Do I need to go to seminary to serve in ministry?

by | Mar 23, 2023

In today’s world, it is common for churches to have several volunteer leaders and staff members who are bi-vocational. For many, leaving the workforce to go to seminary may not be an option due to family and work commitments. An online Christian Studies degree program can offer more flexibility for your schedule while equipping you with skills essential to answering your call to serve in the ministry.

What can I study to become a ministerial leader?

Within a degree program, different concentrations are available to tailor your education to various kinds of service. “Many Christian ministry degree programs…provide you with an effective Christian ministry education, but the specializations allow you to focus the degree in the emphasis area you prefer,” Indeed writes.

If you are an aspiring pastor, youth minister, or evangelist, concentrating on Biblical & Theological Studies within a Christian Studies program will develop your preaching and teaching skills. It can also provide you with discipleship techniques while enhancing your theological studies. Your education will help you to passionately and effectively spread the gospel and inspire faith.

These courses are designed to teach you “how to use historical texts, geography, and cultural contexts to interpret the contents of the Old and New Testaments. Graduates will be prepared to clearly and concisely communicate scriptural messages to target audiences,” according to Online Christian Colleges.

What if I’m not called to be a pastor?

Ministry opportunities are not limited to preaching in churches and pastoring congregations but may also include serving as a missionary or directing a church program. You may be called to lead a worship team or manage a non-profit, notes. Concentrating on Ministry Leadership within a Christian Studies degree program or majoring in Ministry Leadership can help you develop your spiritual gifts, prepare to serve within a ministry organization, and utilize the experiences and abilities your volunteers and staff members bring to the table.

A Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies degree with a concentration in Ministry Leadership will explore concepts related to missions, youth ministry, and worship practices. If you pursue an Associate in Ministry Leadership, you will study spiritual formation and hermeneutics, or the interpretation of the Bible, at an introductory level. A Bachelor of Arts in Ministry Leadership will build upon those concepts through the study of church history, world religions, ethics, and pastoral care.

A notable ministry leadership degree program will allow you to serve in a ministry setting while completing your studies. Additionally, you may receive academic credit for supervised ministry in a church or other ministry opportunity.


With over 100 years in Christian higher education, Bluefield University serves students with degree programs that enable them to go further. Our Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Ministry Leadership, and Associate of Ministry Leadership degrees employ nontraditional course delivery and practical experiences to prepare students to serve as a pastor, work with youth, or spread the gospel as a missionary. With a caring faculty and supportive staff, students receive personalized one-on-one support with a personal success coach throughout their online degree program. To get started in a Bluefield University degree program today, please visit the Christian Studies program page, visit the Ministry Leadership program page, or email [email protected].

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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