CFM program seniors 2021
Christian Formation and Ministry

Christian Formation and Ministry

Why Study Christian Formation and Ministry?

A degree in Christian Formation and Ministry prepares you to minister in whatever context you are called through course work in ministry, teaching, counseling, and discipleship. This liberal arts program emphasizes biblical, theological, historical, and social science foundations integrated with philosophies and practices of ministry and spiritual formation. Our mission is to facilitate the development of academically grounded, spiritually maturing, and practically skilled leaders who minister the Gospel and build up God's people in a constantly changing world.

placement in job or further education six months after graduation
hours of required coursework
ratio of students to faculty

What Will I Learn?

The educational ministry of the church is to help people as they are being formed into the likeness of Christ. It is for this purpose that the Christian Formation and Ministry Department exists. Our mission is to facilitate the development of academically grounded, spiritually maturing, and practically skilled leaders who minister the gospel and build up God’s people in a constantly changing world.

Students in the Christian Formation and Ministry major are encouraged to foster an intimacy with Christ and develop patterns of personal integrity and reflection upon their experiences as ministers of the Gospel in whatever context they find themselves. Examples of courses may include Christian Spiritual Practices, Human Development and Ministry, Teaching the Bible, and Philosophy of Ministry.

An internship is also required for this major. Internship applicants must exhibit the presence of essential ministry skills and dispositions, as well as demonstrate a commitment to growth in Christian virtues.

The Christian Formation and Ministry major meets the undergraduate requirements for seminary study suggested by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).

During their junior year, undergraduates can apply for the master’s degree program in Higher Education and Student Development. Senior year, accepted students begin graduate work and complete the program the year following graduation.

Any undergraduate student may pursue a certificate in one of these areas: 

  • Discipleship Certificate: Equipping student participants/leaders within the Discipleship Ministries programs at Wheaton (DSG, UCDSG, Strongholds, and Family Groups) in biblical foundations, spiritual formation and ministry, and best practices for discipleship within the context of small groups.
  • Leadership Certificate: Equipping emerging leaders to deepen transformation, cultivate character, develop practical leadership skills, and utilize those skills in leadership of self and others.

Why Study Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton?

You will be trained in biblical, theological, historical, and social science foundations, integrating them with traditional and contemporary philosophies in the practice of ministry and spiritual formation.

The program exceeds the recommended standards for a major in Christian spiritual formation, as identified by the Society for Professors in Christian Education.

Our faculty set the standards for programs in Christian formation through researching, writing, and serving on boards of national and international organizations for Christian education, children's spirituality, and Christian camping.

  • Summer Leadership School (SLS): Experience personal formation and live in a transformative community as you prepare for leadership opportunities.
  • School of Adventure Leadership Training (SALT): Gain a strong foundation in wilderness leadership, adventure ministry, and faith formation during this 3-month program.
  • Discipleship Small Group Leadership: Gain practical skills in the ministry, discipleship, care, and counsel as you lead small groups on campus.
  • Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR): Cultivate a commitment to justice, intercultural humility, compassion, hospitality, environmental health, and peacemaking through multi-disciplinary coursework, a 6-month international internship, and whole-person formation.
  • Teaching assistantships: Gain valuable experience as you work alongside faculty
  • Ministry Internships: grow in your understanding as you serve alongside ministry leaders
  • Ministry Practica: Integrate theories learned in the classroom with the practices of ministry, infusing ministry experience with intentional critical reflection
  • Research teams: Partner with faculty and students to conduct cutting-edge research

Consult the course catalog for full listing of current courses available in this field.

CFM student photoDuring my summer at HoneyRock, I was able to take all my classroom learning into a living laboratory and apply it to daily life with my campers! The community at HoneyRock is the perfect place to learn.

Lindy Magness '18

Ellie PhilbrickWhile providing the essential spiritual practices for my individual walk with God, my CFM classes have balanced philosophies of teaching and mentoring with the practical application of the Scripture to any context. The authentic teaching from the professors has challenged me to be a humble example for Christ as I learn to transfer skills and knowledge to my ministry life.

Ellie Philbrick '23

Tryg VekerThe Christian Formation and Ministry major has humbled, stretched, and challenged me while providing a foundation for a life in service. Every class is designed for real-life application while being rooted in the truths of Scripture.

Tryg Veker '17

Possible Careers for Christian Formation and Ministry Majors

A major in Christian Formation and Ministry prepares you to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever context you are called through course work in ministry, counseling, discipleship, and spiritual formation. Our Center for Vocation and Career will be happy to help you explore the many options available to you.

In particular, CFM majors may contact CVC career coach, Sarah Laribee, to schedule an appointment and receive personalized career coaching and guidance.

Our graduates excel in ministry around the globe and remain connected with the department, even after graduation.

  • Local Church Ministry
  • Parachurch Ministry
  • Campus Ministry/Student Development
  • Christian Camping
  • Evangelistic Ministry
  • Discipleship/Small Groups Ministry
  • Missions
  • Youth Ministry
  • Cross-Cultural Ministry
  • Inner-City Ministry
  • Sports Ministry
  • Family Ministry
  • Children's Ministry
  • Chaplaincy
  • Professor
  • Biblical Studies and Theology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Divinity
  • Education
  • Intercultural Studies
  • Missions
  • Outdoor/experiential education
  • Student Development/Higher Education.
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
100% of our graduates have gotten into the graduate school of their choice. Here’s a sample of the schools they’ve attended:
  • Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Denver Seminary
  • Fuller Seminary
  • Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • Wheaton College Graduate School