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Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Ministry: Programs & Schools

A degree in pastoral ministry can open the doors to a wide array of meaningful careers. Read below to explore information about admissions and coursework for a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry, as well as some potential related careers available.

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Bachelor's Degrees in Pastoral Ministry

Having a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry can prepare someone to work in church leadership, as a missionary, in non-profit organizations, and other meaningful fields. While pursuing this degree students will study languages, history, public speaking, and hone their leadership skills. Continue reading to gain further insight into the degree requirements and career prospects for those pursuing a bachelor's in pastoral ministry.

Admissions Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees in Pastoral Ministry

Bachelor's programs in pastoral ministry will require applicants to have acquired an accredited high school diploma or have successfully completed a GED program. Some schools may also require the student to sign a statement of faith once accepted into the program. A demonstrable history of volunteer work may also prove beneficial to those applying, as this demonstrates the type of genuine care for others essential to being a church leader.

Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Ministry Coursework

Coursework for a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry covers a range of subjects intended to train well-rounded church leaders. Students can expect to take ancient language courses, public speaking courses, and have hands-on opportunities to practice leadership skills. Below are some courses students might come across while earning their bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry.

Biblical Interpretation

Many programs offer courses on the principles of Biblical interpretation, sometimes called hermeneutics. Courses in Biblical interpretation might introduce students to different interpretive frameworks. Methods could be discussed as to the interpretation of various literary genres found in Christian scripture such as poetry, narrative, and prophecy. Students will likely also learn how to apply their interpretations to contemporary life.

Systematic Theology

Depending upon a college's theological perspective, students will likely come across courses that teach the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and where these doctrines came from. Students may learn about various theological topics like bibliology, soteriology, and eschatology among others. It is likely that undergraduate students will take at least one course in systematic theology and may even need to take additional advanced courses in it to satisfy their school's degree requirements.

Biblical Greek

Students may be required to take courses in Biblical Greek in order to read, understand, and perhaps even translate Biblical texts such as the New Testament and Pentateuch. Being able to read a text in its original language could prove indispensable when trying to understand the intent of the person who wrote it. Students may likewise be expected to take courses in other relevant ancient languages such as Aramaic and Hebrew and may need to take proficiency exams, depending on the program.

Church History

Courses in Church history are central to most programs in pastoral ministry. Students will likely be taught about Christianity's theological developments, movements, and major figures since the New Testament era. Most courses in Church history also outline the general social, cultural, and political developments that have in some way affected the Church throughout time.

Principles of Christian Leadership

Courses in Christian leadership teach students about the unique responsibilities placed upon those in church leadership positions. Students may learn the components of the administrative process and how to apply this process to a local church context. Overall, such courses aim to train students in managing groups in a manner consistent with Christian virtues and principles.

How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Ministry

When deciding on which college to attend for a degree in pastoral ministry, it is important to consider one's own theological leanings. Most programs are associated with a particular branch of Christianity. A student should typically go with a college associated with the church or branch of which they themselves hope to be a member or in which they hope to eventually work. Not all careers, however, require that a graduate be associated with a particular branch.

Keep an eye out for programs that integrate professional internships into their curricula. Such opportunities may prove highly beneficial for someone hoping to work in church ministry or leadership.

Career Options with a Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Ministry

Pastoral ministry programs typically aim to train people for positions in local church leadership as head, associate, and youth pastors. Church leadership may extend beyond the local church, however, and graduates may find themselves in pastoral positions such as naval or hospital chaplains, missionaries, or even church-planters. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the job growth for clergy from 2018-2028 is expected to be about 6%, while the average salary in 2018 is $53,290. Clergy in the bottom tenth percentile earned $26,160 annually while those in the ninetieth percentile earned $85,040. All this being said, graduates may also find that the skills they acquire while pursuing their degree in pastoral ministry also translate well to non-religious fields. Listed below are some careers open to those with a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry.

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