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Steps to Advance Your Ministry Career with a Graduate Degree

By on April 12, 2018 in ACU Programs, Careers with 0 Comments

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Ordained ministers, chaplains, and missionaries play a challenging, but critical role in today’s increasingly secular society. Although a strong calling is critical to success in these roles, it’s far from the only requirement. Inspiring and influential ministry relies on strong theological education – best achieved through an accredited Master of Divinity program.

Interested in taking the next step towards a ministerial career? You could be an ideal candidate for enrollment in an M.Div. program. Read on to learn more about the Master of Divinity and how it might play into your future career:

Determine Why You Want Your Master of Divinity
Are you called to work in ministry? Although deeply fulfilling, this field is uniquely challenging. As you struggle through difficult theology coursework, it helps to know why you’ve enrolled and what you want to accomplish on a long-term basis.

Determine in advance what you want from your graduate education, and how you will ultimately serve God’s Kingdom. Before you settle on a graduate program, devote considerable time to prayer and journaling.

Choosing the Right Track
The Master of Divinity program at Abilene Christian University features two main tracks: Ministry and Missions. Your decision will largely depend on the goals you’ve previously outlined through journaling and prayer. No matter which track you pursue, you’ll take courses that build a strong foundation on the Old Testament, the New Testament, and historical research. You’ll apply theoretical knowledge to a variety of ministerial contexts, such as health care and the prison system. Additionally, you will gain practical skills through field experience.

Mentally Preparing Yourself for the Master of Divinity Program
Like any graduate program, a Master of Divinity requires significant commitment. You’ll spend the next three or four years challenging yourself academically through extensive readings, in-depth research, and interactions in the field. The challenges don’t end there. The Master of Divinity is unique in that it involves not only academic trials, but also an eye-opening spiritual journey.

Prior to entering a Master of Divinity program, spend ample time with your Bible and your prayer journal. Seek God’s blessing as you undertake this new challenge. Pray for guidance, not only for your own wellbeing, but in order to be of best service as you prepare for your new career path. The sooner you establish this practice, the better. Otherwise, you may struggle to maintain a prayer routine once caught up in the day-to-day challenges of graduate education. If you’ve already established prayer as an integral aspect of everyday life, you’ll can fall back on this source of comfort when the going gets tough.

Seeking Support from Family Members
Hopefully, your family supports your ministerial ambitions. If you enjoy strong support from loved ones, do not hesitate to lean on them during your scholastic journey.

At times, you’ll find yourself questioning the philosophies you’ve so carefully cultivated over the years. In these moments, you can seek solace not only in prayer, but also in a loving environment. If possible, share both your most fascinating discoveries and your personal struggles with loved ones. If you lack the support you need in a familial context, consider joining a prayer group.

Next Steps After Graduation
Your Master of Divinity is just the first step in a long and rewarding spiritual journey. After graduation, you can use your newfound ministerial skills to obtain a variety of promising positions within local churches or as part of a mission team.

A top choice for many M.Div. students? Ordained ministry. The graduate program satisfies the requirements to become an ordained minister in many Christian denominations. Chaplaincy in a hospital or correctional facility could be an equally fulfilling option. Other graduates develop or serve critical roles in mission programs with the intent of sharing their faith and shining a light for those dealing with difficult circumstances.

Ready to begin a new spiritual and academic journey? To learn more about our Master of Divinity program and how it can help you achieve your career goals, contact us at 800.460.6228 or

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