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Master of Arts: Youth, Children & Family Ministry

Research in the past decade has confirmed the importance of a more holistic approach in ministry to youth, children, and their families. In response, Northwest Nazarene University's fully online Master of Arts degree in Youth, Children & Family Ministry prepares those heading into a vocational ministry role as a generational or family ministry pastor, youth or children's pastor, or laypersons desiring advanced training in the context of parachurch ministry, Christian schools or camping.

The Master of Arts: Youth, Children & Family Ministry program is a twenty-first century learning model with a robust study of developmental, cultural, and spiritual formation within a practical theological framework. Designed specifically with adult learners in mind, students can earn their MAYCFM without any residential requirements while preparing to engage our world, both today and tomorrow. 

YCFM students can choose either a Master of Arts or Master of Divinity track. NNU's MDIVYCFM program includes an online orientation, 42 credits in our pastoral ministry core, and 32 credits in a Youth, Children & Family Ministry specialization. After completing an online orientation, MAYCFM students focus their studies around the same eight Youth, Children & Family Ministry courses in which MDIVYCFM students take as their specialization, as shown in the comparison to the right.

MDIVYCFM students can complete their degree one course at a time in as little as 50 months, with most summers free. MAYCFM students are able to complete their program in as little as 21 months, with no course work in June or July. NNU's MDIVYCFM program has been validated as meeting the educational requirements for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene.*

Earn your degree from a leading institution in online theological education with associate membership in The Association of Theological Schools and over 80 years of continuous regional accreditation. 

Financial aid is available for those who qualify, or students may take advantage of a zero interest monthly payment plan. Avoid expensive travel costs associated with modular programs at other seminaries, not to mention costly time away from home and your workplace. Tuition discounts are also available to assigned Nazarene clergy.

Contact us today for more information about earning your Master of Divinity online through Northwest Nazarene University while equipping you for leading edge ministry with youth and their families today!

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Course Descriptions

BIBL7330 — Youth, Children, Families & Faith Throughout Scripture (4 Credits)
This course will survey and examine selected passages from the Bible [such as The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and Paul's treatise on the Body (I Corinthians 12)] that deal specifically with issues pertaining to young persons, families, and the formation of faith, character and community. This course will also give attention to broader issues of biblical interpretation that are concerned with reading the Bible in formative ways that gain expression in various forms of Christian practice.

PHIL7330 — Postmodern Culture & Families (4 Credits)
This course will involve readings in modern and postmodern philosophy in an effort to understand how these important philosophical shifts have affected families. Students will be expected to demonstrate how postmodernity has affected the traditional family, given rise to significant changes in the definition of family, and how to minister to families based on this understanding.

THEO7130 — Theological Foundations of Christian Education (4 Credits)
This course is designed to provide an underpinning for Christian education by examining John Wesley's theological sources. Particular attention will be given to how theology informs Christian educational ministry practices.

YCFM6130 — Foundations of Youth, Children & Family Ministry (4 Credits)
This course focuses on developing one's personal vision and practice of youth, children & family ministry and gives attention to the foundational and diverse elements of this ministry. It will explore the biblical and theological foundations of ministry with young people and families. Special attention will be given to those in early to late adolescence (11-29 years of age). Attention will be given to the church’s responsibility to young people in and beyond congregations. This course emphasizes incarnational and missional approaches to the gospel, as well as young people’s own agency as participants in the total mission of the church.

YCFM6230 — Family Ministry in Practice (4 Credits)
This course will explore the nuts and bolts of creating a ministry plan from nursery through senior adulthood. Issues such as scope and sequence will be addressed as well as contextualization.

YCFM6530 — Leadership in Ministry (4 Credits)
This course explores recent literature written about both secular and ecclesiastic leadership. Students will be shepherded through a process of honing their own philosophy of leadership in the Church. Attention will be given to case studies and the formation of a practical theology of leadership.

YCFM6730 — Missional Ministry (4 Credits)
This course explores the biblical mandate to follow the call to "go to all nations," especially as it relates to young people and families. Students will learn how to articulate and pass on to others the biblical and theological view of evangelism and outreach. Through readings, lecture, projects, and discussion, students will learn how to design an incarnational as well as relational ministry program which takes seriously Christian care and evangelism with unbelieving young people and families.

YCFM7930 — Developmental & Spiritual Formation of Youth, Children & Families (4 Credits)
This course will survey the key developmental periods of a young person’s life. Attention will be given to puberty (transition from childhood) and how adolescents grow into adults, stages of family life, and family.


Program Outcomes

  • The graduate understands both the history and contemporary characteristics of human development, adolescence and family systems theory necessary for engaging in youth, children and family ministry.
  • The graduate values the role of Practical Theology in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition and philosophy to inform practices fostering young persons and families.
  • The graduate articulates and embodies a Biblical understanding of faith formation within the community of faith including the family.
  • The graduate demonstrates a dynamic integration of practice and philosophy of leadership suitable for ministry in the Church and in the world.