Online Degree Programs in Christian Leadership: Program Overview

Get information about online degree programs in Christian leadership. Read about program requirements, course topics and descriptions, as well as career information.

Essential Information

Several schools offer online bachelor's and master's degree programs in Christian leadership. Many programs are designed for people in non-ordained roles. In online education, students can download course materials and view lectures as their schedules permit, within set guidelines. Some of these programs are in a hybrid format that combine distance and on-campus education. Students can participate in class discussions through video conferencing and chat functions.

The bachelor's degree program in Christian leadership includes general education courses in topics such as social studies, science, and mathematics. Students gain a foundational knowledge of the Bible and the history of Christian theology and the church. They study counseling methods as well as teaching and preaching. Topics important to church administration and development are covered. These programs may require internships.

In a master's degree program, students learn to apply biblical and theological principles to leadership situations. Courses may cover topics such as cultural diversity, Christian ethics and church history. Students may need to complete an internship or field experience. A research project or a thesis may be required as well.

Bachelor's Degree in Christian Leadership

Online bachelor's degree programs develop and enhance knowledge of Christian and biblical principles in the practice of church-related ministry. Students learn communication, administration and leadership skills in preparation for careers in Christian ministry within a religious setting.

Program Information and Requirements

Applicants typically must hold a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Some institutions may require bachelor's candidates to complete prerequisite coursework in topics including communications, humanities, and social sciences. Many of these programs are fully available online; however, some may include a mix of distance education and on-campus classes. Online courses are accessed through online course management systems. Students can communicate with their professors and fellow students through discussion boards and chat rooms.

Online learners must have access to a computer meeting hardware and software requirements. An Internet connection is required to access online learning platforms. A webcam, speakers, and microphone may be needed to communicate with classmates in real-time conferences.

Common Online Courses

Bachelor's students examine current issues in Christian ministry and leadership. They gain practical knowledge of the philosophies and theories that guide the communication of Gospel teachings in various contexts to diverse audiences.

Teaching and Preaching Foundations

In this online course, students examine the principles and skills used to teach and preach Scripture. The curriculum discusses an overview of basic pedagogy, as well as how to measure the effectiveness of message delivery.

Foundations of Counseling

Students are introduced to the concept of helping others through using a biblical model of pastoral care and church ministry. They are tasked with understanding the differences between levels of individual responses.

Church Administration

This course provides an overview of the concepts and methods applied in the organization of the ministries in a local church. Students also examine the tactics used in developing a local congregation.

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Master's Degree in Christian Leadership

Master's degree programs in Christian leadership provide ordained and non-ordained students with enhanced theological and practical managerial skills. Online learners use theoretical and biblical leadership principles to address current issues in church ministry and management.

Program Information and Requirements

Candidates are generally required to possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A number of programs are available online, but students may be required to attend on-campus lectures or meet in-person with their professors. A thesis or field experience may be required to complete the curriculum.

Completion of online programs requires a computer and Internet connection to access online learning management systems. Additional software and hardware, such as Microsoft word and webcam may be required.

Common Online Courses

Master's students explore topics and issues surrounding leadership in the Christian faith. They gain advanced knowledge of the strategies employed to serve the ministry and community through an in-depth study of biblical concepts.

Biblical Foundations in Christian Leadership

In this online course, students explore leadership from a biblical and theological perspective. Online learners explore passages of the Old and New Testament to understand contemporary leadership concepts.

Conflict Resolution in Ministry

Students leverage theories of family systems in the examination of conflict management. They learn tactics in assessing conflict and devising resolutions.

Principles of Accounting and Finance for Ministry

This course provides an overview of fundamental accounting and finance principles for local church leaders. Areas of study include the roles and responsibilities of financial officers and treasurers, as well as their relationships with non-profit organizations.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in Christian leadership generally are equipped for senior-level or managerial-level positions, such as associate pastor, chaplain, or religious educator. The median salary for an associate pastor was $65,536 in 2016, as reported by

Lay counselor, pastor, and ministry leader are careers available to master's degree holders. In 2016, reported the median annual salary for a senior pastor, a position for which a master's degree is usually required, could range as high as $90,643.

Students interested in becoming pastors, religious educators or other managerial positions, may consider an online bachelor's or master's degree program in Christian leadership. Coursework varies with the level of education, but both programs prepare students in foundations of the Bible, counseling, conflict resolution and more.

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