Graduate Program in Christian Leadership Prepares Next Generation of Church Leaders
Posted on Monday, June 01, 2009 [10:15 AM]
|The first group of LWC's Christian leadership
graduate program gather Friday night in front of the John B. Begley
COLUMBIA, Ky. - About two dozen people made
history Friday night at Lindsey Wilson College.
The individuals were part of the first meeting of the college's new
graduate program in Christian leadership. Being part of a graduate
program's inaugural class is exciting in itself.
It's even more exciting considering the program is less than a
month old. The program was approved in late May by the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools. In less than two weeks, the
program registered 15 students for the summer session that began
Friday; another six students plan to enroll in the program in the
"The stated goal of The United Methodist Church Board of Higher
Education is that we are to develop the next generation of
Christian leaders," said Dean of the Chapel Terry Swan, who is the
program's director. "And that is what this program is doing -
preparing the next generation of Christian leaders for The United
Methodist Church and other churches throughout our region."
A major attraction of the new program - which is Lindsey Wilson's
third graduate program - is classes are offered on weekends and
Monday nights. For students with a bachelor's degree in Christian
ministries or a related degree, the graduate program can be
completed in 30 hours - "one intensive year," Swan said.
"The program is built on the model that social work and business
graduate programs have used - if you already have a substantial
amount of training on the undergraduate level, the hours are
reduced on the graduate level," Swan said.
Students who enter the program with bachelor's degree in another
field will be required to take six hours of introductory
'Logical Next Step'
Swan said creating the new graduate program was "the next
logical step for us."
LWC's undergraduate Christian ministries major is almost a decade
old, and in the last four years the college built the Sumner Campus
Ministry Center and Norma & Glen Hodge Center for
Swan said the Christian leadership graduate program is designed for
individuals who want to serve their church but do not want a
traditional seminary education.
"This is an ideal program for students in a variety of occupations
who want to prepare to lead a church or church organization," he
said. "This program might also attract individuals who seek a
second career or want to lead a parachurch organization."
Another reason Swan said he started the program is because Lindsey
Wilson is located in "an underserved area for theological
"You have to go almost two hours in either direction to find a
program like this," he said.
Regional Student Body
Ironically, the weekend-Monday format of Lindsey Wilson's
Christian leadership graduate program has attracted students from
Louisville, Ky., Lexington, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn.
One of those students making a two-hour to Lindsey Wilson is Sydney
Smith of Nashville. A 2002 LWC alumna, Smith said the Christian
leadership was started at "the perfect time for me."
"I looked at graduate programs at several different colleges, but
none of them appealed to me like this one did," she said. "This
program will open a lot of doors with all of the Christian
organizations in the Nashville area. And a graduate program in
leadership itself looks good to prospective employers."
When LWC graduate Ray Moore heard the program had been approved, he
decided to relocate from Grayson, Ky., where he had been serving
churches, to Columbia. But it took the 2008 LWC graduate almost 16
hours to get back to the A.P. White Campus because he was in Long
Island, N.Y., when he heard it had been approved.
"The fact that it's a brand new program and there is a small
community of learners will give us a lot of opportunities," Moore
Swan also expects the program to become a "fifth year" for some of
LWC's 150 Christian ministries students.
"A lot of our undergraduate students have expressed interest in
staying on for a fifth year, which will allow them to earn a
master's degree while they begin their careers," he said.
Julie Walker of Columbia is one of the undergraduates who stayed on
for an extra year. In May, Walker received a bachelor of arts
degree in Christian ministries and communication from LWC.
"The ability to get a master's in a year's time when I already have
a bachelor's degree was too good for me to pass up," she
Listen to Terry Swan talk about the
For more information about the program, contact Terry Swan
at firstname.lastname@example.org or