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Earn Your Christian Ministries Degree at SC!

If you are answering your calling to ministry, the Southwestern College online undergraduate degree in Christian Ministries will prepare you. Study the New and Old Testament, explore caring in the church, philosophy of religion, and even choose an emphasis in youth ministry! You’ll graduate ready for a variety of careers. Classes are taught by experienced ministry professionals who bring real-life experience and scenarios to the curriculum. Classes are taught completely online every six weeks to ensure your earn your degree faster – on your time!

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Why Choose Christian Ministries at SC?

Recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report for its online bachelor’s degree programs, Southwestern College offers quality online degrees to adult learners. With courses taught by expert faculty and access to a variety of student resources, SC learners are provided with the tools and flexibility needed to succeed in their education while preparing for professional advancement.

  • Choose your area of emphasis in ministry
  • Diverse curriculum
  • Nonprofit, regionally accredited

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Career Opportunities

Graduates of the online Christian Ministries program at Southwestern College will be prepared for a careers, including:

  • Church minister
  • Chaplain
  • Director of youth ministries
  • Church administrator
  • Teacher

Student Success Stories

“After struggling for a few years to keep child care for (my son), I was recommended to Southwestern College by a friend. It was a game changer! Other than observations, my
son was allowed to be with me at all times.”
Savannah T., Graduate


Visit our faculty page to view current Christian Ministries instructors.


Southwestern College’s Christian Ministries program links theological reflection to contemporary ministry contexts. The program provides education in the interpretation of scripture, Christian theological traditions and current church practices applicable in a variety of ministry settings. The program contains a common core of biblical and theological studies with broadly defined emphasis areas in pastoral studies and youth ministry. It is designed for maximum flexibility in ministry contexts as well as to lay the groundwork for graduate ministry education, if desired.

Admission Requirements

  1. Have completed a minimum of 6 post-high school college credits
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.0

Core Major Requirements

HUM301: Critical Thinking

This course prepares learners to critically interpret, synthesize, analyze and evaluate information. It is designed to introduce learners to complex problems and help them come to well‐reasoned conclusions and solutions.

MIN110: Introduction to Ministry

This is an orientation course to equip learners with skills for vocational discernment and readiness for ministry education. As they explore the various forms of ministry practiced historically and today, learners will investigate their own sense of calling and will develop an understanding of the opportunities and challenges that may arise during the educational process and their chosen career. Course must be taken within the first 12 credit hours of the program.

THEO215: Understanding the Old Testament

Learners in this course undertake a study of the Hebrew scriptures, seeking to understand them in their original context and thus their significance for today.

THEO216: Understanding the New Testament

This course covers the origin and development of the Christian religion as expressed in the New Testament. Learners will pursue understanding the Christian scriptures in their original context and thus their significance for today.

THEO225: Christian Ministry in a Pluralist Context

This is an exploration of religion and its role in human life, with attention to major faith traditions of the world and the salience of the pluralistic context in which Christian discipleship and ministry are practiced in the twenty-first century. .

THEO301: Systematic Theology 1

This course provides a study of the core teachings of the Christian faith and the means by which the church through the centuries has come to organize these teachings. It also shows the deep internal relationships between the various teachings and how they shape both individual and communal Christian life.
Recommended prerequisite: HUM 301.

THEO302: Systematic Theology 2

A continuation of THEO301, THEO302 addresses theological method and takes on the interplay between Christian theology, ethics, and various aspects of our lived contexts. The work of this course includes the tasks of organizing one’s own theological reflection as well as beginning to define relationships between faith and culture, theology and society, between Christianity and our surrounding social, economic, political realities.
Prerequisite: THEO301.

MIN332: Caring in the Christian Community

The course helps learners become better informed as caring ministers and more effective in developing care ministries in their local settings. Students learn to use a method of critical refection in praxis, through which they can identify where suffering is occurring, analyze the causes of suffering, and imagine responses by which suffering can be alleviated with caring. Prior study interpreting the Old and New Testament is recommended.

