Faculty senate approves new ministry leadership minor
Faculty senate approved a revised ministry leadership minor through the congregational and ministry studies (CMS) department during their meeting last week Monday
The new minor combines several current programs related broadly to ministry, including the church, society and ministry minor, youth ministry minor, missions minor and music in worship minor, according to Dr. John Witvliet, chair of the CMS department.
Witvliet said the changes will go into effect next academic year, and all current students can either complete the newly designed program, or they can complete the programs that were in place when they entered Calvin.
Witvliet explained that the goal of the new ministry leadership program is to integrate these more specialized minors under the umbrella of the CMS department. This way, students with a common interest in ministry can learn in a richer and more organized environment.
“The minor is going to streamline and connect students with these different interests and also add some additional possibilities. … It’s more efficient and it will allow for clearer communication,” he said.
The new program will allow students to choose one of seven focuses within the minor, including missions, youth ministry, congregational studies, music and worship, worship, community development and pastoral ministry.
Professor Todd Cioffi, CMS assistant professor and director of the Jubilee Fellows program, said the idea to change the program was prompted by years of student interest, as well as the financial needs of the college.
“With some of the issues going on with the college in terms of economic issues,” Cioffi said, “each department was being asked to give things up, so that sparked even more conversation about these minors coming together.”
Witvliet explained the ministry leadership minor will likely graduate between 20 and 30 students each year, rather than a few separate ministry-related minors graduating fewer than 10 students.
“Realizing that when you have many separate minors that each graduate a few students,” he said, “you also don’t have the critical mass that’s really good for the best education.”
Senior Kellan Day, a Jubilee Fellow who has helped with research for the new program, said she hopes it will provide a clarity that will draw in students from other departments.
“I hope the [ministry leadership minor] will attract students to a minor that isn’t limited to religion majors, youth ministry minors or people solely interested in working in the church,” she said. “Christians in every department need to know about ministry.”
Cioffi echoed Day’s hopes for the interdisciplinary nature of the minor.
“The church has informed [ministry in various areas of study and work] just as these other areas of study and work have informed the church,” he said. “And we would hope that the changes will continue to provide a rich set of resources, conversations and opportunities to see the dynamic unfolding of the kingdom of God.”
Junior Claire Dornbush, a history major with a society and ministry minor, said many students are excited about the revisions being made.
“I think the changes are great. With the way they are now, the minors are widespread across different departments and areas of study, so [these changes] will help students connect more easily. It will help out a lot,” Dornbush said.