As of the fall of 2023, the School of Theology now offers one major in theology and religious studies with two new concentrations that will allow students to tailor their degree to their goals without sacrificing a deep theological foundation.
The pastoral ministry concentration is designed to expand on the core biblical classes with courses in biblical languages, community engagement for churches, and business management. Students are also required to complete a pastoral internship, usually in cooperation with the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Carl Cosaert, dean of the School of Theology, said that the refined concentration is focused on preparing students for theologically sound and compelling ministry.
The second concentration is focused on preparing students to minister to a growing population that does not attend church. The chaplaincy concentration introduces students to healthcare administration, loss and grief studies, and chaplaincy alongside all the core theological classes of the major. “Chaplaincy is one of the fastest growing forms of ministry in society,” says Cosaert. “It is a key means to reach people with the gospel in an increasingly secular world.” As more students pursue these careers, this focused study helps students access internships and flourish in chaplaincy.
While both concentrations allow focused preparation for students, the base theology and religion major maintains a strong core of biblical studies accessible to many students. Older students can take a focused path to seminary without sacrificing depth. The major is also more accessible to pre-professional students who want to take a deep understanding of the Bible with them to healthcare, while still having time to take the host of needed science courses.
The revised offerings are an exciting step forward for the School of Theology. With students studying a singular core major, those interested in diverse careers will be brought together for rich discussions and coursework.
“This is the right time for the change,” said Pedrito Maynard-Reid, professor of theology. “In a changing world, pastors need to be wider equipped to deal with non-pastoral issues and those who don’t wish to be pastors can strengthen their biblical theological knowledge and enhance their abilities to become knowledgeable lay-leaders in their local churches.”
Posted Nov. 28, 2023.