Program Overview and Requirements

Ministry Leadership Development (MLD) is a requisite component of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program. While all courses in the M.Div. curriculum are designed to prepare God-called persons to serve as ministers in the Church of Jesus Christ, MLD courses give focused attention to:
  • The nature and shape of spiritual leadership;
  • The development of skills and capacities for faithful service;
  • The integration of ministry theory and practice; and
  • The supervised practice of ministry.
Students who successfully complete the MLD sequence of courses will:
  • Understand the foundational principles and practices of ministry leadership;
  • Apply responsibly the teachings of Scripture to the practice of ministry;
  • Demonstrate the competencies and capacities to serve well as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ;
  • Discern more clearly how God has gifted and called him/her to serve the Church.
To that end, all M.Div. students are required to complete six (6) hours in MLD coursework. The MLD requirements include two courses: Pastoral Formation (DVML 625) and The Ministry of Administration (DVML 725). These courses must be taken in sequence, beginning in a fall semester and concluding in a spring semester. Students may enroll in the first MLD course upon completing the core courses (21 credits) required of all M.Div. students in their first two semesters (three semesters for students beginning in a spring semester) of study. Each MLD course carries three credits.

During the academic year in which a student is enrolled in the MLD courses, he or she must complete a Supervised Ministry Practicum (SMP). The SMP requires that a student engage in ministry, under supervision, for no less than 12 hours per week for 35 weeks, beginning in early September and concluding in early May. The SMP may be carried out in a variety of ministry settings, subject to the approval of the MLD director. Most SMPs take place in a parish setting, but may take place in other settings such as Christian ministry organizations, chaplaincy positions, or campus ministry sites. Supervision must be provided by a ministry mentor (normally on-site), subject to the approval of the MLD director. All mentors must meet the Divinity School’s qualifications and receive training for their role. Students submit proposals for SMP sites and mentors to the MLD office for review and approval by July 1 of the year in which they intend to begin the MLD sequence of courses.

The Supervised Ministry Practicum (SMP) is a required component of the MLD courses (DVML 625 & 725). While a student may register for a MLD course, he/she can begin the course only when their proposal of the SMP site and mentor has gained approval. MLD class meetings will occasionally be devoted to group reflection on SMP experiences. Students completing the SMP may also be required to submit reports on their ministry experiences and learning during periods when they are not enrolled in divinity courses (late December and the month of January).

M.Div. students may choose to satisfy the SMP requirement by completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a program duly accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Doing so will not exempt students from taking DVML 625 & 725. In such a case, the following terms will apply:
  • The unit of CPE may be completed prior to or concurrently with DVML 625 & 725.
  • DVML 625 & 725 will carry two hours of credit each. CPE will carry three hours of credit.
  • Students in DVML 625 & 725 will be excused from the meetings and assignments relating specifically to SMP components of the courses.
Students are encouraged to consult with the MLD director or program assistant with questions regarding the MLD requirements. In particular, students should make advance preparations in regard to the SMP, i.e. where they will serve, what they will do in that ministry placement, by whom they will be mentored, etc.
The MLD Office is located in Divinity Hall N224. The office phone number is (205) 726-2374.