Christian Formation and Ministry Overview

The Christian Formation and Ministry (CFM) Department seeks to equip academically grounded, spiritually maturing, and practically skilled ministers of the Gospel who are prepared to build up the Church universal in a rapidly changing world.


The department supports an undergraduate program in Christian Education and Ministry and a graduate program in Christian Formation and Ministry. Courses within the department therefore focus on the processes of Christian evangelism, discipleship, and soul care and the means by which such formation can be facilitated in others.

In order to prepare students for effective work in the areas of formation and ministry, our programs stress three interrelated domains.

First, students will examine literature related to the following:

  • biblical
  • theological
  • historical
  • philosophical
  • social scientific basis of Christian formation, education, and ministry

Second, students explore the following:

  • practical models
  • skills
  • elements of ministry leadership and organization

Finally, courses explore the growth and development of the individual in terms of personal spiritual vitality and an understanding of these areas of ministry:

  • passion
  • calling
  • vocation

These three related elements - foundations, skills, and spiritual vitality - are the central themes of this department.

Faculty in the department reflect a diversity of both academic disciplines and areas of ministry passion. While the discipline is not linked to any specific vocation, students majoring within the Christian Formation and Ministry Department generally focus on the following areas:

  • age-specific ministries (children's ministry, youth ministry, college and young adult ministry, and adult ministries)
  • discipleship ministries
  • camping ministries
  • family ministries
  • cross-cultural ministries
  • school leadership
  • student development
  • curriculum development

Students in recent years have gone out to work with these organizations:

  • churches
  • parachurch organizations
  • mission agencies
  • camps
  • schools
  • colleges


Both undergraduate and graduate students may also take advantage of the opportunities afforded by HoneyRock, Wheaton's Northwoods Campus in Wisconsin. Students can take courses and work as camp counselors in the summers. In addition, together with the College, HoneyRock offers both a Youth Ministry Certificate program and an Adventure Ministry Leadership Certificate program that allow students to take intensive courses and engage in practical experiences in a variety of settings.


Regardless of the chosen program, the Christian Formation and Ministry Department is committed to teaching and mentoring students to prepare them for effective ministry in any setting. Along those lines, we have many desired outcomes in the lives of students who come under our teaching:

  • Spiritual Vitality
    Commitment to growth in personhood and spiritual maturity in Christ (in areas such as faith, wholeness, and service).
  • Exegetical & Ministry Competency
    Creation of opportunities for people to encounter the person of God and the truths of His Word by effectively communicating Scripture and discerning his presence and sovereignty in our world.
  • Theological Commitment & Consistency
    Commitment to a biblical and theological foundation which will provide consistency to your life and ministry.
  • Ministry Identity
    Commitment to growth as a ministry leader, shepherd and life-long learner in the church, exploring giftedness and a sense of "calling" in ministry.
  • Academic Integrity
    Careful reflection on classic and current literature and church practice in a way that informs the discipline of Christian Formation & Ministry.
  • Cultural Sensitivity
    Development of respect for all persons as created in the image of God, cultivating appreciation for the richness found in the diversity of gender, race, tradition and culture.

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