Educational preparation for full-time ministry is defined in the course of study. What is the course of study? How is the course of study implemented in the Church of the Nazarene?
Continuing Education: The Course of Study
What is the course of study?
The course of study is the educational plan to prepare men and women for ministry in the Church of the Nazarene. It is defined in the Manual of the Church by the results the educational process is to produce in students. The course of study takes different forms as educational providers develop curricula and methods to produce the desired results. A Course of Study Advisory Committee (regional COSAC) for each geographic region of the church is responsible for reviewing every educational program, to determine if the particular program meets the requirements of the Church. After reviewing an educational program the COSAC may recommend the program for validation by the International Course of Study Advisory Committee (ICOSAC) and the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene.
An educational program that meets the church requirements is a significant program of study. It is to be equivalent to three years of full-time college study.
Who must complete the course of study?
Every licensed minister in the Church of the Nazarene must complete a validated course of study under the supervision of his or her District Ministerial Studies Board.
Completion of the course of study does not automatically lead to ordination. Upon completing the validated course of study, all students will be examined by the District Ministerial Credentials Board, and some will be recommended for ordination within the Church of the Nazarene. Recommended individuals will express a call to full-time ministry, exhibit the gifts and graces for ministry, demonstrate the requisite abilities for ministry, and exhibit a mature, Christlike spirit.
What is the mission of the course of study?
What is the mission of the course of study? The mission of ministerial preparation is to equip ministers for a lifetime of effective ministry so they may respond to the Great Commission of Christ to “go and make disciples of all nations,” and advance God’s kingdom by the preservation and propagation of Christian holiness as set forth in the scriptures. (Manual 2009-2013, 426.3)
What are the goals of the course of study?
The goals of the course of study are embodied in three simple words—BE, KNOW, and DO. The course of study must help students KNOW certain things, DO the tasks of ministry, and BE the kind of minister needed in the church. More detail.
What is taught in the course of study?
The curriculum categories of the course of study are described by four words beginning with the letter “C”—CONTENT, COMPETENCY, CHARACTER, AND CONTEXT—the 4C’s. CONTENT relates to the goal KNOW. COMPETENCY relates to the goal DO. CHARACTER relates to the goal BE. These three do not take place in isolation but within a ministry CONTEXT. All Nazarene educational providers must address the 4C’s in their curriculum.
What abilities are developed through the course of study?
Within the USA the intended results of the course of study are divided into statements of abilities that students are expected to demonstrate at the conclusion of the course of study. Abilities are grouped into the curriculum categories under the 4C’s. Ability statements are given a unique 2-letter prefix and a number. The prefix for CONTENT is CN; COMPETENCY is CP; CHARACTER is CH; and CONTEXT is CX.
Educational Providers and Delivery Systems
How can I complete the course of study?
The method you choose to complete the course of study depends on several factors, including the district on which you reside, your age, previous educational experience, your preferred learning style, and your family responsibilities. If you fall in the traditional college age, 18-22, the preferred method would be to enroll in a Nazarene college or university, and complete a religion major that meets the requirements of the course of study. Many ministers then pursue graduate education at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. This method is also preferred for students who do not have a previous college degree. A college degree is not required to serve as a minister in the Church of the Nazarene, but most world cultures where you would minister expect that you will have a college degree.
If you have passed the traditional college age, already have a college degree, or have responsibilities that prohibit you from attending a Nazarene college, there are still ways for you to enroll in a course of study and prepare for ministry. Internet technologies have greatly increased the opportunities to pursue academic degrees at our Nazarene colleges and universities. As examples, you can now enroll at Nazarene Bible College (Colorado Springs) to complete a college degree that also fulfills requirements for the course of study, or graduate degree programs are available online from other institutions.
If you have a college degree, have been out of school for sometime, or need to study closer to your current home, you can enroll in a non-degree credentialing program accepted by your district. Every district in the USA has a ministerial studies board that oversees a district training program and/or they accept work done online or in other ways. CAUTION—Before you enroll in any course or module, confirm with your District Ministerial Studies Board secretary that the work will be accepted by your district.
World Mission regions require that all course of study programs be authorized and guided by the educational institution for your area. Check with your local Nazarene educational institution for details.
What are the other requirements for ordination?
Candidates for ordination as elder must complete a validated course of study and are required to serve three consecutive years as a full-time preaching pastor, or four years as a parttime staff pastor under an ordained minister.
Candidates for ordination as deacon must complete a validated course of study and are required to serve four consecutive years as a district-licensed minister. Parttime work as an assigned minister may require additional experience years before ordination.
The District Ministerial Credentials Board (DMCB) is required to examine each candidate for ordination and determine if the candidate exhibits the gifts and graces for ministry. The DMCB will also assess the theological beliefs of the candidate, to determine if he or she agrees with the beliefs of the Church of the Nazarene. They will also assess the spiritual maturity of the candidate and determine at what time the board will recommend a candidate for ordination.
Ordination is a privilege extended by the church and is not a right of the candidate obtained by completing the course of study.