Bethel Receives Kern Fellowship Grant: Starts New Program

Bethel College’s religion and philosophy department recently received a $437,500 grant from the Kern Family Foundation to transform and enhance Bethel’s theological education. In the fall of 2012, the college will add a new program — the Master of Christian Ministries degree.

Ministerial graduates typically enter into pastoral vocations, which is traditionally an underpaid vocation. In recent years, Bethel has recognized the need to revisit its Christian ministry programs with a focus toward addressing the roadblocks of accessibility and affordability; roadblocks that would keep prospective ministerial students from seeking a graduate degree in ministry. The challenge presented by the Kern Family Foundation was to address the issues of accessibility and affordability by compressing a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree with a three-year Master of Divinity degree, creating a seamless five-year, 160-hour Master of Christian Ministries degree. A 124-hour Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries will also be awarded as part of this program.

Features of the Master of Christian Ministries degree:

  1. It’s flexible for Bethel students who have one or two years of school to easily transfer into the program.
  2. Students begin taking graduate-level courses in their fourth year of the program.
  3. There is a six-month experience partnering with a church during the summer and fall of year four. This internship experience includes 10 credits of courses (a combination of undergraduate and graduate) to provide a unique theory-in-practice experience.
  4. The curriculum features six semesters of MIN 201 spiritual formation. These classes combine mentoring and spiritual formation to foster opportunities for significant levels of personal, spiritual and leadership growth in students. 
  5. Year three includes two semesters of homiletics to establish the foundations, while practical preaching labs in year four provide supervised experience in preaching. In year five, students then perform graduate-level study on advanced preaching and creative forms of communication. 

For more information or to apply, contact the admission office at 574.807.7600.

The Kern Family Foundation seeks to enrich the lives of others by promoting strong pastoral leadership, educational excellence and high quality, innovative engineering talent. In practice, the Foundation intentionally focuses on systemic change, rather than charities. It seeks to target funding toward broad impact, long-term programs. The Foundation’s programs include a partnership with Project Lead the Way (a pre-engineering program for middle and high school students) as part of the K-12 STEM Program, the Pastoral Ministry Program, the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), the Education Reform Program, and the American History, Economics and Religion Program.

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 70 areas of study. The current enrollment of more than 2,100 includes students from 34 states and Puerto Rico, 19 countries, more than 25 denominations and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. Scholarships are available based upon a variety of factors including academic achievement, talent in the arts or athletics, ethnicity and church affiliation. In addition to its beautifully wooded 75-acre main campus in Mishawaka, Ind., Bethel also offers specific academic programs at sites in Elkhart, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., Dowagiac, Mich., and St. Joseph, Mich. Nursing programs are also offered in cooperation with Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.