Undergraduate

At Cornerstone University, you’ll get the full college experience with a Christ-centered worldview. Learn more about the undergraduate experience below.

Adult

Persevere in what you know you’re capable of. Our programs for adults provide a creative approach to learning anchored in Christ-centered virtues as you follow your unwavering purpose.

Graduate

Go further as an influencer in your work and community. Our graduate programs prepare you to open new doors as you reach your God-given potential.

Grand Rapids
Theological Seminary

At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we're dedicated to learning, serving and leading through rigorous scholarship and a humble approach to Scripture.

Create Without Ceasing

Grand Rapids Theological SeminaryHolistic Spiritual
and Ministry Formation

Explore Seminary

M.A. Christian Formation

The Master of Arts in Christian Formation is designed to help you gain critical competencies in the study of the Bible, Christian theology, and ministry best practice, all while striving to build a stronger foundation for your own faith.

Degree Type

  • Master of Arts

Format

  • On-Site
  • Live
  • Anytime

Credit Hours

  • 65

0%

Of M.A. in Christian Formation alumni surveyed reported being vocationally employed within 6-12 months of graduation. The additional 25% continued for further study beyond the M.A. in Christian Formation degree.

0%

Of M.A. in Christian Formation students take classes part-time.

0%

Of M.A. in Christian Formation students achieved the highest outcome (i.e., making good progress in readiness for ministry) at their mid-point and exit assessments.

Communicate biblical
truth with clarity

As a ministry leader, you need to be prepared to navigate complex environments with grace and truth. The M.A. in Christian Formation prepares you for this challenge. By integrating Biblical interpretation with practical ministry training, this program teaches you to think deeply about the theology, history and the text of Scripture so that you can teach faithfully.

Through this program, you will learn how to interpret and apply Scripture from the English Bible texts, state a basic understanding of the foundations of Christian theology and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the values and principles necessary for wholehearted spiritual formation, both in yourself and in others. Your professors will lead you through rigorous course work that will help you communicate sound biblical truth with knowledge and clarity.

Careers

An M.A. in Christian Formation will provide a wide range of opportunities for employment—whether you want to work in a church, para-church ministry, non-profit or other Christian organization.

Opportunities

  • Pastoral ministry
  • Para-church ministry
  • Business management
  • Christian Publishing
  • Church planting
  • Spiritual Direction
  • D.Min. Studies
  • Youth ministry

Ministry Residency

Grand Rapids Theological Seminary is committed to serving Christ’s church by developing ministry leaders. Our Ministry Residency program is strategic and essential in this endeavor as it provides avenues for students to connect with ministry mentors and to serve in local churches and other ministry sites. Students put their classroom learning to practice, gain important ministry experience, and learn valuable lessons in this unique experience.

  • Select a ministry setting that fits with your career goals
  • Invest 4 semesters in the context you choose
  • Learn from a ministry mentor
  • Earn 8 credits toward your ministry degree

Opportunities

  • Church ministry
  • Higher education
  • International missions
  • Camp ministry
  • Teaching assistant
  • Research assistant

Course List

The M.A. Christian Formation program consists of a core of Bible, theology and ministry courses. Yet, you also will select a ministry specialization, where you will focus your studies in a particular area of ministry.

Bible & Theology Core Courses

The Bible and Theology core of the M.A. in Christian Formation program consists of 32 credits. These courses will give you a foundational understanding of how to study the Bible and how to think theologically about life and ministry.

Bible

  • BBL-501  Biblical Hermeneutics
    • An introduction to the process of determining the original meaning and contemporary significance of biblical texts.
  • BBL-508  Biblical Theology
    • An integrated study of the central themes from the Old and New Testaments that comprise the grand narrative of Scripture.
  • Old Testament Bible Elective
  • New Testament Bible Elective
  • General Bible Elective

