Studies in ministry leadership are designed to provide an exposure to, and an understanding of, pastoral ministry and transformational leadership in the varied social contexts and forms of the church, missions agencies, and parachurch organizations. Attention is given to theory and practice in the Christian worker’s implementation of spiritual leadership through worship, church governance, discipleship, evangelism, and service activities of the church.

Objectives for students

  • Critically examine the theory and practice of transformational leadership in a variety of ministry and cultural settings;
  • Manifest a growing appreciation for one’s capacity to provide transformational leadership;
  • Develop the leadership, management, and ministry skills required for effective service in and through the local church and/or mission agencies;
  • Identify the resources to facilitate one’s lifelong development as a spiritual leader;
  • Effectively implement a variety of leadership tools and processes for organizational leadership, including strategic planning, decision making, congregational analysis, team building, conflict management, and organizational change; and
  • Implement leadership practices that contribute to the healthy, sustained growth of the local church and/or mission agencies.

Master's Level

ML 505 • Holistic Discipliship 3 Credits.

An investigation into the ways that our spirituality is tied to our emotional, physical, intellectual, and relational health. This class is designed to encourage each student to develop an integrated and holistic understanding of spirituality with special emphasis on what it means to love God with your heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

ML 506 • Discipleship in Community 1.5 Credits.

This course introduces the biblical and theological foundations underlying approaches to discipleship within a congregational context. The role of Christian community for personal spiritual growth, Christian education, and congregational health is studied. Methods and ministry approaches for accomplishing discipleship in community, for various contexts and in different age groups, will be anlayzed and discussed.

ML 507 • Missional Outreach and Evangelism 1.5 Credits.

This course introduces the biblical-theological foundations for evangelism. Various approaches to reaching those outside the Christian faith are studied. Students will begin formulating a working theology to inform their practice. The role of Christian community in holistic missional outreach is considered. Best practices for outreach (including personal evangelism, attractional approaches, and continuing discipleship) are analyzed.

ML 517DE • Christian Social Ethics for the Workplace 3 Credits.

A study of the ethical dimensions of Christian theology for leadership and workplace contexts. The class begins with an overview and analysis of ethical theory, terminology, approaches, and biblical bases, and then brings this ethical reflection into conversation with leadership theory and an emerging theology of faith, work, and economics. Application of ethical theory will focus on leadership and workplace issues facing Christian leaders today.
Campus: St. Paul. Special Notes: Crosslisted with TS 517DE.

ML 523 • Introduction to Transformational Leadership: Theory and Practice in Global Perspective 3 Credits.

Various leadership theories are explored. A model of transformational leadership theory is presented, with application made to the learner's personal context as well as a diverse range of global contexts. Biblical and "secular" approaches to leadership practice are compared and contrasted and applied to the student's ministry context.
Prerequisites: SP 001 or SP 002.

ML 527 • Leading Worship in the Christian Life Cycle 1.5 Credits.

This course offers biblical-theological foundations and practical skills for leading weekly worship and marking special celebration moments in Christian life and community. Ceremonies such as dedication, baptism, communion, weddings, memorials/funerals, and holy days will be explored. Students will be equipped to plan and lead in Spirit-led and resourceful ways, connecting and integrating theological insight with pastoral practice.

ML 531DE • Church Planting Vision and Preparation 3 Credits.

Introduction to the goals and purposes of church planting as well as to the foundational activities that build groups of volunteers and supporters into healthy and effective teams so that a church can be planted. These activities include identifying and analyzing a target culture, finding partners and resources, recruiting volunteers, building teams, developing a healthy culture, and motivating others.

ML 532DE • Creating Sustainable Church Plants 3 Credits.

A survey of the processes that allow a church plant to flourish over time. This course begins by covering the outreach function of a church, including strategies for connecting with a local community, successfully communicating with the target culture, accomplishing outreach and evangelism, and executing special events. The course continues by covering in-reach activities, including business processes (e.g., financial and legal systems), people processes (e.g., staff and volunteers), and spiritual processes (e.g., making disciples and growing leaders).

ML 533DE • Critical Worship Service Elements for Church Plants 1.5 Credits.

A summary of approaches to planning and leading public worship experiences in the context of a church plant. This includes study of how to analyze the culture within which a church is planted, review of possible worship styles and formats, perspectives on the unique communication opportunities and challenges of a church plant, and strategies for welcoming guests of all ages and for integrating them into the church.

ML 535DE • Creating Sustainable Church Plants 3 Credits.

A survey of the processes that allow a church plant to flourish over time. This course begins by covering the outreach function of a church, including strategies for connecting with a local community, successfully communicating with the target culture, accomplishing outreach and evangelism, and executing special events. The course continues by covering in-reach activities, including business processes (e.g., financial and legal systems), people processes (e.g., staff and volunteers), and spiritual processes (e.g., making disciples and growing leaders).