THEO333: The Church: Origins to the Middle Ages

This course introduces students to the major movements, personalities, and ideas that have shaped Christian thought and practice through the centuries. It also links these matters to issues the contemporary church and world are facing. The course covers the time frame from the church’s beginnings to approximately 1300 CE/AD.

THEO334: The Church: Renaissance to the Present

This course is an extension of THEO333 and follows the same approach; it introduces learners to major thinkers, ideas, and movements that shape today’s church and helps learners to see their significance for understanding today’s church and world. Although it is best to take the courses in order, THEO334 may be taken prior to taking THEO333.

MIN420: The Church and Mission

This course introduces learners to the concept of missio Dei (the mission of God) and helps them think critically about missional practices in the church.

MIN454: Practicum in Ministry

The practicum involves real work experience in a ministry setting, bringing prior BACM studies to bear in an on-the-ground ministry context. The course includes both field supervisor-directed practicum work, as well as instructor-directed assignments.

Pastoral Studies Emphasis Requirements

THEO340: Texts and Their Meanings

This course provides an introduction to the basic principles involved in interpreting and understanding texts. The course will look at such questions as the relationship and understanding between author, the text, the reader(s), and the community in which these materials come together.
Recommended prerequisite: THEO200.

THEO401: Theological Systems and Issues

This course provides a brief review of theological method and a survey of well‐known modern systems of Christian thought including process, liberation, feminist, and neo orthodox/evangelical theory.
Recommended prerequisites: THEO301 and 302.

THEO415: Denominational Heritage and Structure

This course is designed to assist students in the knowledge of their chosen denomination as it relates to the universal Church. Independent research and personalized instruction will be part of the learning process.

MIN 425: Church Administration & Finance

This course introduces learners to the theology and practice of administration, financial stewardship, and professional ethics within a ministry setting.

Youth Ministries Emphasis Requirements

MIN124: Introduction to Youth Ministry

In this course, learners explore foundational concepts and skills related to youth ministry. The course engages the learner in constructing a basic philosophy of youth ministry, and includes observation in local church and/or para-church youth ministry settings.

MIN224: Adolescent Spirituality

This course explores age-relevant existential questions concerning belief in God, belief in humanity and young people’s relationships to the church and to each other. It includes an introduction to spiritual disciplines associated with the Christian Faith.

MIN324: Teaching Methods in Youth Ministry

This course builds on prior learning in youth ministry courses by combining that learning with educational theory, to develop a knowledge base and skill in teaching in youth ministry settings. It includes teaching in groups and one-to-one.

MIN424: Applications in Youth Ministry

This is a comprehensive youth ministry course, the content of which is foundational to local church work. Emphasis is placed on equipping learners to practice youth ministry in the local church by exploring a variety of theories, techniques, and resources. Prior study of educational theory is highly recommended.
Prerequisite: MIN 124.


THEO320: Philosophy of Religion

This is an inquiry into the general subject of religion from the philosophical point of view. Among the specific questions considered are the philosophical aspects of faith, the nature of religious ideas and language, and the intersection of faith, reason, and ethics. It is recommended that learners have a thorough understanding of systematic theology prior to taking this course.

MIN325: Public Speaking in Ministry

This course introduces students to the basic questions, concepts and challenges of communicating in a variety of ministry contexts. It gives the students opportunity to develop skills in exegesis and public speaking using a variety of media.

MIN354: United Methodist History

A survey of the history of United Methodism in the United States, from its British and Wesleyan roots in England to the present. This course counts toward meeting United Methodist certification requirements in designated ministry areas.

Foundation Requirements

CORE101: Developing Academic and Professional Strengths

How does higher education help create the type of person that businesses want to hire? Learners will explore the answer to this question, and in doing so, help lay the foundation for academic and professional success. Each learner will develop a core set of skills needed to be both an effective college student and a successful professional in the 21st‐century workplace. Learners will develop and practice practical strategies with which to become more efficient and effective learners, while also developing higher‐order learning skills to reflect on critical issues relevant to both academic and professional environments such as personal responsibility and ethics.

