Is a Youth Ministry Major for Me?

Southwestern College’s nondenominational Youth Ministry program is designed for individuals who wish to serve young people by ministering to and developing the lives of young Christians. Learners will strengthen their understanding of biblical and theological foundations of the Christian faith. The program equips learners with the specialized competencies needed to instruct, mentor, and counsel youth in a variety of local church and parachurch settings. Learners will obtain ample theological training to pursue ordination and undertake graduate studies.

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Program Outcomes

Southwestern College’s nondenominational Youth Ministry program is designed for individuals who wish to serve young people by ministering to and developing the lives of young Christians. Learners will strengthen their understanding of biblical and theological foundations of the Christian faith. The program equips learners with the specialized competencies needed to instruct, mentor, and counsel youth in a variety of local church and parachurch settings. Learners will obtain ample theological training to pursue ordination and undertake graduate studies.

Program Outcomes:

  1. Examine concepts and skills foundational to youth ministry.
  2. Deliberate a variety of theories, techniques, and resources for the practice of youth ministry.
  3. Assess religious and philosophical issues relevant to youth ministry.
  4. Apply knowledge from the study of biblical books to a variety of youth ministry settings.
  5. Recognize the significance of theological ideas, thinkers, and movements for today’s church.
  6. Deduce how theological thought impacts both individual and communal Christian life.
  7. Utilize concepts learned throughout the program in a hand-son practicum setting.

Required and Core Courses

Foundation Courses

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths
CORE110 Information Literacy
ENGL101 Composition I
ENGL102 Composition II
COM 125 Speech
Mathematics Requirement*
HUM 201 Ethics
COM 301 Professional Communication

Disciplinary Perspective Courses

Humanities (6 credits)
Natural Sciences/Mathematics (4 credits)
Social Sciences (6 credits)

Major Courses

MIN 124 Introduction to Youth Ministry
HUM 301 Critical Thinking
MIN 224 Adolescent Spirituality
THEO215 Understanding the Old Testament
THEO216 Understanding the New Testament
THEO320 Philosophy of Religion
MIN 324 Teaching Methods in Youth Ministry
THEO333 The Church: Origins to the Middle Ages
THEO334 The Church: Renaissance to the Present
THEO301 Systematic Theology I
THEO302 Systematic Theology II
MIN 424 Applications in Youth Ministry
MIN 454 Practicum in Ministry

* MASC110 Statistics & Probability, or MASC115 College Algebra, or more advanced college credit bearing mathematics course requiring college algebra or higher as a prerequisite

Course Descriptions

MIN124 Introduction to Youth Ministry

This is an exploratory course that introduces learners to the necessary concepts and skills related to youth ministry. The course includes observation in local church and/or para-church youth ministry settings.

HUM 301 Critical Thinking

This course prepares learners to critically interpret, synthesize, analyze and evaluate information. It is designed to introduce learners to complex problems and help them come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions.

MIN 224 Adolescent Spirituality

This course explores age-relevant existential questions concerning belief in God, belief in humanity and young people’s relationships to the church and to each other. It includes an introduction to spiritual disciplines associated with the Christian faith.

THEO215 Understanding the Old Testament

Learners in this course undertake a study of the Hebrew scriptures, seeking to understand them in their original context and thus their significance for today. Prerequisite: THEO200

THEO216 Understanding the New Testament

This course covers the origin and development of the Christian religion as expressed in the New Testament. We will seek to understand the Christian scriptures in their original context and thus their significance for today. Prerequisites: THEO200 and THEO215

THEO320 Philosophy of Religion

This course is an inquiry into the general subject of religion from the philosophical point of view. Among the specific questions considered are: the nature, function, and value of religion; the validity of the claims of religious knowledge; the nature of evil; and the existence and character of deity.

MIN 324 Teaching Methods in Youth Ministry

This course builds on prior learning in youth ministry courses by combining that learning with educational theory, to develop a knowledge base and skill in teaching in youth ministry settings. It includes teaching in groups and one-to-one. Prerequisite: MIN 124

THEO333 The Church: Origins to the Middle Ages.

This course introduces learners to the major movements, personalities and ideas that have shaped Christian thought and practice through the centuries. It also links these matters to issues the contemporary church and world are facing. The course covers the time frame from the church’s beginnings to approximately 1300 CE/AD.

THEO334 The Church: Renaissance to the Present

This course is an extension of THEO333 and follows the same approach; it introduces learners to major thinkers, ideas, and movements that shape today’s church and helps learners to see their significance for understanding today’s church and world. Although it is best to take the courses in order, THEO334 may be taken prior to taking THEO333

THEO301 Systematic Theology I

This course provides an introduction to the best practices of Christian thinkers to equip pastors and youth pastors with interpretive tools for helping people understand the Christian faith. The focus of this course is on methods (critical tools) for the interpretive role of pastor/youth pastor. Recommended Prerequisite: PHIL225

THEO 302 Systematic Theology II

This course provides a study of the core teachings of the Christian faith and the means by which the church through the centuries has come to organize these teachings. This course shows the deep internal relationships between the various teachings and how they shape both individual and communal Christian life.

MIN 424 Applications in Youth Ministry

This is a comprehensive youth ministry course, the content of which is foundational to local church work. Emphasis will be placed on equipping learners to practice youth ministry in the local church by exploring a variety of theories, techniques, and resources.

MIN 454 Practicum in Ministry

The practicum involves real work experience in a ministry setting. The practicum should allow significant application of concepts learned throughout the program of study. Approval forms for the practicum are available on the forms page. The form requires a complete description of the work to be undertaken, the basis for grading, and the signatures of the learner, off-campus supervisor, and the supervising instructor. It is to be returned to a Professional Studies office at the time of enrollment for the course.

Admission Requirements

Entering learners must have earned at least 6 college credits from previous college coursework or ACE evaluated military training, a GPA of 2.0, and have three years of full time work experience. Transfer hours accepted for Professional Studies admittance may include English Composition I and II, and mathematics (college algebra preferred). These courses may be considered in transfer or completed at Southwestern College.

Contact a program representative to evaluate your options.

Graduation Requirements

A total of 124 credit hours must be earned to graduate. You must have at least 60 credit hours from a four-year university or college and at least 30 hours from Southwestern College (does not include prior learning experience credits). Of the 30 hours required from Southwestern, 15 of the last 30 hours earned toward your degree must be at Southwestern College. Contact your Academic Success Coach for more information.

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Southwestern College’s Youth Ministry studies program provides learners with preparation for graduate study, for professional study, or for a wide range of occupations for those persons pursuing service within any Protestant Christian denomination.