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Academics: Courses

Congregational and ministry studies courses

151 Church and Society (3).  F. This course introduces students to the study of human social activity through the lens of the church as a societal institution in the North American context. It also functions as an introduction to the field of congregational studies, analyzing and understanding the social dynamics of the church through social science investigation. This course fulfills the core requirement in Societal Structures in North America category.

251 Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices. (1). F/S. Students learn to address specific situations, problems, challenges, and opportunities in ministry through interdisciplinary readings, theological reflection, and strategic planning exercises.

251 Sections being offered Spring Semester 2016

CMS 251A The Church, Reconciliation (and/or) Justice, and Urban Ministry: Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices (1). This course seeks to address specific situations, problems, challenges, and opportunities in ministry through interdisciplinary readings, theological reflection, and strategic planning exercises. This semester we will explore the best practices of urban ministry in America by examining the principles of Christian community development. These principles are exposed by the Christian Community Development Association which is a loose affiliation of thousands of churches, non-profit ministries, and individuals who work in urban communities or other areas of need throughout America and beyond. CCD principles are built on the idea that the church can best meet the needs of our society by living amongst the problems and sharing the reconciling love of Christ. CCE credit will be given to students who take this class. Professor Todd Cioffi, meets Thursdays, 2:30-3:20 PM, Hiemenga Hall 320.

CMS 251B Young Adults and the Church: Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices (1). Young Adults (a.k.a. “Gen Y, Millenials,” or “Mosaics”) represent the largest population surge in history.  Their presence, as well as their absence, is forcing the Church to think strategically about its Biblical mandate to pass on its faith to future generations.  This class will review the historical and sociological factors that have shaped this generation, including the differences and similarities present across cultural and socio-economical lines.  The spiritual profile of this generation will be surveyed through studies of the “none-ers,” those who are attempting to recreate the church, and those who see themselves living in exile from the church. Through discussions and readings, students will develop an understanding of unique characteristics of faith development for this generation, as well as best ministry practices addressing these issues. Evaluation for this course will be based on reading reflections, discussion participation, and a final paper. Professor Lynn Barger Elliott, meets Tuesdays, 3:30 -4:20 PM, Hiemenga Hall 320.

CMS 251C Cultural Discernment: Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices (1). This course is open to cultural discerners who will need permission of the instructor. Professor Ken Heffner, meets Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30 PM, Hiemenga Hall 316.

CMS 251D Leadership: Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices (1): What does it mean to be a Christian leader? This one-credit course will help students develop as leaders through reading, reflection, and discussion on the nature of leadership, personal formation, and Christian vocation.  This course will engage students in understanding and using a range of leadership and personal development resources and help them assess their strengths and set goals for the future.  Professor Kathy SmithMeets for six weeks on Wednesdays, 2:30-4:20 PM. from February 3 to March 9, Hiemenga Hall 320. Ends before Spring Break.

374 Youth and Family Ministry. (2). S. This course provides a forum for students, youth ministry practitioners, and theological scholars to investigate and evaluate a variety of models for the church’s ministry to the youth of the church and community. Students, practitioners, and scholars will employ a variety of methods including, but not limited to, a field trip, presentations by nationally recognized youth ministry experts, and critical theological reflection on key issues associated with youth ministry. The course is specially designed for cross registration with students from Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. Prerequisites: junior or senior status. It follows the academic calendar of Calvin Theological Seminary where the course is taught.

375 Ministry, Leadership, and Community Development. (3). S. A study of both the theology and methods used by church and parachurch organizations in local community development.  Consideration will be given to developing a theology of leadership and service for local churches and ministries within their respective neighborhood and community.  Particular attention will be given to the church office of deacon as a resource for church and ministry leadership and service.  The course is an elective part of the Ministry Leadership Minor, and is required for students pursuing the community development emphasis within the minor.

378 A Christian Calling: Proclaiming Jubilee as a Christian Leader. (3). S. The aim of this course is to describe the strategic role that leaders within the church have played and continue to play in the economy of gifts God gives to his people: and to assist twelve (12) upper-level students, Jubilee Fellows, to discern whether God might be calling them to become a church leader. Prerequisites: Admission to the Jubilee Fellows program; permission of the instructors.

381 Ministry Studies Internship (3). F. This course links students to internship opportunities in congregations where they are assigned specific responsibilities in congregational and ministry studies.  Students work a minimum of 10 hours per week under the supervision of an approved on-site supervisor.  The weekly academic seminar accompanying the internship involves readings, reflective journals, and a major paper/project and presentation. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing; permission of the instructor; and completion of at least two courses in the minor.  

390 Independent Study. (3). F, I, S. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.