CORE110: Information Literacy

This course is designed to provide learners with the skills that are fundamental to becoming an information‐literate professional who can locate, evaluate, organize and communicate information. The abundance and rapid flow of data requires skill development in the understanding of information resources, accessing information sources, determining the credibility of Internet information, logically organizing sources and finally presenting the information professionally.

ENGL101: Composition 1

This course helps learners develop writing skills that are transferrable to any academic or workplace writing task. The course guides learners through the process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading academic and workplace writing. Learners will develop skills necessary to craft coherent sentences and paragraphs, to edit editing their writing for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They will learn about narrative structure and techniques as well as the elements of successful argumentation and persuasive discourse. This course also guides learners through every stage of the research process. Learners will develop a research plan, conduct research, organize and draft a research paper, and then revise, edit, and proofread that research paper.

ENGL102: Composition 2

This course builds on the thinking and writing skills introduced in Composition 1. Learners will write critical, argumentative essays based on their interpretations of nonfictional texts, including literary, film, and cultural texts, and in doing so, will recognize the role of rhetoric in the writing situation as they craft persuasive discourse. In doing so, they will learn methods of questioning, analyzing, and evaluating their own beliefs as well as the perceptions and perspectives of others. These methods of critical thinking are intended to improve the quality and organization of learners’ writing for any purpose, including academic and workplace purposes. In addition to writing essays, learners will develop more advanced research strategies, as well greater proficiency in APA style.
Prerequisite: ENGL101

COM125: Speech

This course helps learners majoring in any discipline strengthen communication skills essential for success in academics and the workplace. Learners will focus on listening, evaluating, and delivering spoken discourse based on audience and purpose. Learners will evaluate why some people are more effective than others as public speakers, analyze speeches and audiences, study ethical considerations for speakers, research and organize findings on a topic, and present findings before an audience, and learn techniques for identifying and reducing speech anxiety.

HUM201: Ethics

Ethics introduces learners to moral philosophy, the branch of philosophy that questions what is good and bad. The course surveys a number of important ethical theories—ethical relativism, objectivism, egoism, altruism, utilitarianism, duty‐based moral theory, natural law, natural rights, and virtue ethics—as they examine reasons why certain actions are morally right or wrong. Learners will apply ethical theories in the evaluation and analysis of current controversial issues, question ethical matters from a variety of angles, and acquire new tools to assist them in making ethically sound, well‐informed decisions throughout their lives.

COM301: Professional Communication

This course prepares learners to communicate effectively in business settings by helping them develop their written and oral communication skills. The course focuses on traditional and Web‐based forms of communication used in business today, including e‐mail, letters, memos, reports, proposals, and presentations. The course teaches learners to plan, write, and revise communications for a variety of audiences and in different mediums. It also teaches learners to communicate with greater clarity, economy of language, and vigor, as well as how to communicate professionally with employees, customers, and hiring managers. Learners will participate in interactive online activities and complete real‐world assessments that help them produce, evaluate, and improve their own written, oral, and multimedia communication skills.
Prerequisite: ENGL102. A final grade of C or higher for this course is required for learners to enroll in the capstone course.

*MASC110 Statistics & Probability, or MASC115 College Algebra, or more advanced college credit bearing mathematics course requiring college algebra or higher as a prerequisite.

Disciplinary Perspective Requirements

Social Science (6 credit hours)
Humanities (6 credit hours)
Natural Sciences (4 credit hours)

Graduation Requirements

  1. Complete all foundation and major courses with an overall GPA of 2.0
  2. Complete a minimum of 124 credit hours, with at least 60 hours at a bachelor’s degree-granting institution
  3. Complete at least 30 credit hours with a C average or above from Southwestern College

All degree requirements are subject to change. Please see Southwestern College Professional Studies Catalog for the most current degree requirements.

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