Archive for May, 2014

Master of Arts in Global Service

by   |  05.31.14  |  ACU, Announcements, Contexual Education, Mission

MA web banner

The Mission Alive team is excited to announce a partnership between Abilene Christian University and Storyline Christian Community – a Dallas, Texas church planting in the Mission Alive community.

See original website here.

Storyline will serve as one of seven global “missional partner sites” for the Master of Arts in Global Service (MAGS) degree. The 48-hour MAGS degree is a cutting edge approach to education that combines online coursework, focused face-to-face learning within a cohort of peers, and mentoring in a particular ministry context.


Charles Kiser, Mission Alive Director of Training and Storyline Missionary, will mentor students as the Dallas MAGS Site Supervisor. MAGS students in Dallas will have many learning opportunities in mission and discipleship:


  • Experiencing the life of an extended family on mission (missional community) in a particular neighborhood or relational network
  • Equipping for the way of Jesus in a discipleship huddle
  • Identifying, befriending, and sharing faith with those who are searching for God
  • Leading a discipleship huddle for others
  • Seeing searchers take steps toward Jesus through the Alpha Course in missional community
  • Working for justice among the downtrodden in Dallas
  • Deepening prayer and spiritual discernment
  • Helping to start new missional communities
  • Participating in Mission Alive’s Mission Training for discipleship and mission
  • Receiving coaching and mentoring from practitioners in the trenches of mission

For more information, visit or call Charles Kiser at 214.471.5722.


July 1, 2014 is the registration deadline for the Fall 2014 cohort.


Bridging the Gap in Distance Education

by   |  05.16.14  |  ACU, Announcements, Ministry, Students

The Graduate School of Theology has a long history of educating students while they serve in local congregations.  Whether it’s a youth minister across town, a preacher in the Metroplex, or an intern working part-time for a rural congregation, we’ve always tried to provide flexible class options.  We have one-week intensive courses in August, January, and May.  We offer two-weekend short courses in the fall and spring semesters.  We even schedule our full-semester classes as three-hour blocks once a week so students who commute to campus can take classes on their day off.

This year, class options for our non-residential students got a lot more flexible.  Our accrediting agency – the Association of Theological Schools – approved our petition to offer up to 75% of the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) in an online format.  For this 48-hour degree, that means only 12 credits – the remaining 25% – must be taken in a face-to-face setting.  That’s just four classes.  Students can take residential intensive classes when it best fits in their schedule while the majority of their coursework is completed online.  They don’t have to wait for required courses to be offered on the right day or in an intensive format.  They don’t have to spend so much time away from their families – or their ministries – taking classes on campus.  Students can serve congregations at a greater distance from Abilene, whether that’s across the country or around the world.  And all the while they’re still getting a world-class theological education from full-time GST faculty.  How’s that for the best of both worlds?  Serving students, serving the church – that’s what we’ve always done.

For more information about the MACM or our other degree options for non-residential students, contact Dr. Melinda (Mindi) Thompson, Director of Distance Education:, (325) 674-3706.


Master of Arts in Global Service

by   |  05.14.14  |  Announcements, Ministry, Mission

ACU’s new Master of Arts in Global Service offers a unique combination of features among distance education and ATS accredited degrees.  Students learn in the context of their choice with a group of peers and skilled mentors. They deepen their spiritual rhythms and missional discernment to serve and lead among a global mosaic of peoples.

The MAGS aims to equip students for service and leadership across a wide range of settings. It is an ideal degree for anyone who desires to increase their competence to work beyond their own cultural context. It can serve well anyone who wishes to:

  • Engage in emerging types of Christian ministry (simple church, house church, emerging church, neo-monastic communities)
  • Lead in social justice work, development, or peace-making work in a different culture
  • Work in a missionary setting: whether to North America or anywhere in the world
  • Bring a Christian perspective into an existing business or organization in cross-cultural contexts
  • Grow intercultural and theological capacities to bring into a church, parachurch, or marketplace
  • Work with a non-governmental organization


The overall goal of the MAGS is to provide three specific competencies:

Theologically Formed: 
Students integrate the biblical, historical and theological perspectives foundational for contemporary Christian practice, learning the heart of Christian theology in order to be able to integrate it into their work and translate its importance into other cultural settings.

Missiologically Aware: 
Students demonstrate an understanding of the mission of God and their place within it as individuals and members of the global Church, learning to discern God’s call and to act on that discernment in concrete ways. 

Interculturally Competent: 
Students learn to live, work and communicate appropriately in a variety of cultural contexts, utilizing the disciplines of communication theory, anthropology, and sociology, to understand both cultural Others and communicate effectively in intercultural contexts.

The MAGS curriculum addresses the actions of the mind, heart, and hands. Our approach brings together the highest academic excellence with supervised ministry mentoring and deep spiritual formation. It is a degree that addresses relevant challenges, combining learning and being formed in context. Our hybrid approach that combines online course work with focused face-to-face learning creates an incredibly flexible educational experience.

One unique feature of the MAGS is what we call the “Learn-While-Doing” 1-Year Global Service Residency. We believe that excellent equipping for service occurs when action, academic study, active reflection and guided mentoring take place simultaneously. This involves a 1-year period of cohort learning, classes, and guided supervision. This experience consists a year of synchronized

  • Scheduled classes (combination of face-to-face and online)
  • Focused assignments that connect with active ministry and service
  • Guided mentoring
  • Reflection in a dynamic online learning cohort

There are two tracks for learning-in-context residency locations.

▪   TRACK 1-GO: The first option places students in partnership with one of our 7 MAGS supervised service sites. These are:

▪   New York

▪   Chicago

▪   Dallas

▪   Chiang Mai

▪   Austin

▪   Mexico City

▪   Abilene

In these contexts students will learn from one of our approved site supervisors as they mentor students while they study online, learning together in a cohort with other MAGS students who have elected to serve in one of our partner sites.

TRACK 2-STAY: This second option allows students to engage in a local ministry or service opportunity, and join an online cohort of learners who are each pursuing the year while remaining in their current location. This cohort receives expert supervision from one of ACU’s professors.

Students, in consultation with the MAGS advisor, determine the choice for TRACK 1 or TRACK 2. Both track options provide MAGS students with rich, holistic, guided apprenticeships that engage learning-while-doing.

For more information contact us here.