By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University is offering an online 27-hour program for a Certificate in Christian Ministry beginning with the fall 2008 semester, according to Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University.
“We are very pleased to be offering the Certificate in Christian Ministry as an online option,” said Carter.
“This illustrates Campbellsville University’s commitment to serving the needs of pastors and church leaders in Kentucky and beyond with an additional option to secure good theological training while continuing their ministry and careers.
“This program was advocated for sometime by various bivocational ministry
leaders, including Rev. Dennis Bickers, chair of the Church Relations Council, and Rev. David Sandifer, director of CU’s Heartland Bivocational Ministry Center. It is also a step toward our goal of offering the master of theology degree online in the near future.
“Campbellsville University is committed to connecting with Kentucky Baptist Convention churches as well as churches of other denominations.”
“Bivocational ministers have to keep in balance five areas of life: their family life, their church work, their other job, their relationship with God, and their own personal well-being,” Bickers said.
Bickers said, even though many bivocational ministers would like to pursue an education, “It just seems overwhelming with all the other demands on their time.”
He said the new program from CU will offer bivocational ministers the flexibility they need to obtain their education at their own pace in a way that will fit their schedules.
Sandifer said, “This program includes a congruent unit of study to assist ministers in the region who are currently serving churches, and especially for ministers who have been unable to engage in post-secondary study of a more lengthy nature. All courses taught in this certificate program are fully accredited and may be applied toward degree programs.”
Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the School of Theology at CU, said the primary target audience for the program is the non-traditional adult learner especially the bivocational Christian ministers throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky and virtually beyond who desire beginning theological and ministry training at the baccalaureate level.
He said the program will facilitate ministry preparation of persons with little or no formal theological education with a delivery method that can better meet the demands of the bivocational Christian minister.
“We plan to produce Christian ministers consonant with the vision statement of the School of Theology, people who are passionately evangelical, rooted in the biblical story, church-connected, servant leaders, spiritual entrepreneurs and partners in an enduring fellowship,” Hurtgen said.
He said the 27-hour program will provide a way for students who already hold a baccalaureate degree and who desire master’s level ministry preparation to obtain minimal prerequisite hours at the undergraduate level in an online format.
Hurtgen said 85 percent of the pastors in Baptist and other churches in CU’s multiple-county service region are categorized as bivocational ministers.
“Since the certificate will be offered online, we are convinced that the need for more flexible ministry preparation that exists in our immediate region will be attractive to ministers throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the bordering states of Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee and beyond,” Hurtgen said.
“Today’s Christian minister is increasingly likely to be the full-or part-time employee who is also pursuing God’s call into Christian service and for whom the online certificate is a great first step in fulfilling that call.”
“We have had a few master of theology applicants who wanted to start our graduate program but did not have the prerequisite eighteen hours in undergraduate Christian studies. In placing the certificate online we thought this would give those students a flexible option for completing those hours.”
“The certificate of Christian ministry is a first step into the online world for the School of Theology. We are in the process of placing our 39- hour master of theology completely online. Like the certificate of Christian ministry, the M.Th. degree will also have to gain University and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) approval.”
Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, said the online certificate program will allow pastors across the state, especially bivocational pastors, the option of obtaining some additional Bible training without having to give up their time to minister to their congregation. He said Sunday School teachers may also be interested in taking these courses for improvement.
For more information about the program, contact the School of Theology at (270) 789-5029.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.