Ethics: You’ll look at present day ethical concerns, and you’ll learn to analyze and interpret these current issues through a Christian lens.
- Philosophy of Theology: You’ll study philosophical masters and learn about the numerous interpretations of the role of God in our lives.
- The Calling and Practice of Ministry: You can come to better understanding of the selfless compassion needed for this role through this course. By studying the texts of important ministry leaders through the ages, you can also gain a better understanding of the challenges of this role.
- Research and Writing for Ministry: You’ll learn the fundamentals of academic research and professional writing, especially for leading discussions, for pastoral speeches, or for writing Christian articles.
- Conflict Resolution in Ministry: Managing conflict from a Christian perspective is no easy task, and this course helps prepare you with the skills to mediate challenges in the community and achieve conflict resolutions.
- The Book of Revelation: This course looks at the Book of Revelation under a closer lens and helps develop the best understanding of how this text influences service and ministry as a whole.
Some programs also require you to do an internship in your local church.
How to Choose an Online Degree in Christian Ministry Program
When you’re exploring schools and programs, here are a few factors you may want to consider to help you narrow down your options:
- Career goals. What will this degree allow me to do following graduation? Does this program offer my preferred specialization? Will I require more certifications to achieve my career goals?
- Program schedule. Am I able to adjust my schedule and course load according to my needs? Will this online program be combined with an in-person internship or classwork? Am I able to commit to that?
- Cost. What financial cost will this program entail? Will I require financial assistance?
- Program length. How long will this program take? How much study is required of me in order to meet the requirements of my degree?
When choosing a program, it can be helpful to already know what specialization you may wish to pursue. If you don’t, then a general ministry program may help you discover where your passion lies.
How to Become a Pastor
If you are thinking about pursuing your Christian ministry degree because you want to become a pastor, here are some of the steps you can take toward this goal:
- Seek advice from pastors. It’s beneficial to reflect upon whether you will be able to fulfill the needs of this shepherding, faith-based role. You can speak to other pastors to get their advice about next steps and to see whether they affirm your calling.
- Choose your pastoral path. It helps to have a clear understanding of the kind of pastor you wish to be. Some pastors educate, while others counsel. Some perform missionary work, while others plan outreach events in their communities. Some pastors serve a particular ministry or age group.
- Pursue a degree. You can look for a degree program and specialization that aligns with your desire to do faith-based work. Earning a Christian ministry degree online can help provide you with a foundation for future pastoral work. The type of role you desire can also affect the level of education you’ll need.
- Be an active church member. It’s important to continue being an active member of your church community. You can connect with your pastor and even ask them to mentor you through your educational career. You can also seek out internship opportunities in local churches.
- Become ordained. Pastoral ordination is given by your local church. The requirements for ordination can vary depending on the specific church and denomination. A number of churches require ordained pastors to hold a masters in a ministry-related degree. Other churches may also require in-house pastoral training.
As you go through these steps, you can continue to grow in your faith and build up your work experience as you serve in your local church or community.
Bachelor’s in Ministry Admissions Requirements
The admission requirements for a degree in Christian ministry can vary from school to school, but the requirements can generally be quite lenient for a faith-based degree.
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- High school diploma and transcript or GED
- Pastoral recommendation
- Cover letter or statement of intent
Most schools also emphasize that students must be 18 years of age or older to apply to this specific program. In addition, many ask that you are an active member of your church.
It’s helpful to be extra vigilant regarding the accreditation of your school. Many fraudulent or inauthentic accreditation companies are used for online ministry programs.
A reliable way to check the standards of a program you are considering is to visit the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Regional accreditation is the gold standard for schools.
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Regional accreditation is awarded to a school that has been reviewed and found to meet high-quality standards. When you attend a regionally accredited school, you can be confident that the school meets high academic quality and accountability expectations.
Ministry Licensure and Certifications
Depending on the kind of work you wish to pursue, the licenses or certifications you will need can vary. Some licenses in this field include:
- Ministry license
- Minister license
These licenses and their requirements can vary from state to state. Minster licenses and ministry licenses can be needed in some states to officiate weddings or to represent a church for ministry opportunities in the community.
A pastor is typically ordained by the local church. Ordination requirements can vary depending on the church and denomination, but a masters degree is a common qualifying requirement. Once you know the type of ministry work you wish to pursue, you can inquire about which certification would be best for that role.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are a number of financial aid opportunities available to qualifying students. If you decide to pursue a Christian ministry degree, you may want to see if your local church community offers any grants, loans, or financial assistance to members who wish to grow in their biblical education.
In addition, your school of interest may scholarships or loans based on your high school performance. There are a number of private organizations that offer scholarship opportunities as well.
You can begin your financial assistance search by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can determine your eligibility for federal or state aid, and it links directly with your school of interest to make the process fast and easy.
