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Dr. Barrett McRay Teaching Christian Education and Ministry Class at Wheaton College IL
Christian Education and Ministry

Why Study Christian Education and Ministry?

A degree in Christian Education 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.

undergraduate major
undergraduate certificates
faculty members

What Will I Learn?

Students in the Christian Education 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 Education 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 your junior year, you can apply for the master’s degree program in Higher Education and Student Development with concentration in Student Development. Accepted students begin graduate work during their senior year and complete the program in the year following graduation.

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

  • Discipleship Certificate: Equipping students with a deep and experiential education for those students participating in discipleship ministries. 
  • Leadership Certificate: Equipping emerging leaders to deepen transformation, cultivate character, develop practical leadership skills, and utilize those skills in leadership of self and others.
  • Youth Ministry Certificate: Equipping and empowering students for leadership in disciple-making youth ministry.

Why Study Christian Education 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
  • 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.

Possible Careers for Christian Education and Ministry Majors

A major in Christian Education 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.

Our graduates excel in ministry around the globe and remain connected with the department, even after graduation. Out of the 13 Board Members of the Society for Children's Spirituality, 5 of them are graduates of Wheaton College.

  • Campus Ministry
  • Chaplaincy
  • Christian Education Director
  • Discipleship/Small Groups Ministry
  • Evangelistic Ministry
  • Family Ministry
  • Inner City Ministry
  • Instructional/Curriculum Developer
  • Missions
  • Student Development Fields (residence life, student activities, student care)
  • Teaching in Christian Schools (elementary and high school)
  • Youth Ministry
  • 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)
  • Indiana University School of Dentistry
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
  • Midwestern University School of Medicine
  • Thomas Jefferson University School of Dentistry
  • University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
  • USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy,
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
The Christian Education 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
During 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
The classes provided a great balance of foundational philosophies and practical training that I still implement on a day to day basis. The professors exemplified in their own lives how to minister to others with humility and prayer. I am so grateful for this foundation as I serve in Denver! — Megan Etter '13, Development Coordinator, Open Doors Ministry, Denver, Colorado