Master of Arts

Master of Arts
in Contextual Leadership

Overview

The Master of Arts in Contextual Leadership prepares you to help others through a theologically cohesive, relationally rich, and Jesus-centered understanding of the human experience. Like the Certificate and MDiv programs, the MA begins by taking students through the story of the Bible in its historical, cultural, and geographic context (Biblical Narrative 1-2), as well as addressing individual calling and leadership tendencies in Introduction to Biblical Leadership. Next, and MA and MDiv students work through Scripture again with five additional Bible courses in the “Canon in Context” series, gaining the skills in various genres necessary to exegete the rest of the Bible in English.

Taken concurrently, the Biblical Leadership in Context series equips students to become ministry problem-solvers, using the biblical text to evaluate, modify, and grow their ministries in four areas applicable to all ministry types, plus a capstone course. MDiv and MA students also study common and core doctrines of the faith in historical theology, and explore the world of the Old and New Testaments more deeply with a Life and Cultures capstone course.

Though stopping short of the biblical languages and further training of the MDiv, the MA offers ample opportunity for exegetical, theological, and ministerial skills to be further honed. The student will be equipped to understand and also guide others through Scripture with competence, and able to apply the full counsel of God in each and every context.

Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to be cumulatively sequential and thoroughly contextualized through the lens of the ancient Near East and the students’ current ministerial realities. 

Bible

Biblical Narrative
Biblical Narrative 1

Students will learn the stories within the biblical narrative from Abraham to the beginning of the United Monarchy. This includes learning the geography of the stories, as well as understanding broadly the historical context in which the stories take place. Students are also introduced to concepts of historiography and current issues in historicity and historiography related to the biblical narrative. Importantly, students will acquire and exercise skills needed to discover the meaning of the stories in their immediate, local, and book-wide context. (4 credits)

Prerequisite: (none)

 


Biblical Narrative 2

This course continues where Biblical Narrative 1 leaves off. Students will learn the stories within the biblical narrative from the death of David to Paul’s arrival in Rome, including some Second Temple period material. This includes learning the geography of the stories, as well as understanding broadly the historical context in which the stories take place. Students continue to interact with concepts of historiography and current issues in historicity and historiography related to the biblical narrative. Students will also continue to exercise the skills needed to discover the meaning of the stories in their immediate, local, and book-wide context. (4 credits)

Prerequisite: Biblical Narrative 1

Canon in Context
Canon in Context 1: Torah

In this class, students acquire the literary competency needed for exegesis and continued study of the Torah (Pentateuch). Since the skills for reading narrative have been covered in Biblical Narrative 1-2, this class focuses on cosmology, law, and ritual. Students will create two genre handbooks, one for cosmology and one for law/ritual, to be used for future study. Students will also learn the introductory material for all books covered in the section, including authorship/composition, structure, major interpretive issues, and history of interpretation. Throughout the class students will review and refine their understanding of the narrative sections of Torah. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2

 


Canon in Context 2: Writings

In this class, students acquire the literary competency needed for exegesis and continued study of the third section of the Hebrew canon, the Writings (Ketuvim). Since the skills for reading narrative have been covered in Biblical Narrative 1-2, this class focuses on poetry, wisdom, and apocalyptic. Students will create a genre handbook to be used for future study. Students will also learn the introductory material for all books covered in the section, including authorship/composition, structure, major interpretive issues, and history of interpretation. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2

 


Canon in Context 3: Prophets

In this class, students acquire the literary competency needed for exegesis and continued study of the middle section of the Hebrew OT canon, the Prophets (Nevi’im). Since the narrative portion of this part of the canon has already been covered in Biblical Narrative 1-2 (i.e., Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings), this course focuses on the four prophetic scrolls of the Book of the 12, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Special attention is given to the Book of the 12. Students will create a genre handbook to be used for future study. Students will also learn the introductory material for all books covered in the section, including authorship/composition, structure, major interpretive issues, and history of interpretation. Reading prophetic literature requires competency in narrative, cosmology, law, ritual, poetry, wisdom, and apocalyptic. As such, both Canon in Context1: Torah and Canon in Context 2: Writings are prerequisites

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2; Canon in Context 1: Torah, Canon in Context 2: Writings

 


Canon in Context 4: Gospels

In this class, students acquire the literary competency needed for exegesis and continued study of the four Gospels. This class builds on narrative reading skills developed in Biblical Narrative 1–2 and the OT Canon classes and hones the particular further skills required for competent Gospels reading. Class readings and exercises, as well as exegetical guides are designed to provide the student with the tools necessary to explore and teach the content of these books. All four Gospels are read and explored in the class, being mindful of how various literary and historical-cultural contexts inform our understanding of each book. Students will also learn the introductory material for all books covered in the section, including authorship/composition, structure, major interpretive issues, and history of interpretation.

