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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 2015

251A Leadership:Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices (1) Looking for one more credit this spring?  Consider taking CMS 251A, a course that focuses on Christian leadership—a topic that can apply to every student in any major!  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. Students will use leadership and personal development resources to help them assess their strengths and set goals for the future.  This section of CMS 251 will be taught by experienced leader and teacher Kathy Smith, and will include sessions by Cal Jen and Bob Crow.  Meets for six weeks on Wednesdays, 3:30-5:20 p.m., from February 4 to March 11, and ends before Spring Break!

251B 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. The primary feature of this class will be to attend the West Michigan Regional CCDA Conference in West Michigan from the evening of March 5-March7, 2015. (See http://www.ccdawestmichigan.org) Students interested in Youth Ministry are also encouraged to take this class and attend the Youth Ministry track of the CCDA Conference. In preparation for the conference, we will meet twice beforehand and twice after the conference in order to prepare for the conference and to process what we learned at it. CCE credit will be given to students who take this class. Professors Nathaniel Bradford and Todd Cioffi.

251C Children’s Ministry: Theological Reflections on Ministry Practices (1). This course will explore how the spiritual life of children develops and ways in which a congregation and its education programs can guide and support parents and children through this process. Through interdisciplinary readings, theological reflections, guest lectures from the Drs. Robert Keeley and Susan Verwys from the Calvin College Education Department and practitioners from local ministries, students will learn about models and best practices for the spiritual formation of young children. Professor Lynn Barger Elliott.

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.