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Top Colleges for Ministry

by Douglas Matus, studioD

A ministry degree is an excellent choice for someone who wants to develop his religious education or prepare for entrance into a seminary. Most students who pursue ministry training gravitate to one of the more than 1,200 colleges that offer a Bible-intensive curriculum. The best ministry colleges combine rigorous Bible-focused curriculum, small teacher to student ratios, and a unified campus culture that promotes Christian fellowship.

Biola University

Located in Los Angeles, Biola University is the premier ministry college on the West Coast. With a world class Apologetics program, Biola benefits from notable staff members like J.P. Moreland and Craig Hazen. Biola offers three-dozen courses in its Bible department, and Honors students are required to take 24 combined hours in Greek and Hebrew. Biola also emphasizes education in non-Bible courses with courses on Non-Christian literature and a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science.

Moody Bible Institute

Moody Bible Institute is a Chicago-based school that offers an intensive ministry curriculum and approximates a seminary experience for undergraduates. One of the oldest ministry colleges, Moody was founded in the late 19th century. The Moody Bible Institute exists to train future members of the ministry, and prospective students must sign a letter of intent to become ministers after graduation. This prerequisite creates a dynamic campus culture around service and preaching.

Liberty University

Located on the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is a powerhouse in the Southern Baptist community. This evangelical school is fiercely denominational and offers the perfect grounding for a future member of the Baptist ministry. Liberty University promotes a staunchly scripture-based curriculum perfect for the future minister uninterested in apologetics. An impressive 19:1 teacher to student ratio ensures that undergraduates get the attention they deserve.

Houston Baptist University

This ministry-focused university vaulted into prominence with its new Ten Pillars Initiative. This inventive curriculum combines a Great Books classical approach with biblical training and an emphasis on worldview and apologetics. A hiring surge attracted top Christian scholars like Nancy Pearcey and Bruce Gordon and also resulted in the creation of a new department of apologetics. President Robert Sloan, who previously was the head of Baylor University, continues to reinvent Houston Baptist as one of the nation’s premier ministry colleges.

Bryan College

Named for famed lawyer William Jennings Bryan, this Dayton, Tennessee, college offers majors like Biblical studies, pastoral ministry and youth ministry. A small student body of 1,400 and an impressive 14:1 teacher to student ratio contributes to an exceptional ministry education in an area noted for its low cost of living. Bryan also offers many online course options and is accredited by leading conservative theological organizations like the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Master's College

The Master’s College benefits from the presence of famed scholar Dr. John Macarthur to offer an impressive array of Bible-focused majors and graduate programs. Located in Santa Clarita, California, students can receive general degrees in Bible studies and also specialized education in biblical languages and intercultural studies. The Master’s College offers a Master of Divinity for graduates who wish to further their education. For working students, this college offers many options for night classes.

About the Author

Douglas Matus is the travel writer for "West Fort Worth Lifestyle" magazine, and spent four years as the Director of Humanities for a college-prep school in Austin. Since 2005, he has published articles on education, travel and culture in such publications as "Nexus," "People's World" and "USA Today." Matus received an Education Pioneers fellowship in 2010 and an MFA from CalArts in 2011.

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