Possessing both a passion for ministry and a gift for music, Palm Beach Atlantic University student Haley Locke felt divided about which avenue to pursue for her undergraduate degree.
|Haley Locke, a sophomore in PBA's School of Ministry|
The sophomore from Royal Palm Beach believes she has found the answer through a new degree offering coming to PBA’s School of Ministry. Starting this fall, students will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in ministry with the option of choosing one of four concentrations: pastoral ministries, student ministries, worship ministries and social ministries.
For Locke the concentration in worship ministries — a path designed for future church musicians — seems to be the perfect intersection of both of her interests.
“Since my junior year of high school, I have loved this particular form of ministry,” Locke said. “It is a blessing and an honor to have the responsibility of leading a congregation to the foot of the cross, bringing their attention and focus to the majesty and glory of our Lord.”
The new options will replace the existing ministry leadership studies major and are a response to student requests for training in specific areas of church ministry, says a professor who helped spearhead the change.
“It’s preparing people for ministry, whether it’s in churches, parachurch organizations or other types of nonprofits,” said Dr. Jonathan Grenz, associate professor of ministry leadership studies.
The creation of concentrations will help to equip more effectively those students who come in with a certain calling, he said.
The worship ministries concentration in particular involves a new collaboration with both the School of Music and Fine Arts and the School of Communication and Media. Students choosing this option will be encouraged to minor in pop music through the School of Music and Fine Arts.
“There’s a growing interest in worship and worship leading, but people come in with different levels of musical ability,” Dr. Grenz said. “Our concentration takes them from wherever they are in their musical ability and equips them with the skills necessary to lead an effective worship ministry.”
Students in this concentration also will take theater and communication courses to help them stage church plays, as well as to help them learn to operate lighting and sound equipment.
The concentration in student ministries also addresses a growing area of interest. PBA student John Baggerman of Palm Bay felt a calling to youth ministry while still in high school. So when he recently learned of the new bachelor’s degree in ministry with a concentration in student ministries, he was eager to sign up.
“I love the idea that I can now put my full focus on learning ministry skills directed at students,” said Baggerman, a junior. “It gives me the ability to step forward in the direction God has given me and pursue a degree directly in the area of ministry I want to do.”
Previously, students could choose student ministries only as a minor.
The other two concentrations also will help students direct their studies. "Students choosing the concentration in social ministries will receive a solid foundation enabling them to pursue further graduate studies in social work, while the pastoral ministries concentration is aimed at those hoping to serve on a church pastoral staff," Dr. Grenz said.