April 14, 2021
The new Outdoor Ministry Track is geared to mid-career professionals.
The new Outdoor Ministry track in the M.A. in Global Leadership at Wheaton College will help everyone, from outdoor ministry professionals looking to advance into executive leadership roles to business professionals looking for a career change. The M.A. in Global Leadership with an Outdoor Ministry Track is now accepting applications.
“What we have discovered is that our longstanding Outdoor and Adventure Leadership degree was primarily attracting early-career professionals seeking foundational grounding in personal preparation, program leadership, and leading others,” said HoneyRock Executive Director Dr. Rob Ribbe. “This new track targets mid-career professionals who desire advanced training in executive and organizational leadership.”
Dr. Junias Venugopal, who co-directs the M.A. in Global Leadership agrees, saying: “Those who have already gained some experience in camping, ministry, or business will be able to enhance their managerial and leadership capacities with this new concentration. Our desire as faculty in the MAGL program is to build on the talents, giftedness, and experience of our students to take them to the next level and equip them with resources, such as strategic management, non-profit leadership, and team leadership to serve God well.”
In the Outdoor Ministry Track in the M.A. in Global Leadership, mid-career students can expect to gain understanding in finance and skills in staff development, organizational leadership, spiritual formation, and experiential education that will enable them to step into leadership roles in Christian outdoor ministries. Wheaton has been offering graduate education in this field since 1969 with hundreds of graduates going on to lead ministries in camps, colleges, churches, and related organizations around the world.
Sharpening these skills is more important than ever, said Dr. Ribbe, considering the increasingly complex nature of camp ministry.
“Over the past five-to-10 years, the outdoor and adventure ministry field has gotten very complex with issues ranging from heightened government regulations to societal changes affecting the maturity levels of today’s youth and emerging adults,” Ribbe said. “This new track will prepare senior leaders to meet the complex challenges facing the field.”
Courses will be taught by Dr. Ribbe and Dr. Venugopal, as well as Assistant Professor of Outdoor and Adventure Leadership, Dr. Muhia Karianjahi, who is a Christian camping leader from East Africa and the Vice Chair of Christian Camping International, and Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership Dr. Ed Stetzer. The track will also draw on a partnership with the Global Leadership Summit for resources to help students.
The new track, which will welcome its first class in Fall 2021, is offered in online, hybrid, and intensive formats so students can participate in the program from a distance. It also lets working students fit the courses around their own work schedules.
“In the early 2000s, I was looking for a master’s degree to transition into camp ministry in East Africa, but I didn’t find a program that truly fit what I needed,” Karianjahi said. “This is the program I would’ve enrolled in had it existed back then.”