The Master of Christian Ministries is a seamless five-year program that helps students explore relevant topics and develop practical skills needed for today’s ministry leaders.

Terry Linhart, Ph.D., department of religion and philosophy chair, gives the highlights and benefits about this unique five-year master’s program that also includes a bachelor’s degree.

JB: How unique is it to have a program like this?

TL: Currently, we are one of six colleges in the United States that have such a program. Among those, we are unique in our six-month internship program during the fourth year. This will really help students experience church pastoral leadership for an extended period of time beyond what normal internships offer.

JB: Why start the Master of Christian Ministries program?

TL: The Kern foundation provided a financial incentive to start this program. Their goals for pastoral preparation and ours were in sync and we found a common vision for how to effectively educate future pastors. It’s more than financial — the process has helped us evaluate the Christian ministries degree and fashion an updated program that features a solid biblical foundation, a strong theological component, and a wider range of practical ministry courses.

JB: What are some of the features of the program?


  1. It’s flexible for Bethel students who have one or two years of school to easily transfer into the program.
  2. Students begin taking graduate-level courses in their fourth year of the program.
  3. There is a six-month experience partnering with a church during the summer and fall of year four. This internship experience includes 10 credits of courses (a combination of undergraduate and graduate) to provide a unique theory-in-practice experience.
  4. The curriculum features six semesters of MIN 201 spiritual formation. These classes combine mentoring and spiritual formation to foster opportunities for significant levels of personal, spiritual and leadership growth in students.
  5. Year three includes two semesters of homiletics to establish the foundations, while practical preaching labs in year four provide supervised experience in preaching. In year five, students then perform graduate-level study on advanced preaching and creative forms of communication.

JB: What is the benefit for a student to enroll in this program?

TL: They are able to earn a Master of Christian Ministries degree in five years from high school graduation. It has a scholarship incentive for the fifth year, the year of graduate work.

JB: What outcomes do you expect for students to finish this program?

TL: Given the seamless degree format and the six-month internship in a local church, I expect students to be better educated for full-time pastoral roles than what a traditional bachelor’s degree offers. I would expect this in all phases: character, leadership, skills and theological knowledge with the ability to apply that knowledge to practical ministry settings.

JB: What should a student do if they are interested?

TL: Contact the admission office at Bethel College to speak with an adviser at 574.807.7600.