Our culture is becoming more complex, more digital, and more interconnected. At ACU, we’re training men and women in Christian ministry and theology who proclaim the Gospel and pursue the mission of Christ as compassionate, biblically-grounded intercultural leaders and ministry innovators.
To prepare you for this high calling, ACU Online offers a Bachelor of Science in Christian Service and Formation. This degree, alongside deepening your own spirituality, will equip you to minister to people across the lifespan, within family systems, and across cultures and various ministry and non-ministry contexts. Plus, this program’s values don’t just apply to those preaching from a pulpit—but build a strong foundation for individuals pursuing careers as Christian social workers, police officers, accountants, non-profit starters, and beyond.
So, are you interested in understanding how your surroundings shape your worldview and how you can use that lens to engage society in meaningful ways for Christ? Read on to learn more about this degree and what it can offer!
In the B.S. in Christian Service and Formation program, you have the opportunity to develop pastoral skills and broaden your cultural awareness while nurturing your identity in Christ. At ACU, we believe the best kind of spiritual formation comes from those who are tending to their own spiritual life.
This degree has a total of 120 hours, which typically will take four years to complete. As part of the major, you can customize the degree by taking additional courses in a specialized area of ministry or another discipline.
Ultimately though, this degree is focused on three key pillars: reading scripture, understanding your own cultural competency around scripture, and cultivating spiritual formation.
These pillars, chosen by program director Tiffany Dahlman, enables the Bachelor of Science in Christian Service and Formation program to become a “top standard degree plan” for ministers. And, ultimately, for her, this means that the courses need to take a holistic approach for this modern age of ministry. It empowers you to love God and others with your mind, soul and heart.
One of the most important priorities of the B.S. in Christian Service and Formation is guiding you into a deeper, more mature engagement with Scripture.
In this degree program, you will take broad-focus classes like Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, where they explore various methods of biblical interpretation needed for responsible, insightful, and creative Bible study in the context of ministry. You will also drill down into specific areas of Scripture, such as Prophetic Literature of the Old Testament, where students dive into the history, language, and structure of the prophetic literature in the Bible. These classes are intended to help you grapple with the difficult, dense texts of Christian Scripture in order to become a better scholar and teacher.
The B.S. in Christian Service and Formation program is about more than just learning about the Bible—it is designed to guide you into understanding how to relate to Scripture and to use your faith in various cultural settings.
In classes like Living the Mission, you will become familiar with key themes and dimensions of the world Christian movement and how God has brought about Kingdom blessings by using ordinary people motivated by the mission dei (“the mission of God”) in their own particular cultural contexts. Similarly, in Religion in Global Contexts, you will engage in major anthropological and sociological debates on religion, secularism, and global modernity. Likewise, you learn in Gospel in a Multicultural World how to develop a theology of mission by looking at the biblical basis of mission and sharpening their understanding of the Gospel. You will wrestle with the challenge of interpersonal identification, models of communication, and planting meaningful communities of faith in various cultural contexts.
These courses are central to creating culturally competent ministers who understand how faith and Scripture can be applied powerfully and relevantly across the globe.
Cultivating Spiritual Formation
Another essential part of this degree’s distinctive offering is its emphasis on spiritual formation. A centerpiece of this curriculum is a four-course series on the history, practice, and application of spiritual disciplines in the Christian tradition.
This class series starts with Spiritual Formation I and II, where you’ll learn the history of Christian spiritual disciplines, explore their context in the Hebrew scriptures, Gospels and life of the early church, put these same disciplines into practice, and reflect upon their implications for life, ministry and cultural engagement. In Teaching and Learning for Spiritual Formation, you will explore teaching and learning in both formal and informal contexts for the purpose of spiritual formation. Emphasis is given to the theory and practice of teaching, principles of learning, and the organization of planned learning experiences within the church. Finally, in Mission as Spiritual Formation, you’ll participate in the mission of God by developing a contextually-nuanced theological and practical approach to spiritual growth and by cultivating space for the Spirit to work through the practice of a variety of spiritual disciplines learned from other cultures and religious faith traditions.
All of these courses come together in a concerted, deliberate way to help lead you into your specific spiritual vocation and the general vocation for all Christians: to be conformed to the image of Christ. This strong spiritual formation emphasis—paired with our distinctive focus on vocational formation—makes ACU Online’s Bachelor of Christian Service and Formation a truly unique experience. This degree sets you up not just for a career in ministry, but also for a life-changing encounter with meaningful work in service to God and others.
Visit our website or call 855-219-7300 to learn more about how you can grow as a Christian leader and embark on the spiritual adventure of your life at ACU Online