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5-Year Bachelor's to Seminary Program

Our world—and the church—are changing rapidly, and there’s never been a more exciting time to step into ministry. But the definition of “ministry” is changing, too. In Bethel’s Ministry Scholars Program, complete a bachelor’s degree—in a variety of complementary, undergraduate majors—and one of several Bethel Seminary master's degrees in just five years. With the interdisciplinary experience of Bethel’s College of Arts & Sciences, the theological foundation built through Bethel Seminary courses, and a robust collection of co-curricular experiences with your community of Ministry Scholars, you’ll be set up for success wherever God takes you next.

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Program Details

Tailorable Program Combinations

This program allows students from most majors to complete an accelerated seminary degree by meeting certain pre-seminary course requirements during the undergraduate years. So whether you want to major in missional ministries or business, there's a pathway for you to complete your undergraduate degree and advance to a Bethel Seminary degree:

  • Children's and Family Ministry (M.A.)
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)*
  • Ministry (M.A.)
  • Transformational Leadership (M.A.)

*The M.Div. has a higher credit count and would be difficult to complete in 5 years

Ministry Engagement Experience

In addition to classroom experiences, the Ministry Scholars Program offers a unique collection of co-curricular opportunities to build students’ networks, expose them to a wide variety of ministry settings, and help them discern God’s unique calling for their lives. These experiences include:

Annual Fall Retreats: These off-site events will give students extended learning opportunities and connection with other. Retreats will focus on spiritual disciplines; what it means to live on mission; and exploring one’s strengths, personality and spiritual gifts.

Personal Retreat: Each student will be encouraged to take a 24-hour personal prayer retreat each year (they will be given $80 toward their travel and stay).

Discipleship: Current M.Div. students will serve as intentional discipleship leaders, small discipleship groups will work through curriculum developed specifically for this program, and students will meet with the program director each semester to discuss their personal growth.

Mentorship: Each year, students will be paired up with a mentor from a local church or ministry who can pray for and encourage them as they discern God’s path for them.

Training: Periodic seminars and trainings will be offered throughout the program.

Internships: Students will have the opportunity to intern with local churches and non-profit organizations to gain real-world experience in ministry settings and build their professional networks.

Benefits of the Ministry Scholars Program

  • Ministry Scholars will save approximately $7,425 in tuition and up to two years of school.

  • Students who qualify for the Kern Ministry Scholarship will save an additional $5,000, bringing this up to $12,425. All co-curricular training and mentoring opportunities will be offered free of cost to students accepted into the Ministry Scholars program.

When you graduate, you will be prepared to lead in various contexts without the amount of debt typically accumulated from two degrees of this kind. Most importantly, you will have the skills and the training to lead and disciple others with courage.

Who should consider this program?

  • Students who feel called to pastoral ministry in the United States. The grant-funded Kern Ministry Scholarship will be earmarked for those who use the program to fast-track their path into pastoral ministry. The $5,000 scholarship will be applied in a student’s fifth year, and—in addition to taking fewer credits and graduating faster—will help students graduate with less debt.

  • Students who are ministry-minded but want to work outside of professional ministry. Program participants will gain a foundation in theology—with a robust co-curricular lineup—with less of a time commitment.

  • Students who want to have both a main profession and a ministry role. The program allows for a wide variety of undergraduate degrees—and bi-vocational career paths—while still preparing students for missional living.

  • Students who aren't sure where their lives and career will take them, but want to build their theological training and leadership agility for when they get there.

Meet the Program Director

Stephanie (Williams) O’Brien ’05 S’12 brings years of experience in pastoral leadership and church consulting to the Ministry Scholars Program. As one of the lead pastors and church planters for Mill City Church in the heart of Minneapolis, she is a practitioner who understands the challenges and opportunities of modern ministry. She’s on the national faculty of the Made to Flourish learning communities, where she specializes in integrating faith and vocation. As a Collegeville Fellow, she focuses on public theology and the intersection of faith and the public sector. Stephanie also blogs about life, ministry, and mission at pastorsteph.com and produces podcasts for leaders at leadstoriesmedia.com.

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