ML 603 • Missional Leadership Development 3 Credits.

This course introduces biblical foundations and strategies to develop leaders in rising generations. It discusses the biblbical purposes of Christian leadership and the church; examines the cultural and generational characteristics of rising leaders; surveys leadership development models used in ministry; and studies practical, multiplicative strategies that would develop rising leaders within an organization. The final project offers students the opportunity to create a simple, yet comprehensive, plan to develop leaders and foster a leadership development culture.

ML 606 • Missional Spirituality 1.5,3 Credits.

A study of how to embody the love for God and neighbor from the inside out, the theological foundations and spiritual practices centered in the Great Commandment and what it means to live as incarnational missionaries who love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and strength. Campus: San Diego.

ML 610 • Communication and Organizational Leadership 3 Credits.

This course is designed to address the essential elements of leadership communication. A model for leadership communication is presented, and students are challenged to process a wide range of material related to the foundations of leadership communication, organizational culture, organizational conflict, and organizational change.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with CP 610.

ML 615 • Organizational Leadership and Church Governance 3 Credits.

This course is designed to address the role of organizational leaders in congregational and ministry settings. Attention is given to both the pastoral and governance dimensions of leadership, with special focus on relevant strategies and approaches for guiding congregations and ministry communities. This course will focus on the leader's role in working with church staff and board, understanding diverse congregational polities, communicating effectively as a leader, fostering a healthy organizational culture, and navigating conflict and change that may arise in these churches and ministry organizations.

ML 623 • Researching Context of Ministry 1.5 Credits.

Research strategies for developing urban ministry - includes Spradley's Ethnographic Interview, Eichler's Consensus Organizing, Bakke's survey of a community - with the purpose of understanding one's context for the strategic shaping of ministry. Campus: San Diego.

ML 630 • Team Leadership in Global Perspective 3 Credits.

This course examines the biblical purposes and function of leadership through a cross-cultural (or global) understanding of how to first serve and then to lead. Aspects of vision casting, influencing change, and becoming missional leaders who foster the development of effective team ministries will be discussed. Principles and practices required for developing and maintaining high performance, sustainable ministry teams are examined. Special emphasis is given to identifying and discussing the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities required for sustained leadership success in a team-based, entrepreneurial organizational setting. Cases are presented from a wide range of global contexts. The application of intercultural competence is explored.

ML 633 • Stewardship, Change and the Missional Community 3 Credits.

This is a course in applied anthropology and cultural and leadership dynamics with special attention given to how culture change occurs, the dynamics and variables that effect change, and appropriate strategies for the effective change agent, whether an individual or an organization. A biblical theology of stewardship is explored and application made to the work of securing the welfare and progress of a missional community, with an emphasis on dealing with change. A process for gaining feedback on personal leadership performance as well as the collective performance of the community is presented and applied to the learner's context. The course focuses on contemporary areas of social responsibility for Christian advocates and agents of change. Cases are presented from a wide range of global contexts.

ML 634 • Leading and Theologizing in Global Perspective 3 Credits.

This course considers the rationale and models for doing contextual theology (contextual theologizing), and how this impacts and intersects with leadership studies in relation to the development and implementation of contextual models for ministry. The course provides a survey of the leadership models and theological methods and criteria these employ. Selected cases emphasizing the role leaders play in this process are examined.

ML 674 • Ministry with the Sacraments 3 Credits.

This course is an in-depth look at the what, why, and how of sacramental ministry in the church, especially as practiced in the Anglican tradition. We begin with a sacramental worldview and theology, move to the dominical sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist, and conclude with the rites of Confirmation, Matrimony, Reconciliation, Unction, and Ordination.
Prerequisites: TS 512 (St. Paul programs).

ML 675 • Presbyterian Polity 3 Credits.

Designed to give students a theological, historical, practical, and pragmatic understanding of how things happen within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It also is designed to prepare students to pass the Polity Section that is part of the ordination examination for the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

ML 676 • Reformed Worship and Sacraments 3 Credits.

An introduction to the history, tradition, and structure of Reformed worship. The course answers questions, give practical applications, and considers the meaning and observance of the sacraments.
Special Notes: Crosslisted with HS676 and TS 676.

ML 679 • Worship in the Prayer Book Tradition 3 Credits.

This course is an overview of the theological principals, historical developments, and practical considerations that have shaped Christian worship throughout the ages, with special attention paid to the development and use of the Book of Common Prayer in England and throughout the Anglican Communion. In addition to studying the shape of worship, we will also look at the use of time, space, music, and art in historical and contemporary worship.

ML 707 • Change Strategies and Conflict Resolution 1.5,3 Credits.