Theology

  • THE-501   Program Introduction Seminar
    • This course prepares students for the rigors of graduate scholarship by honing the skills of graduate research, reading and writing
  • THE-540   Systematic Theology I
    • This course introduces and practices a metanarrative for doing theology. The biblical narratives and propositions are heard in the context of the story that begins with creation, is centered in Jesus’ first coming and reaches its culmination in the new heavens and earth
  • THE-640   Systematic Theology II
    • This course continues our metanarrative theology by examining the Christian story of creation, fall, redemption and consummation, with special attention
      given to the nature and task of humanity, the distortion of the world through sin and the redemptive work and person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
  • THE-641   Systematic Theology III
    • This course will examine in detail the doctrine of salvation (soteriology), the church (ecclesiology), the basic elements of pastoral theology (internal and
      external call to the ministry, ordination, ministry of the word and sacraments, church discipline and pastoral spiritual formation) and the four last things (death, judgment, heaven and hell).
  • THE-676   Apologetics and Moral Issues in Christian Ministry
    • This course will help students preserve and steward their life and doctrine by evaluating the philosophical foundations of the Christian faith and various ethical problems encountered in pastoral care, spiritual direction, and Christian counseling.
  • Select one of:
    • THE-710   Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church
      • This course will examine the development of spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, meditation on Scripture, corporate worship and right use of the sacraments) in the church from the New Testament to 600 A.D. Early Christian understandings of the psychology of temptation, habituation to evil, personal conversion and spiritual discernment will also be investigated
        and their relevance to the contemporary practice of spiritual direction will be discussed.
    • Historical Theology Elective: THE-515, THE-516, THE-517, or THE-518

Ministry Leadership Core Courses

The specialization courses in the M.A. Christian Formation degree consist of 24 credit hours, providing you with both theoretical leadership frameworks and practical ministry experience.

  • MIN-500   Christian Spiritual Formation
    • An investigation into the meaning of biblical Christianity and its relationship to faith and practice within contemporary cultural contexts. Special attention is given to the corporate dimensions of spirituality and spiritual formation
  • MIN-510   Organizational Leadership
  • MIN-543   Christian Formation in the Church
  • MIN-545   Teach and Learning for Christian Formation
  • MIN-560   Global Impact
  • MIN-711   Program Completion Seminar

Select either:

  • Ministry Residency sequence:
    • MIN-685 Ministry Residency I
    • MIN-686 Ministry Residency II
    • MIN-781 Ministry Residency III
    • MIN-782 Ministry Residency IV
  • Thesis Track
    • MIN-584   Thesis Readings: Ministry
    • MIN-797 Master’s Thesis
    • MIN Elective

Ministry Specializations

Student & Family Ministries

  • MIN-553 Sociology of Youth and Emerging Adulthood
  • MIN-641 Foundations for Ministry to Youth and Emerging Adults
  • One of the following:
    • COU-520 Child & Adolescent Counseling
    • COU-521 Marriage & Family Counseling

Small Group & Discipleship Ministries

  • MIN-630 Small Group Ministries
  • MIN-643 Educational Ministries for Adults
  • One of the following:
    • MIN-534 Evangelism/Discipleship Ministries
    • MIN-554 Theology of Women in Ministry
    • MIN-567 The Church’s Relationship to a PostChristian Culture
    • COU-532 Counseling Women through the Life Cycle
    • COU-612 Group Counseling Techniques

 

Intercultural Ministries

  • MIN-567 The Church’s Relationship to a PostChristian Culture
  • MIN-660 Cultural Intelligence
  • MIN-667 Urban and Local Development

 

Formation & Soul Care Ministries

  • COU-500 Counseling Philosophy
  • COU-610 Counseling Techniques
  • COU-521 Marriage & Family Counseling

 

Campus & Student Development Ministries

  • MIN-533 Sociology of Youth and Emerging Adulthood
  • MIN-518 Foundations of Student Development
  • COU-520 Child & Adolescent Counseling

 

Interdisciplinary Studies

Three course cluster from ministry disciplines (MIN and/or COU) selected with consultation of faculty advisor.

Want to Learn More About GRTS?

Program Learning Outcomes

Program learning outcomes are the foundation of a GRTS degree. Explore how our M.A. in Christian Formation program prepares you to learn, serve and lead for a lifetime of ministry.

Related Programs

Grand Rapids Theological Seminary offers several programs designed to feed your spiritual formation. Take a look at some of the additional programs we offer.

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Hours

MON - FRI: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SAT & SUN: Closed

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Connect With GRTS

Undergraduate

At Cornerstone University, you’ll get the full college experience with a Christ-centered worldview. Learn more about the undergraduate experience below.

Adult

Persevere in what you know you’re capable of. Our programs for adults provide a creative approach to learning anchored in Christ-centered virtues as you follow your unwavering purpose.

Graduate

Go further as an influencer in your work and community. Our graduate programs prepare you to open new doors as you reach your God-given potential.

Seminary

At Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, we’re dedicated to learning, serving and leading through rigorous scholarship and a humble approach to Scripture.