The online Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MA-CL) degree program is designed for individuals serving in church leadership as well as persons seeking career advancement into leadership roles. The Christian Leadership Master's degree program emphasizes strategic thinking, communication, character development, mentoring, and systems of accountability for current and future leaders seeking to maximize their impact in their institutions, whether faith-based or not.
The M.A. in Christian Leadership degree program provides graduates with a philosophical and theoretical background in relevant leadership principles. As leadership opportunities continue to grow in church, nonprofit organizations,and elsewhere in the professional sector, there is an increased demand for ethical leadership to meet the current and future needs to move these organizations to greater effectiveness.
Courses for the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership program are explicitly designed to address the immediate needs of Christian leaders based on a biblical foundation and the impact of modern cultural trends. Comprised of eight-week courses designed for the online learning format, the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership allows a level of flexibility that many non-traditional students find rewarding while balancing competing work and life obligations with high academic rigor and expectations. The M.A. in Christian Leadership prepares students for advanced leadership through a strong foundation in theology, history, biblical knowledge, communication skills, and organizational theory. The program is competitive and comprehensive while remaining practical for the working professional with multiple commitments.
The Master of Arts in Christian Leadership program values professional and academic integrity and ethics, a clear biblical perspective, diversity, collegiality, and community engagement, along with the pursuit of attaining the highest possible standards of leadership for all. Perhaps one of the program’s strongest assets is found within the diversity of students, faculty, and staff. This multiplicity of experiences and viewpoints – academic, personal and professional – contribute to a robust learning environment that extends beyond the university and represents the multifaceted scope of leadership in the 21st century.
Consistent with the University student outcomes, upon completion of the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership degree, graduates will be able to:
1. Develop a comprehensive philosophy of Christian leadership using biblical, historical and theoretical underpinnings of leadership study.
2. Develop the practice of personal and organizational strategic thinking utilizing the most effective approaches to execute a strategy.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of leading change in an organizational setting.
4. Develop a general understanding of communication both in an interpersonal and organizational context.
5. Develop insight and strategy related to organizational execution including personal productivity.
6. Integrate self-awareness of personality traits and wisdom related to relational intelligence with the intent of developing a personal growth plan.
7. Integrate the knowledge and wisdom related to the use of power and accountability in authoring and leading.
8. Apply the basic principles of modeling, mentoring and disciple-making at a personal level as well as within local church and professional contexts.
9. Assess the general health of a church or organization and evaluate it for the purpose of leading that entity toward revitalization.
10. Establish the framework and skills for entrepreneurially seeking new and adaptive ways to advance the gospel.
Foundations of Christian Leadership
This course is designed to help leaders understand the explicit and underlying theological foundations of Christian leadership. The major motifs of leadership as described in the Bible will be analyzed with the intent of identifying contextually relevant prescriptions and practices. Special attention will be given to servant leadership and the responsibility of leaders to be followers. Focus will also be placed upon modern models and theories of organizational leadership with the intent of application to faith-based institutions and other professional environments. Through careful biblical and theoretical synthesis, students will engage in identifying clear ecclesiological purpose and mission. This analysis of Scripture and select books will result in the development of a robust philosophy of Christian leadership. (3 units)
Leadership Strategy and Planning
This course begins with a review of the biblical and historical foundations that set the stage for the necessary and proper characteristics of faith-based institutions, and evaluates the impact of these traits in various professional environments. This analysis will be supplemented by a review of the discipline of organizational strategy, particularly in the context of rapid change and frequent disruptions. Students will be guided to actualize their theological convictions into practices that are reflective of and consistent with core beliefs. Special attention will be placed upon strategies and techniques of moving from ideals, values and goals to effective implementation. Students will evaluate and articulate the roles of intentionality and accountability in leading faith-based institutions and other organizations. (3 units)
Leadership Execution and Productivity
