Master of Arts in Christian Leadership

Degree: Master of Arts
Semester Hours: 48

This program provides graduate theological study for persons engaged in or contemplating a variety of leadership roles in community, congregational, or other professional settings. It is particularly well-suited for the preparation of persons who wish to offer leadership founded in theological and Christian spiritual foundations in any of a variety of professional settings: United Methodist deacon orders, participation in a congregational leadership team, work in a community service agency, social change organizing or mission outreach locally or cross-culturally. The student will receive basic training within integrative core courses and then will identify further coursework allowing them to focus a specialized ministry area with a supervised ministry experience in the area of focus.

Early in their time of study, students will work with an advisor to identify vocational growth goals and to select courses that will prepare them for the specialized role they envision for their ministry. This specialization, while having a clear focus, will be made up of courses that students and advisors jointly discern will best serve their further ministry preparation. Possible areas of specialization given the training opportunities the seminary can provide are these: local and global mission of the the church; Christian spiritual formation and direction; chaplaincy and pastoral care; congregational ministries (e.g. youth, teaching).  Students may also pursue one of several graduate certificates in other EMU graduate programs, for example the Certificate in Restorative Justice, or the Certificate in Transformational Leadership. 

Degree requirements require a supervised ministry experience and completion of a final 3 semester-hour Ministry Specialization Project (SMCL 698). This project will be a summative reflection on the area of specialization chosen by each student, and a proposal for ways the ministry specialization will contribute to the students’ ongoing vocation.

Since the MACL is a terminal degree, students who may later choose to enter a different program such as Master of Divinity will need to complete additional studies beyond the one-year difference in the two programs. If a student chooses to complete an MACL degree and then decides to pursue a Master of Divinity degree, consideration may be given to applying up to 33 semester hours of credit from the first degree toward the Master of Divinity degree.

A unique strength of Eastern Mennonite Seminary is our formation program. We believe that focusing on one’s own formation during the seminary journey is the way for ministering persons to be healthy and whole in their vocations. For this degree, two formation courses are required. Two courses in Formation in God’s Story help students understand their connection to God’s story as found in Scripture in conversation with their own life stories being written in the present through growing spiritual practices. Additional Formation studies can be done as part of the students’ specializations. Persons considering advanced academic master or doctoral studies should pursue the Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Religion degree rather than the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership.

Master of Christian Leadership Core Curriculum Design

Core Courses (18)
FS 501 Formation in Gods Story I (3)
FS 502 Formation in Gods Story II (3)
BVOT 511 Old Testament: Text in Context (3)
BVNT 512 New Testament: Text in Context (3)
CTT 634 Living Theology  (3)
CM 643 Missio Dei in Cultural Context (3)

Choose one of these courses (3)

CTH 501 Christian Tradition I
CTH 512 Christian Tradition II

Choose two Biblical Studies course (6)
Any BVG, BVOT or BVNT courses  
Recommended - BVG 621 Interpreting the Biblical Text

Choose one Worship Course: (3)
SMCL 642 Congregational Worship (3) 

Students will complete the following or the UM studies
Choose two Advanced Theological studies courses (6) 
CTT course 
CTE course 
CTH course 
United Methodist Studies (6)

(Student needs to check with his/her conference to confirm all requirements are met)
CM 670 U.M. Studies I (3) 
CM 680 U.M. Studies II (3) 

Ministry Specialization and Electives (12-16) EMU graduate certificates may fill ministry specializations; see, e.g., Transformative Leadership

*CM621 Evangelism: Living to Tell

  • strongly recommended; required for United Methodist deacon students

At least 3 sh of supervised ministry experience; options below:

  • FS 601 Formation in Ministry I (3 SH)
  • SMFE 601-602 CPE (6 SH)
  • FS 613 Home-based Spiritual Direction Practicum

SMCL 698 Ministry Specialization Project (3 SH required)

Possible Ministry Specializations:
Christian spiritual formation and direction
Chaplaincy and pastoral care 
Congregational ministries (e.g. youth, teaching)

Total of 48 SH 
Core courses: 36
Elective – guided by specialized specialization focus: 12