CU to offer 27-hour online certificate in Christian ministry program

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By The Staff

Joan C. McKinney

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University is offering an online 27-hour program for a certificate in Christian ministry beginning with the fall 2008 semester.

"We are very pleased to be offering the certificate in Christian ministry as an online option," said Dr. Michael V. Carter, CU president.

"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."

Carter said the program was advocated for sometime by various bivocational ministry leaders, including the Rev. Dennis Bickers, chair of the church relations council, and the Rev. David Sandifer, director of CU's Heartland Bivocational Ministry Center. It is also a step toward CU's goal of offering the master of theology degree online in the near future.

"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 wellbeing," Bickers said.

Even though many bivocational ministers would like to pursue an education, Bickers says, "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 CU School of Theology, 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.

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.

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 789-5029.

- Joan C. McKinney is news and publications coordinator at Campbellsville University.