Being a pastor in the 21st century in the U.S. is a daunting challenge! The M.Div. in Pastoral Studies concentration is designed to help prepare current and future pastors to understand the issues facing the American church today and be equipped with theological knowledge and ministry skills to address these challenges.
Students seeking preparation for general pastoral ministry, particularly the role of senior pastor responsible for the theological and administrative leadership of a local church in the United States, are encouraged to pursue the 90-hour Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies.
All five concentrations have a strong component of practical field experience, a 12-hour apprenticeship, built into the requirements.
Examples of courses in this major:
Building on a foundation of basic orthodox systematic theology, students will explore the issues that create tensions within a theological system. Particular attention will be focused on contemporary theological questions relating to topics such as inspiration, the nature of God, personal eschatology, etc. Students will be expected to prepare position papers, which are to be defended in class.
This course seeks to promote appropriate ministry perspectives especially as applied to the local church in North America. Two main areas will receive attention:
This course combines both theory and practice. It introduces a functional methodology of organizing and developing the elements of a sermon. It examines issues of bridging exegesis and exposition as well as the application of biblical truth and the effective delivery to listeners. Approximately one-third of the course is devoted to a lab setting where lessons and sermons are videotaped and critiqued.
Pre-course requirements will engage the student in reading assignments and reviewing audio/video presentations of selected issues related to counseling theory and methodology. During the one-week on-campus module, issues related to counseling expectations and practice, anthropological considerations, and specific personal problems will be addressed.
The individuals who will challenge you to learn:
B.A. in Economics, Millersburg State College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; M.A. in Biblical Counseling, Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Pastoral Studies, Denver Seminary
Dr. Ken Bickel was originally in banking when he was saved and called to the ministry. He served as a full-time senior pastor for eleven years and part-time instructor at Grace Theological Seminary before coming full-time to Grace in 1990. He has served as a visiting instructor in Homiletics at Philadelphia Biblical University and as a church consultant on numerous occasions. He is a past President of the FGBC National Ministerial Association. He is a charter member of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and regularly presents papers at the annual meetings. He is active in community related activities and serves on the elder board in his local church. His latest research can be seen in Interpreting the Psalms for Preaching and Teaching, edited by Herb Bateman and Brent Sandy (Chalice, 2010).
B.S. in Psychology, The Ohio State University; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Pastoral Studies, Denver Seminary
Dr. Jeffrey Gill was the senior pastor of the Delaware, Ohio Grace Brethren Church for 20 years (1982-2002). He started at the church when it was little more than a church plant. It experienced substantial growth over the years and is now well-known in the FGBC as a healthy and influential church body. He assumed the role of Dean of Grace Theological Seminary in July, 2002. In 2008, he was named Dean of the School of Ministry Studies, which includes both the Seminary and the undergraduate Biblical Studies Department at Grace. He was the National Moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches in 2002. He and his wife, Kathy, have two grown daughters.
B.S. in Communication, Ohio University; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Ph.D. in Biblical Theology (New Testament), Wheaton College
Dr. Matt Harmon brings a passion to equip people to encounter Christ through the Scriptures and lead others to do so as well. His research interests include the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, Biblical Theology, Pauline studies, and the life/ministry/theology of Jonathan Edwards. He served as full-time staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for eight years, doing evangelism and discipleship with college students. He taught courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College, as well in the local church. On a regular basis, Dr. Harmon also teaches for Campus Crusade for Christ, helping to train staff in interpreting and teaching Scripture. In his spare time, Dr. Harmon also teaches training workshops for Bibleworks. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society for Biblical Literature. Dr. Harmon is married to Kate and has two sons.
B.A. in Christian Education, Wheaton College; M.A. in Christian Education, Talbot School of Theology; Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Character Development and Spiritual Formation), Talbot School of Theology
Dr. Hill brings her passion and training in spiritual formation to facilitate the holistic development of students while at Grace. Her research interests include personal and interpersonal development with empirical work conducted in the area of adult attachment styles and relationship with God variables. She taught at Biola University and Talbot School of Theology before coming to Grace in 2006. While she focuses primarily in women's ministries, she has served in a variety of leadership roles cross-culturally, in the local church and in the parachurch context. Dr. Hill has developed a number of Bible study materials, published in the Christian Education Journal and presented research findings at the North American Professors of Christian Education Conference, a society of which she is a member.
B.A. in Pastoral Studies, Moody Bible Institute; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Th.M. in Practical Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; D.Min. in Preaching, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Dr. Rock LaGioia has been heavily involved in pastoral work since 1987. A member of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and the Evangelical Theological Society, he has authored numerous magazine articles and written book reviews. Dr. LaGioia has taught a wide variety of college courses such as spiritual formation, preaching, and theology at Moody Bible Institute and Taylor University. He has also taught graduate level homiletics and theology courses at Trinity International University and Huntington University Graduate School. Dr. LaGioia and his wife, Kathy, have been blessed with two sons.
