Declaring a new major

April 17, 2013 | 11 a.m.

The missional ministries degree calls students to new options and career fields

News | Micahela Mohs for The Clarion

Declaring a new major

The missional ministries degree will replace the current youth ministries major.

With all of the different majors offered at Bethel, it can be hard for students to choose just one (or two, for a double major) that fits with what they want to do or what they feel called to do. Undecided majors are often interested in several different fields of study but cannot figure out which major will best combine their interests and aspirations.

Now, there is a new major created for Bethel students: missional ministries. According to the degree’s overview, the new major is for students who desire to fulfill missio Dei – the mission of God – in every aspect of their lives, regardless of the field they go into. It emphasizes the idea of missional theology and participation in the mission of God, where believers are called to engage in culture from a cross-cultural standpoint.

Missional ministries draws heavily from – and will replace – the existing youth ministries major, creating an interdisciplinary degree that can be combined with biblical and theological studies for a double major or fit with different minors such as business, communication, psychology or reconciliation studies. The degree promises to prepare students for any field of ministry, instead of just training for youth ministry, by teaching skills such as leadership, fund-raising, creating budgets and understanding human development.

Pamela Erwin, associate dean of professional programs, says that the creation of the major started from “three years of review of Bethel youth ministry and BTS alums,” who were asked questions based on their current careers, such as how much their degree had prepared them, or what they hadn’t learned but found a need for. Also, the BTS department began to evaluate its curriculum in terms of the changing cultural landscape, finding a need to “better prepare students who had a passion for being disciples in the 21st century,” according to Erwin.

Some may ask why the major is being created now, when Bethel is encountering financial issues and a budget reduction, but those behind the creation of the major, such as BTS professor Dale Durie, cited broad appeal to ministry-minded students who aren’t just interested in youth ministry. Additionally, most missional ministries courses will be converted from youth ministry courses, with only a few changes, such as an introductory “Foundations of Ministry” course, and two ministry practicums that go along with two required internships.

Several students have already begun to deliberate switching their major to missional ministries, or have chosen it as their degree.

Sophomore Bethany Hall, who had previously declared a double major in youth ministries and communication, with a BTS minor, is switching to missional ministries because of her desire to work with a nonprofit after graduation – similar to her current work at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan, Minn. Hall calls the major “very flexible” and believes that it will better equip her for the ministry that she feels called to.

The main appeal of the major seems to be that it gives options for students who may be interested in different types of ministry. Zach Horejsi, another student switching to the new major, mentions the flexibility of missional ministries as “crucial” because it can give “the qualifications necessary to be used in whatever way God wants.”

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