SBU begins innovative Master of Arts degree in Christian Ministry

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University will begin offering a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, with classes starting Fall 2017, having received approval from the Higher Learning Commission, the University’s accrediting body.

“A primary purpose of the program is to bring up and train students to approach ministry in innovative ways,” said Dr. Zach Manis, professor of philosophy and director of the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program. “We want our students to engage the culture and think through new and difficult problems.”

The 42-hour degree program will take less than half the time for completion of a Master of Divinity and is designed for individuals who desire advanced study in ministry in order to serve the church more purposefully.

“We are taking both the ministry and theology sides of our college and integrating them in a systematic way: in every class, in a capstone project and in the program as a whole,” Manis said. “We want to equip students to apply theological knowledge to practical ministry initiatives in new and fruitful ways. The whole program is designed as a continuation of a liberal arts approach to education.”

Students must complete four core courses, one each from the categories of leadership, theology, community and service. At least nine elective courses are required, allowing students to select courses that emphasize areas of study that are conducive to each student’s own vocational and ministry goals.

“Many components of the program will be student-designed, meaning they can choose projects that directly support their specific ministry calling or the ministry area in which they are already serving,” Manis said.

Courses begin Fall 2017 with two dual-enrollment courses available to current SBU undergraduate students. The course schedule will expand for the Spring 2018 semester, when courses also will be available for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree.

Incoming or current SBU undergraduate students who anticipate completing both a bachelor’s degree in a related field and the master’s degree in Christian ministry can reasonably complete both degrees in five years. A student who already has a degree in a related field can complete the degree in two years.

Applications to the program are now being accepted for the Spring 2018 semester.

For questions about the MA in Christian Ministry, contact Manis at (417) 328-1766 or

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