Master of Arts: Leadership & Formation

    Youth, Children & Family Ministry Specialization

    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, 39 credits in our pastoral ministry core, and 36 credits in a Youth, Children & Family Ministry specialization. After completing an online orientation, MAYCFM students focus their studies around the same nine 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.*

    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 members of the Church of the Nazarene.

    To maximize contextualization, all of our students participate in a mentor relationship with someone in their own ministry setting. Ministry mentors receive a small stipend for the support offered.

    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

    Specialization Courses

    BIBL7290 — Grounded in the Living Word: Scripture and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    This course explores the dynamics and power of Scripture in spiritual formation, personal transformation, and the Christian life. A key aspect of this course is an understanding and development of biblical hermeneutical principles and practices that focus not only on the biblical text's content but also on its potential effects as part of the church's Scripture. In addition to learning about life with God from Scripture, successful students can gain competence in listening to the spirit of the text, move from informational reading to transformational reading, and learn to engage Scripture in ways that grasp and change one's being and doing.

    CHIS6290 — Founded on Embodied Tradition: Church History and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    This course is designed to provide a historical underpinning for the practice of ministry in the Wesleyan tradition. Emphasis is placed on Wesley's theological sources (Early Church, Medieval, Reformation, Anglican), his theological methodology, his theology of spiritual formation, and his ability to engage his cultural context. Particular attention is given to how students can pursue personal and social holiness, and develop effective and dynamic missional approaches to leadership.

    PHIL7290 — Reflecting on Character: Philosophy and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    This course explores Christian ethics from a philosophical perspective. Students engage in biblical, theological and philosophical reflection, study dominant approaches to ethical thinking, and examine contemporary moral problems. Particular emphasis is placed on developing critical reflection skills, rather than finding answers to various ethical questions. This course also facilitates a deeper understanding of character formation and sharpens one's discernment as to how theological and philosophical reflection helps shape Christian practice.

    PRTH6990A — Supervised Ministry (2 Credits)
    Under the direction of a ministry mentor, students will be involved in practical ministry experience in a local ministry context. Special attention will be given to preaching, counseling, teaching, education, evangelism, and administration. The experience will be under the direction of the instructor in cooperation with the supervising ministry mentor. A grade will not be issued for this course until completion of PRTH6990B.

    PRTH6990B — Supervised Ministry (2 Credits)
    This course is a continuation of PRTH6990A and must be completed before a grade will be issued for PRTH6990A. Prerequisites: PRTH6990A

    THEO6290 — Engaging with Prophetic Voices: Theology and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    Students reflect theologically on life and ministry by exploring various sources of theological reflection. In particular, dominant themes and figures in contemporary theology are explored, especially voices and perspectives that are often overlooked. In this exploration, students compare and contrast distinctive characteristics of Wesleyan theology, including various understandings of holiness, with issues found in contemporary theology. This course explores issues of holiness and justice and how the Church can better live into the Kingdom of God for all and not just those in power.

    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 systems theory.

    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.


    Grad Fall Semester 2019
    PRTH6000 Program Orientation 08/12 - 08/25/19 Kathy Bynum
    PRTH6000L Personal Development Lab (0 cr) 08/26 - 10/20/19 Chandra Salisbury
    YCFM6130 Foundations of Youth, Children
    & Family Ministry
    08/26 - 10/20/19 Mike Kipp
    BIBL7290 Grounded in the Living Word: Scripture & the Christian Life   10/21 - 12/15/19 Dick Thompson
    Grad Spring Semester 2020
    CHIS6290 Founded on Embodied Tradition: Church History & the Christian Life 01/13 - 03/08/20 Diane Leclerc
    YCFM6730 Missional Ministry 03/09 - 05/10/20 Tom Combes
    Grad Fall Semester 2020
    YCFM6530 Leadership in Ministry 08/31 - 10/25/20 TBD
    THEO6290 Engaging with Prophetic Voices: Theology & the Christian Life 10/26 - 12/20/20 Brent Peterson
    Grad Spring Semester 2021
    *PRTH6990A Supervised Ministry A (2 cr) 01/11 - 02/21/21 TBD
    PHIL7290 Reflecting on Character: Philosophy and the Christian Life  01/11 - 03/07/21 Joe Bankard
    *PRTH6990B Supervised Ministry B (2 cr) 03/08 - 04/25/21 TBD
    YCFM7930 Developmental & Spiritual Formation of Youth, Children & Families 03/08 - 05/09/21 Steve Bonner

    Please Note

    *MA students can take PRTH6990A and PRTH6990B during the Spring 2021 semester or delay their completion and take them in the Summer of 2021. Both PRTH6990A and PRTH6990B need to be taken in the same semester.

    *New MDiv students need to work with the Program Coordinator to schedule PRTH6990 as well as the other advanced summer MDiv course, BIBL8090.

    **Schedules and dates are subject to change

    MDiv students who have already completed their Pastoral Ministry core courses will take an additional summer class (BIBL8090) not listed in the above schedule. Contact the Program Coordinator for details


    Past Schedules

    Youth, Children & Family Ministry Learning Community 7, Fall 2018