Diploma in Advanced German, Goethe Institute; B.A. in History, Grace College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Intercultural Studies, Grace Theological Seminary
Dr. Roger Peugh came to Grace in the fall of 1989 with three years of pastoral experience followed by 20 years of missionary experience as a church planter in Germany. While at Grace, he was involved as an elder in a church plant for 13 years. He is an active Bible conference speaker as well as guest-lecturer in several German Bible schools. In addition to his role as Professor in the School of Ministry Studies, Dr. Peugh serves Grace College as Campus Prayer Coordinator and is serving as the Interim Dean of Chapel. Dr. Peugh, who has authored on the topic of prayer, is married to Nancy and they have four children and eight grandchildren.
B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; M.Div. in Biblical Languages, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Theological Studies (Old Testament), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Dr. Rata came to Grace Theological Seminary from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he served as Assistant Professor of Divinity. Before that he taught at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and Emmanuel Baptist University in Oradea, Romania. He has also pastored churches in California and Alabama, and served as an interim pastor in Michigan and Indiana. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Institute for Biblical Research and has presented papers at the national conventions of the Evangelical Theological Society. Dr. Rata is chair of the undergraduate Department of Biblical Studies. He and his wife, Carmen, have two sons.
B.A. in Bible, Appalachian Bible College; Th.B. in Bible and Theology, Appalachian Bible College; M.A. in Religion, Liberty University; M.Div., Th.M. in Theology, D.Min. in Pastoral Theology, Grace Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Preparation, Capella University
Dr. Mark Soto teaches in the School of Ministry Studies and is the program director for the M.A. in Ministry Program. His background in curriculum design enables him to provide faculty development and training in this area. He works extensively with the institution's hybrid-online programs while also completing a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning at Capella University. Prior to coming to Grace College, he had 12 years of experience in the pastoral ministry and was a counselor for a Christian residential childcare facility. He continues to serve as an interim pastor for two churches. He served as a part of the Grace College Student Life staff as the Associate Dean of Men before assuming a full-time faculty position. Dr. Soto and his wife, Carol, have two grown daughters.
B.A. in Communications, Grace College; Th.M. in Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Miss., Western Baptist Seminary
Dr. Tom Stallter has 18 years of missionary experience in the Central African Republic and Chad in the areas of church planting and development, leadership training, mission administration, and famine and economic relief. In addition to his teaching in the School of Ministry Studies, Dr. Stallter is the Executive Director of the institution's GTS Center for Korean Studies. Areas of research for Dr. Stallter include, cultural intelligence, business as mission, multicultural worship, ethics in missions, cultural values, cultural identity assessment, culture discovery, and matching missionary candidates to contexts. He is a member of the Evangelical Missiological Society and the National Ministerium of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Dr. Stallter and his wife, Sharon, have three grown children and one granddaughter.
Some of the positions you can obtain:
The Senior Pastor of a church provides spiritual and emotional support to the congregation, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching the principles of the Word of God. The Senior Pastor should not only be proficient in talking church talk, but must actively walk the Christian walk.
The Associates Pastor's role is to support the senior pastor and fulfill whatever duties both of them, along with the congregation, agree he should fulfill. Duties usually include most of the same responsibilities as a full-time pastor. One main difference is that a senior pastor leads the entire congregation while the associate pastor reports to him. However, some associate pastors work in a specialized area of ministry, such as community care, children, youth or worship.
A Youth Pastor is concerned with today's youth and leads teenagers in their spiritual and personal development. They need to possess great leadership qualities and experience in sharing Gods word with teenagers. They lead the youth activities, outreach programs and youth services within the church and often work with motivating and training other staff members. A youth minister should be disciplined, self-motivated, organized, possess good communication skills, spiritual maturity, have a good understanding of the Bible, demonstrate Godly character and lead by example.
Being a Children's Pastor is not very different from being the senior pastor of a church. A Children's Pastor ministers specifically to the children of the congregation from nursery age to high school.
A Worship Pastor/Leader should be someone with a deep love for Jesus Christ and His people; someone with a passion for music and the role it plays in congregational worship; someone who is able to thrive in a team environment; and someone who is able to envision and energize a community that is grounded in both the great hymns of the past and the current expressions of worship.
A college professor is a teacher at a four year college or university. Professors help students increase their understanding of particular subjects and philosophies. In addition to teaching, professors typically have research requirements. These requirements vary depending on the academic institution and subject.
A military chaplain accompanies soldiers as they perform their missions around the world, acting as the spiritual leader. He ministers to the soldiers and also acts as a preacher, teacher, counselor and citizen soldier. A military chaplain is often accompanied with a chaplain assistant who is an enlisted soldier and they both form a Unit Ministry Team (UMT).
A campus life pastor may serve in a church affiliated college, work for a nonprofit student outreach organization or minister on the staff of a local church. However, the focus of all campus pastors centers on a particular audience–college and university students, whether they be believers or not.