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Message from the Dean

What it Means to Be Trained by Corban School of Ministry

The mission of Corban University is to train graduates to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ. The centerpiece of that mission focuses on preparing Christians to effectively serve with and lead a wide variety of ministries around the world. We have created three exciting degree programs that will meet the needs of any believer wanting to make a difference in their world.

These three programs, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry, represent the most recognized degrees in ministry training. The Doctor of Ministry is our advanced degree for experienced leaders who want to build on their previous graduate work. The Master of Divinity stands as the foundational degree for those pursuing senior pastor or leadership positions in ministry and missions. The Master of Arts provides versatile preparation for a wide variety of church associate and parachurch ministry positions. Not only do we offer degrees respected by ministries worldwide, our approach equips graduates to lead those ministries into the future. Current statistics in ministry training combined with our own surveys reveal five crucial elements to effective ministry. Our training addresses each of these critical success factors.

First, Corban builds ministry preparation on a strong theological and biblical foundation. Students in the master’s programs will have courses that cover every book of the Bible. They will move beyond a general survey of themes and history into wrestling with the message and detailed development of Bible books. This careful examination will utilize Greek and Hebrew language study and provide a solid basis for effective exposition of Scripture. The theology sequence will focus on enabling the student to articulate a biblically-based personal doctrinal statement and to address the complex theological issues that confront churches today. The detailed doctrinal statements, required of every MDiv student, are commonly required for church ordination and ministry hiring committees. In addition, Bible and theology electives will allow students to choose the classes that address their unique ministry needs.

Second, our master’s programs address crucial personal growth areas that determine much of a minister’s effectiveness. Most church leaders do not fail in ministry because of academic concerns, but because of personal and interpersonal issues. The statistics from surveys of ministers are startling:

  • 80% believe ministry has affected their families negatively (Life Enrichment Ministry survey)
  • 37% report they have been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a church member (Fuller Institute of Church Growth survey)
  • 71% rate use of money as a major problem in their ministry and marriage (Leadership survey)
  • 70% report having no close friend in whom to confide (Fuller Institute of Church Growth survey)
  • 63% report major issues stemming from congregational differences (Leadership survey)
  • 54% report they viewed pornography in the last year (pastor.com survey)

Our program incorporates a course series confronting issues of marriage and family, personal purity and growth, interpersonal relationships and finances. These courses will work in concert with ministry mentorship throughout the program.

Third, each student remains involved in mentored ministry experience every semester. Most seminaries require minimal field experience and some none at all. The Association of Theological Schools (the national accrediting body for seminaries) reports that after faculty and the Bible, supervised ministry experience was the most important influence in training (2004 graduate survey). ATS research further suggests that ministry training must adapt more to a “graduate professional education” rather than “graduate liberal arts education,” meaning that the focus of a seminary program must be on producing excellent ministry practice (“What Matters in Good MDiv Curriculum?” 2003 ATS Consultation on MDiv Curriculum). We will do more than just require ministry involvement. We will provide a supervised experience where academic learning will connect to ministry practice.

Fourth, our programs incorporate leadership training. Ministry today requires leaders to be effective in communication, understanding of culture, innovative yet biblical in philosophy. Studies show the significance of these areas for ministry. A survey of pastors by Leadership (Christianity Today, 1992) showed that 64% experienced difficulties with church communications. The Center for Immigration Studies and the Census Bureau report that 40% of our latest population growth and 60% of future population growth will come from immigration. 45% of all children under the age of 5 are racial or ethnic minorities. The challenges and opportunities in communication and connecting today are incredible. For that reason, we will provide training in formal (preaching and teaching) as well as interpersonal communication. We will also include ministry leadership, church growth strategy, cross-cultural ministry and counseling courses designed to address the needs of churches today.

Fifth, our curriculum takxe advantage of available technology. Corban has had an excellent working relationship with Logos for many years. Every undergraduate Bible Survey student receives and is required to use the Logos software for Bible research. Our graduate program will expand that technology base to other ministry areas. Logos currently has 12,000 electronic book titles available to aid studying the Bible, Greek, Hebrew, theology and many ministry subjects. We will utilize tools like Logos to maximize a student’s ability to effectively and efficiently study the Scriptures. The goal is to help ministers balance the need for careful Bible study and the reality of time demands today.

Exciting changes go beyond the curriculum. As we look to the future, we believe opportunities are opening to help us bring effective ministry to even more believers.

How we deliver training

One of the signatures of Corban’s growth has been the success of creative delivery formats. Our undergraduate online program (CAO) has enjoyed significant success. Also, our new graduate programs in areas such as education and business have employed online instruction very effectively. Now our MA and MDiv courses are available online. The goal is to provide excellent seminary training that allows a student to remain in their current ministry. We want to take ministry training to the ministry fields. To meet you where you are.

Current Corban undergraduates have the opportunity to take dual credit courses while finishing their bachelor’s degree. Also, Corban graduates may be able to receive advanced standing for the Bible and ministry training they have already received. We are looking at ways as well to recognize and reward the training experienced ministers have completed.

Serving together,

Greg Trull
Dean of Ministry, Corban University