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2; Canon in Context 1: Torah, Canon in Context 2: Writings, Canon in Context 3: Prophets

 


Canon in Context 5: Acts, Epistles,
and Revelation

In this class, students acquire the literary competency needed for exegesis and continued study of the remaining portions of the New Testament beyond the Gospels. Most of the class time will focus on letter-reading and apocalypse-reading skills, though attention is also paid to narrative skills germane to reading Acts in particular. Class reading and exercises are designed to foster these skills, as well as to further explore 1st century contexts of this portion of the New Testament. Students will also learn the introductory material for all books covered in the section, including authorship/composition, structure, major interpretive issues, and history of interpretation.

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2; Canon in Context 1: Torah, Canon in Context 2: Writings, Canon in Context 3: Prophets, Canon in Context 4: Gospels

Bible Capstone
Bible Lands Trip

After learning all the stories of the Bible in their historical, cultural, and geographical setting, students travel to the land of the Bible to further reinforce and deepen their understanding of the text. This experience can be accomplished in several ways. Typically, students travel with The Pillar Seminary faculty to Israel during the annual two-week trip. Trip preparation involves reviewing historical and archaeological information for sites on the itinerary, which will be presented by students on site. It is also required that students maintain a log and journal of their experience. Alternatively, students may enroll in one of the short-term study programs at Jerusalem University College (either Historical & Geographical Settings of the Bible or Jesus & His Times). Students may also participate in archaeological excavation in a biblical land (Israel, Greece, Turkey, etc.), touring the region on days off. All trips and tours must be pre-approved by the Academic Dean. (1 credit)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2

 


Life and Cultures of the Ancient World

Throughout the course of the curriculum, students have been briefly looking at many aspects of various cultures as they have been encountered in the biblical text. These topics range from the mundane, such as daily life in urban versus rural environments, to more profound, such as the theology behind idol worship. This capstone course is an opportunity to return to those topics and study them more in depth. The goal is to create better readers of the biblical text by solidifying an accurate understanding of the cultures in which it was written. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2, Canon in Context 1: Torah, 
Canon in Context 2: Writings, Canon in Context 3: Prophets, Canon in Context 4: Gospels, Canon in Context 5: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

 
Historical Theology: The Creeds

Historical Theology: The Creeds

As a capstone to the Bible curriculum, this course will assume and build on the repertoire of skills honed from our unique approach and curriculum. Based on the understandings that good theology flows out of good exegesis, that good exegesis must operate within the broad boundaries of orthodoxy, and that context is important to both, we will explore the earliest centuries of the Christian Church to watch the canon and the creeds emerge in their historical and cultural contexts. We will understand what the major tenets of historical orthodoxy are and where, how, and why they emerged. This should also leave the student with foundational perspective for engaging theologically today. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2; Canon in Context 1: Torah, Canon in Context 2: Writings, Canon in Context 3: Prophets, Canon in Context 4: Gospels, Canon in Context 5: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

Leadership

Introduction and Counseling
Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership

The introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership course is designed to align a student’s call, gifts, and leadership proclivities. During the semester, students will examine their own biography, spiritual gifts, and personality profile to gain clarity on their call and equipping. The examination is done with the professor and cohort as students learn to affirm who they are and how they are called to serve. This understanding is necessary in order to maximize their effectiveness in ministry, and thus a prerequisite to begin the “Biblical Leadership in Context” series. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1

 


Pastoral Counseling

This course is designed to introduce the student to the basic counseling skills involved in pastoral counseling and care. The course will include a counseling model, theories, personal assessments, and useful knowledge for developing proficiency in pastoral care-giving. Emphasis will be given to practice and acquisition of basic counseling skills, increasing personal self-awareness, an overview of mental health disorders, referral strategies, and the usefulness of science and Scripture in the counseling process. (2 credits)

