For the first time in its history, fifteen students began classes this August in a post-graduate degree program offered by Kingswood University–the Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology (MAPT).

The launching of the university’s first master’s degree program began with two “intensives,” or one-week, on-campus courses. In the first week, Dr. David Smith, vice president for academic affairs, taught The Bible as Christian Scripture. The following week students heard from guest speakers, Pastor Keith Loy (Celebrate Church, Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Dr. Ed Stetzer (President of LifeWay Research), as President Mark Gorveatte facilitated the course, A Theology of Pastoral Leadership.

When Dr. David Smith first shared with me his dream for the MAPT program, I was in.” said Rick Kavanaugh (’13), senior pastor of First Wesleyan Church in High Point, N.C., as he recounted his discussion with Dr. Smith. “He said that we can talk about making the Scripture the center of ministry, but how does that in a practical way impact our worship, our preaching, discipleship, church governance, our evangelism, etc.?”

“The first class was an overview of where the program is going, and I am more excited than ever about its direction,” Rick continued. “Ministry must be rooted, grounded, and directed by God’s Word. This program is intentionally focused on equipping the spiritual leader with the tools and knowledge necessary to move that from theory to reality.”

“I cared about theology, practice, credentials, and cost as I began the search for a pastoral graduate degree,” said Seth Fancy (’06), assistant pastor at First Wesleyan Church in Saint John, New Brunswick. “Kingswood’s MAPT seemed to fit that!”

“However, as I attended the first class in the MAPT program, I became deeply aware of something else–I had entered a transformational community,” continued Seth. “This was not about getting a degree in becoming a ‘better’ pastor; it was an invitation to a table with my newly acquainted brothers and sisters (cohort and staff), where we would listen, live, love, practice, and pray collectively as we fleshed out the Jesus Way. I knew then something special was taking place here.”

Kingswood’s fully accredited Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology degree is designed for the practicing minister. Most courses are taught in one-week “intensives,” making it possible for pastors across North America to further their education while ministering in their own communities. The 36-hour accredited M.A. can be completed within one calendar year and may be transferred to other universities or seminaries for further graduate study.