Effective leaders must be prepared to take their ministries through seasons of change, as well as to manage the conflict that inevitably results. Without change, a ministry will become ineffective and irrelevant and will eventually die. If conflict is not resolved, a ministry may leave a trail of wounded people in its wake, or even self-destruct. This course teaches two of the skills most essential for 21st-century ministry leadership. Students learn strategies for bringing about transformational change in their ministry. They also learn how to lead people to greater wholeness and maturity in Christ through a biblical process of conflict resolution.

ML 726 • History and Theology of Ministry 3 Credits.

This course invites the student to a survey of important theological expressions and models in the history of Christian ministries from the first century through the present day. We consider selected themes (WISHMAP), illustrated by classic and contemporary sources, within a chronological framework. The goal is for these “voices” to enlighten and inspire our lives in faithful, fruitful service for Jesus Christ and the kingdom.

ML 730 • Planting Missional Churches 1.5 Credits.

The study of how to plant and grow missional churches, what it means for a church to have a missional vision, how to determine methodologies appropriate for the context, and case studies of churches that are effective models of missional strategies. Campus: San Diego.

ML 780 • Senior Integrative Seminar: Global Leadership in the 21st-Century 1.5 Credits.

A summative and integrative reflection on the MATL program is offered. Integrative cases featuring content from each of the Three Centers are used to prompt a collaborative discussion around leadership issues learners are likely to encounter in their immediate context, as well as a wide range of global contexts.

ML 791 • Case Studies in Transformational Leadership 3 Credits.

This course provides students the opportunity for integrative reflection on the biblical foundations, contemporary research, and historical and contemporary practice of transformational, serving leadership. The course focuses on biblical, historical, and contemporary case studies of transformational leadership as it is expressed in a variety of cultural and community contexts.


ML 670 • Directed Study in Ministry Leadership 0.5-9 Credits.

Research and study by arrangement with the professor.
Special Notes: Permission is required.

Doctor of Ministry Level

ML 826DE • The Transformed and Transforming Leader 3 Credits.

This course is designed to facilitate personal reflection for transformational ministry leaders. Effective transformational leadership begins with effective self-leadership. While theories associated with self-leadership will be explored in light of general leadership theory, the emphasis of this course will be on the individual student’s reflective journey throughout the course. Because, for better or worse, leaders cast their shadow on many people inside and outside of their organizations, a commitment to personal and spiritual transformation will be a high priority for students in this Doctor of Ministry program and course.

ML 841 • Introduction to Missional Ministry 3 Credits.

Discover the missional story shared throughout the Scriptures. When the love and mission of God becomes the lens through which we read and apply the Bible to our lives and our ministries, we become more effective in engaging the world. Examples of inclusive communities can be found throughout the Scriptures. Ideas such as "Come as you are, but don't stay that way," "creating the church out of the culture," and "belonging before believing" are not new but God's original intention for the Church.

ML 842 • Missional Contextualization 3 Credits.

God's heart for every nation, people group, and tribe means His message of faith, love, and hope should be communicated in light of the context. The Apostle Paul seemed to use different methods in the different places he would travel even as his message remained the same. Whether he was in Athens, Berea, Thessalonika, or any other location, Paul strategically communicated the message of Jesus in way that was contextually appropriate. In fact, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 the following: To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law),so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” If we are rejected, we want to be rejected because of the message rather than because of our methods or cultural insensitivity. We all know people who were “persecuted” because of their obvious lack of relational intelligence (and sometimes we have fallen into that trap), but we want to make sure we don’t create any barriers between us and the message of God.

ML 941 • Missional Innovation 3 Credits.

God, the Creator of the Universe, is an innovative God. Throughout the Scriptures we see the Lord guiding people into new ways of serving Him and serving others. Innovating has been a common practice for God. In Isaiah 43:18-19, the Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” In this way, the Lord has organized and sustained a culture of innovation. However, even at the time of Creation, God brought order in the midst of the chaos that The God of the Universe has continued to interact with His creation in His active pursuit of humanity. Motivated by His love, God continues to reach out in innovative ways. Created in His image and called to join Him on His mission of redeeming mankind, followers of Jesus need to follow God’s lead. Throughout history, God has called men and women to follow His example to become creative, fruitful, or innovative in order to bring hope to the hopeless. At the same time, particular leaders were called by God to organize and sustain the innovation of others. In a world in which the church seems to be losing her influence and pastors struggle to make a difference among the unchurched, the de-churched, and those who are anti-church, pastoral leaders need to adapt a more innovative approach toward ministry. The younger generations will continue to fall away and eventually forget the faith of their parents and grandparents unless men and women of faith choose to become leaders who develop and demonstrate the internal, relational, and future-oriented skills required for creating and sustaining a culture of innovation.