Prerequisites: Biblical Narrative 1, Biblical Narrative 2; Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership

 
Biblical Leadership in Context
Biblical Leadership in Context 1: Disciple Making

This course will explore the use of discipleship and evangelism and compare these methodologies to the biblical mandate of disciple making. Students will be taught how to be disciples, make disciples, and grow the church. Contextually, students will be required to compare disciple making to the principles currently existing in their church. Finally, a new model of disciple making will be developed to strengthen or replace existing models in the student’s local context. (3 credits)

Prerequisite: Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership

 


Biblical Leadership in Context 2: Worship and Membership

This course has two main objectives: 1) To compare and contrast biblical worship with the way students are currently worshiping in their local context. For this discussion, students will be challenged to talk about their current worship setting and what would be different by observing the directives of scripture; and 2) To discuss the importance of membership care from a biblical perspective and compare care based on scripture to how membership care is observed at the local church level today. Students will be challenged to discover some of the ways that the local church can benefit from what the Bible teaches about membership care and its impact on the whole community of faith.(3 credits)

Prerequisites: Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership, Biblical Leadership in Context 1: Disciple Making

 


Biblical Leadership in Context 3: Mission and Outreach

This course is designed to challenge students to move from a secular understanding of mission and outreach to a biblical approach. We will examine God’s plan for God’s people from creation to the new creation and dispel the notion that mission began in the Book of Acts. This course will combine your understanding of biblical narrative and disciple-making to help make the case for what God expects from his people and the purpose or mission we exist to engage. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership, Biblical Leadership in Context 1: Disciple Making, Biblical Leadership in Context 2: Worship and Membership

 


Biblical Leadership in Context 4: Administration and Internal Controls

This course has 3 main objectives: 1) To discover the differences between biblical and secular administration. This objective is designed to continue the goal of impressing upon the student the critical differences between church and secular leadership especially with respect to administration. Students will explore these differences and be able to distinguish between them when designing a church administration and operations manual. 2) To understand the foundations of Church Administration. This objective will assist students understand the most efficient way to organize and administer personal, financial and physical resources, risk management and safe sanctuary, and planning, project and support activities. 3) To create a church administration and operations manual for use in administering the overall functions of the church. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership, Biblical Leadership in Context 1: Disciple Making, Biblical Leadership in Context 2: Worship and Membership, Biblical Leadership in Context 3: Mission and Outreach

Leadership Capstone
Capstone: Ethics and Christian Responsibility

This course is designed to examine processes used in ministry and their ethical implications for the church and the community around it. As a capstone course, students look back through the Biblical Leadership in Context series with an eye to avoiding unethical practices when engaging ministry in those areas. What emerges is a biblical prescription for doing ministry. (3 credits)

Prerequisites: Introduction to Contextual Biblical Leadership, Biblical Leadership in Context 1: Disciple Making, Biblical Leadership in Context 2: Worship and Membership, Biblical Leadership in Context 3: Mission and Outreach, Biblical Leadership in Context 4: Administration and Internal Controls

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to complete my degree?

Students begin their graduate studies at Pillar Seminary by taking one class for the first semester. Students increase to two classes during the second semester and beyond at their discretion. Contact our admissions team to discuss your goals and determine the right pace for you at 501-940-8000.

Can I audit a class?

If you are interested in visiting Pillar, we recommend attending a preview class. Our Certificate Program is the best place to begin your time at Pillar to see how classes can fit into your life. 

What platform(s) do you use for classes?

Each class has a dedicated Google Classroom and Slack channel. We use the Zoom video conferencing platform for our class time together.

What is the cost of tuition?

Tuition is a flat rate of $2,500 per semester, plus nominal student fees.Students who cannot afford to pay full tuition may apply for a scholarship. We work hard to keep all students from taking on loans. Our team will work with you to maximize your network and ours for the good of the Kingdom.

I have more questions. Who should I talk to?

Please reach out to our admissions team to discuss your goals and determine the right pace for you at 501-940-8000.

Select the fields to be shown. Others will be hidden. Drag and drop to rearrange the order.
  • Image
  • SKU
  • Rating
  • Price
  • Stock
  • Availability
  • Add to cart
  • Description
  • Content
  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Additional information
  • Attributes
  • Custom attributes
  • Custom fields
Click outside to hide the compare bar
Compare
Wishlist 0
Open wishlist page Continue shopping