The Modern Clergy: Church Management and Social Innovation

SMU adds 2 master’s degree concentrations, one on business, the other for nontraditional ministry

Perkins School of Theology–Southern Methodist University announces two new degree concentrations — in partnership with SMU’s Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts— designed to strengthen future clergy in the area of church management and to equip those pursuing nontraditional forms of ministry that encourage social innovation.

The Church Management and Social Innovation and Nonprofit Engagement concentrations are available beginning fall 2017 to Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) students.

Perkins logoThe Concentration in Church Management is an 18-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate-level concentration that will provide world-class business education to students in tandem with critical theological preparation. Courses offered by the Cox School of Business, which was ranked No. 6 globally for quality of faculty in 2016, will focus on the needs of nonprofit managers in areas including organizational leadership, staff and volunteer management, membership generation, cross-cultural management and targeted marketing.

“This concentration is both badly needed and highly distinctive,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “It leverages SMU’s considerable strengths in both theological and business education to provide a program that addresses needs of church bodies in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Offered in partnership with the Meadows School of the Arts Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, the Concentration in Social Innovation and Nonprofit Engagement is designed primarily for students who do not intend to work as pastors in a local church setting, but in nontraditional ministries. The 15-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate-level concentration will focus on innovative approaches to addressing social issues and the needs arising from technological, demographic, and societal changes. Through courses including social entrepreneurship and innovation, business and professional communication, financing for the social good, and others, students will learn how to form effective, practical and sustainable responses to these emerging challenges.

“Perkins students enrolled in the Social Innovation and Nonprofit Management concentration will be able to apply intellectual rigor and spiritual integrity to communication theory, and to practice research, strategy, consulting, and advocacy in light of critical theological inquiry,” Dean Hill said. “Many of our students, including those who pursue ordination, find themselves on the cutting edge of nontraditional ministries within communities across the United States. Perkins and Meadows are committed to equipping leaders not only for current societal realities but also to face future challenges.”

Support for the new offerings was echoed by Bishop Michael McKee, episcopal leader of the North Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, member of the SMU Board of Trusteesand chair of the Perkins Executive Board.

“Students receiving a theological education with either of these concentrations will be better prepared to lead churches, nonprofits, and other ministry settings,” he said. “SMU and Perkins will be providing a better-prepared person for service in our rapidly changing culture.”

The two new concentrations increase to eight the total areas of concentration available to Master of Divinity students. Additional M. Div. concentrations include African American Church Studies, Anglican Studies, Hispanic Studies, Pastoral Care, Urban Ministry and Women’s and Gender Studies. The Master of Arts in Ministry degree offers five additional concentrations, including Christian Education, Urban Ministry, Theology and Social Justice, Christian Spirituality, and Evangelism and Mission.

For additional information about the new concentrations, or to apply for the M.Div. or M.A.M. degrees.

About Perkins SMU

Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017