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 that are based upon biblical principles. 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 followership. Focus will also be placed upon robust models and theories of organizational leadership with the intent of application to faith-based contexts. From the perspective of a local church, 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 ministry. (3 units)
Leadership Strategy and Planning
This course begins with a review of the theological foundations regarding the proper practices of the local church. 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 churches and/or faith-based organizations. (3 units)
Leadership Execution and Productivity
This class 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 organization. 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
Biblical leadership requires a proper understanding of authority and how to steward it in effective ways that lead to organizational health and effectiveness. Learners will evaluate seminal literature related to transformational versus transactional leadership. Students will analyze select biblical texts and contemporary reflections related to power, stewardship, influence, pride, humility and the abuse of power. Students will be guided to understand and apply proven insights and practices related to empowerment, persuasion and influence. From the perspective of a local church the learner will evaluate biblical descriptions and prescriptions related to authority, decision-making and accountability and will articulate a ministry 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 the historic doctrine of sanctification related to leadership. Additionally, students will examine historical models of spirituality and spiritual formation with application to spiritual, moral and ethical development. Students will also study analyze the theological and ministry applications of the concepts imitation and serving a role models for others. Special attention will be given to biblical, historical and contemporary models and methods of mentoring and disciple making. (3 units)
Entrepreneurial Leadership in a Christian Context
An examination of the discipline of innovation from a biblical worldview. Specific focus will be given to innovation in churches and Christian organizations, but the course will also deal with leadership issues for Christians who innovate in a secular culture and/or workplace. 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 application to the local church and the faith-based organization. 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, 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 the skill of listening and its impact upon leading others. The student will develop an ongoing strategy for local church 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 living effectively in a faith community both from the standpoint of relational health and productive co-laboring. Students will analyze and synthesize historical and contemporary literature connected to emotional intelligence with application to church and organizational involvement. Attention will also be given to understanding organizational culture. Assessment will be conducted of 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
An overview of key issues that move a church toward greater health. Special attention is given to evangelism and outwardly-focused ministries used in those congregations that have become true models of revitalization. The course also focuses on some of the more practical issues of ministry such as prayer ministries, counseling, discipleship ministries, leading a church as an organization, and a review of the conflict and change issues covered in other courses. (3 units)
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