The Division of Religion at Southern Wesleyan University recognizes a growing need for multi-skilled pastors in ministry and ministry-minded individuals in the workforce.

According to a recent Barna survey, 55 percent of U.S. pastors had another career before going into ministry and 26 percent remain bi-vocational, holding a professional role in addition to pastoring. The CoVo program is designed to equip future co-vocational church leaders looking to become effective ministers in both the church and in the workplace.

Students in the CoVo program will be equipped with the essential academic competencies for Wesleyan ordination with a major in Christian Ministry, Youth and Children Ministry, or Christian Worship; as well as workplace skills and experience offered through majors that include Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Criminal Justice, English, Environmental Studies, Exercise Science, History, Human Services, Mathematics, Media Communications, Music, Psychology, Recreation and Sport Management and more.

“Innovation in the strict context of mission and quality is becoming Southern Wesleyan’s middle name, and this breakthrough in co-vocational program development is yet another example of a cutting edge, relevant and practical approach to ministerial education,” said Dr. Todd Voss, Southern Wesleyan University president.

“SWU is excited to link arms with the church to prepare dynamic co-vocational pastors and marketplace Christian leaders for Kingdom work. CoVo helps us accomplish this,” said Dr. Mike Tapper, Religion Division chair. 

In addition to the new CoVo program, SWU launched the 3+1 program track last year in an effort to equip SWU Division of Religion graduates to obtain practical insights under the guidance of vibrant church leaders. The program allows students to apply scriptural principles to contemporary life by taking what they learn in the classroom for three years and diving into a ministry residency during their fourth year.