Pastoral Ministries Program
The Pastoral Ministries Major prepares students to serve as a pastor or staff minister in a variety of local church and parachurch settings. This program combines classical foundational studies in Biblical interpretation, Church history, and theology with practical ministry courses in leadership, pastoral formation, preaching, worship, Christian education, evangelism, pastoral care and contextualization. This degree is designed to meet the educational requirements for ordination in some denominations and provides a solid practical foundation for those planning to immediately go into church ministry or for those preparing for seminary. Most classes are taught by ordained faculty with years of ministry experience. Pastoral Ministries students complete a required internship in the program.
What can I do with this major?
Pastoral Ministries majors can seek employment in churches as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teaching pastor, administrative pastor, and other ministry roles. Their skills can also lead to employment in parachurch organizations, campus ministries, missions societies, and a variety of other ministry organizations. Some Pastoral Ministries graduates also continue to seminary for further studies and training in preparation for various pastoral ministries.
Caleb Rogenthien ’21 shares his story: “As a pastoral ministries major, I completed an internship at a small church of about 80-90 people. Throughout my internship, I was able to preach as well as help with worship, children’s ministry, student ministry, and adult discipleship. My internship gave me the opportunity to learn how it would be to serve as a pastor of a small church. If you feel like God is calling you to be a pastor in a local church, then I would recommend this major to you. The pastoral ministries major gives you opportunities to learn and prepares you to become a pastor upon graduating.”
At Asbury, we recognize that the world is a rapidly changing place and that students are likely to serve in a wide variety of contexts. We also do not believe there is a “one-size-fits-all” ministry program that churches can implement in every culture. Instead, we focus on teaching students to understand the cultures and local context they are serving in, to interpret the needs in that community, to turn to God through Scripture and theology for solutions, and then to have the servant-leadership to make changes in themselves and their ministry. In short, we teach students to be adaptable to a changing world while grounded in the Unshakeable Kingdom and Unchangeable Person of Jesus Christ.
Yes! The Pastoral Ministries major has a required internship serving in a local church or parachurch organization that many alumni have identified as a crucial part of their preparation for full-time ministry. In addition, there are many opportunities for students to serve in local churches during the school year and the summers. AU’s network of alumni and church partners covers the world, and we are proud to create learning opportunities with those ministry leaders.
Yes, this program equips students with skills in many types of ministry in the larger context of pastoral care of people. Courses provide instruction in a range of ministries, from formal church settings to parachurch organizations. Churches can have a variety of pastor positions beyond the senior pastor, but all share a pastoral ministries foundation.
For some demonstrational churches and some non-denominational churches, a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministries would be marketable for full leadership capacity as senior pastor. However, more graduates will start in associate or specialized pastoral ministry roles to gain experience before advancing to senior pastor.
Yes, both male and female students can major in Pastoral Ministries. As a university in the Wesleyan tradition, Asbury recognizes that any person might receive a call to ministry and be capable of being trained as a pastor.