This course will add to the student's understanding of both biblical and contemporary organizational strategies for execution defined as sustained achievement of the vision, mission, values and goals of a given institution. Attention will be placed on the concepts of alignment (people, processes and activities in synergy with mission and goals), intentionality and measurements of success, accountability and adjustments based on results. Additionally, students will be guided in an evaluation of personal discipline, time management and the competencies related to productivity consistent with the wide range of biblical descriptions of a well-lived life. (3 units)
Power and Accountability
This course analyzes the appropriate use of responsibility and leadership. Biblical leadership requires a proper understanding of authority and how to steward it in effective ways that lead to organizational health and effectiveness, whether in faith-based networks or any other professional environment. Learners will evaluate seminal literature related to transformational versus transactional leadership and analyze select biblical texts and contemporary reflections related to power, stewardship, influence, pride, humility, accountability and the abuse of power. Students will synthesize and apply proven insights and practices related to empowerment, persuasion and influence. From the perspective of a Christian leader of an organization, the learner will evaluate biblical descriptions and prescriptions related to authority, decision-making and accountability and will articulate a theological and practical strategy based on these insights. (3 units)
Modeling, Mentoring and Disciple Making
This course will investigate the implications of foundational passages in the Bible related to developing, nurturing and equipping leaders. Students will discover the biblical precedent of training, teaching, modeling and transferring leadership and will synthesize how to demonstrate these principles in organizational contexts. Students will specifically analyze the theological and practical applications of the concepts of imitation and serving as role models for others. Special attention will be given to biblical, historical and contemporary models and methods of mentoring and disciple-making that prioritize developing succession plans and entrusting leadership to others. (3 units)
Entrepreneurial Leadership in a Christian Context
This course provides an examination of the discipline of innovation from a biblical worldview. Specific focus will be given to innovation in faith-based organizations, but the course will also deal with leadership issues for Christians who innovate in a variety of professional environments. The course will require the student to interact with some of the most current and influential thought leaders in innovation through books, articles and video presentations. (3 units)
Leading Change in Faith-Based Organizations
This course will analyze the most common theories of organizational change with the intent of applying these principles in faith-based organizations and other professional environments where Christians serve in leadership. Case studies will be utilized to help students develop an understanding of the process of leading change. Special attention will be given to the underlying causes of interpersonal and organizational conflict connected to change or other causal factors. Students will be equipped with proven strategies for moving people and organizations through biblical principles and processes of conflict resolution. (3 units)
Communication Principles and the Church
This class is designed for students to understand the dynamics of interpersonal and organizational communication. Special attention will be given to the concepts and skills related to casting vision, inspiring confidence, and engendering motivation. This class will analyze historical examples of inspiration and provide practical applications of the skill of persuasion. Students will also examine principles and practices of listening and its impact upon leading others. The student will develop an ongoing strategy for various levels of interpersonal communication including the traditional, digital and social media channels and tools. (3 units)
Emotional Intelligence and the Church
This course will review relevant biblical passages connected to leading effectively in a faith community and in the world, from the standpoints of both relational health and productive co-laboring. Students will analyze and synthesize historical and contemporary literature connected to emotional intelligence with and explore how to apply these principles in various organizational settings. Attention will also be given to understanding organizational culture. At a personal level, the student will gain self-understanding and self-awareness through various instruments that will provide normative descriptions of personality styles and traits. Special attention will be given to the development of a personal strategy for growth in relational intelligence at an individual and community level. (3 units)
Critical Issues in Church Ministry and Revitalization
This course will provide an overview of key issues that move organizations toward greater health. Students will analyze the common contributing factors to institutional decline and evaluate proposed solutions based on various models of recovery. Special attention is given to outwardly focused endeavors used in those institutions that have become true models of revitalization. The course also focuses in specific detail on some of the more nuanced issues of leadership at faith-based organizations, such as intentionality, discipleship, community engagement, and a review of conflict and change issues. (3 units)
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*Student may begin class once this step has been completed
This serves as an admissions process general guide, may vary based on transfer units, test scores, etc. See your admissions counselor for your personal enrollment plan.
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