What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Ministry?
Becoming an ordained minister or pastor requires additional certifications, but there are many job opportunities you may be interested in following your bachelor degree in Christian ministry.
Some professionals with a background in ministry teach religious studies at private schools or work as youth counselors, chaplains, or missionaries. Others go on to start or support nonprofit organizations. Churches are also in need of Christian counselors, event planners, fundraisers, music directors, administrators, and communications directors.
A bachelors degree in Christian ministry can help you strengthen your biblical knowledge, helping you qualify for leadership or support roles in the Christian community. A degree program can also help you develop marketable skill sets that are applicable in both the Christian and secular job market.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Christian Ministry Degree?
If you follow a standard 16 week semester and attend full-time, it generally takes 4 years to complete a bachelors degree.
Many online programs offer schedules with 8 week classes. If you follow this type of schedule year-round, you may be able to finish your degree in less time. With the flexibility of an online program, you can often adjust your schedule to your needs. If you enroll part-time, it will often take longer to finish your degree.
What Degree Do You Need to Be a Pastor?
A Master of Divinity (MDiv) is the degree most commonly required to become a pastor in Christian ministry.
Requirements to become a pastor can vary, though, depending on the specific church and denomination. For instance, some religious institutions may ordain a minister who holds a bachelors degree, while others will require additional certifications or internship experience.
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A faith-focused bachelor degree can enable you to build your foundation in Christian leadership and qualify for entry-level ministry opportunities.
What’s the Difference Between a Minister vs. Pastor?
The titles minister and pastor are sometimes used interchangeably. There are technically some differences, though, between the two official roles.
The requirements for becoming a minister or pastor can vary depending on the particular, denomination, church, and state.
What’s the Difference Between an Online Ministry Certificate vs. Degree?
There are significant differences worth noting between an online ministry certificate and an online ministry degree.
|Ministry Certificate Program||Ministry Degree Program|
The best option for you depends on your career goals, your time, and your financial abilities.
Is a Christian Ministry Degree Worth It?
Yes, a Christian ministry degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% job growth for clergy over the next ten years.
The foundational skills and knowledge you can learn through this degree program can help you qualify for roles in church leadership or administration, should you desire that. Your training can also apply to impactful roles in schools, hospitals, businesses, or nonprofits.
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If you want your faith to be central to the work you do, a degree in Christian ministry can help you grow in your biblical knowledge and develop servant leadership skills.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Christian Ministry Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Colorado Christian University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. All classes can be taken online and are 5 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 2.8 or higher and submit ACT or SAT scores, a spiritual recommendation, and an essay.
Colorado Christian also offers a 100% online masters in Christian ministry.
Colorado Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Crown College offers a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry. The program is designed to allow students to complete a minor with their degree. Each class is offered online and 8 weeks long. Applicants may apply online with copies of their high school transcripts.
Crown College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Hope International University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and submit official high school transcripts and a personal essay.
Hope International University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
Indiana Wesleyan University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry Leadership. Students who have already completed an associate degree may enter the Completion Path, which only requires 48 credit hours instead of 120. Applicants must have a high school diploma to be eligible for the program.
Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. The online program is designed to last for 18 months, with each course lasting for 6 weeks. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applicants must apply online with official transcripts.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Point University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministries. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate, with 45 credits dedicated to the major. Up to 90 qualifying credit hours may be transferred into the program. Those interested in the program must submit an online application with high school transcripts.
Point University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Regent University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. Students may add a concentration in Church Music or Pastoral Care. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. Those interested in the program may apply online with an admissions questionnaire and copies of their government-issued ID.
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Trevecca Nazarene University offers a Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry. Students must complete 120 credit hours and a final capstone project to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have 40 credit hours already completed, a GPA of 2.0 or higher, and a government-Issued ID.
Trevecca Nazarene University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Trinity International University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. Students may choose to add one of the following specializations to their degree: Pre-Seminary, Family Ministries, or Broad Field. To graduate, students must complete 124 credit hours. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website.
Trinity International University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Warner University offers an online, adult program in Christian Ministry. Students are required to complete 2 courses every 8 weeks. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.25 or higher and appropriate ACT or SAT scores. They must also be in the upper half of their graduating class.
Warner University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Bachelor Degree in Christian Ministry Online
If you feel called to ministry, you might consider getting your bachelor degree in Christian ministry online from an accredited school.
The foundational skills and biblical and theological knowledge that you can gain through a ministry program may set you on your way to serving as a leader in your church community.
The flexibility of an online program allows you to schedule your course load according to your personal and professional obligations, helping you stay connected to your local church community. It can also enable you to pursue your degree from the comfort of your home.
Why not start exploring Christian ministry programs today?