Department of Philosophy and Religion

Faculty: Jay Akkerman, Joseph Bankard, Joseph Gorman, Mike Kipp, Diane Leclerc, Brent Peterson (Dean), Stephen Riley, Christina Smerick, Richard Thompson (Department Chair), Celia Wolff

The Department of Philosophy and Religion serves both general students and departmental majors. Graduates of the Department will be able to enter a variety of fields. Those who major in philosophy will be prepared for graduate work in philosophy, ethics, religion, law, and related fields. Those who pursue academic programs focused on ministry preparation may pursue pastoral or lay ministries according to their calling and choice of minor, as well as graduate work in religion.

Bachelor of Arts, Biblical Studies
Bachelor of Arts, Christian Ministry
Bachelor of Arts, Intercultural Ministry (Missions)
Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy
Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy and Religion
Bachelor of Arts, Worship Arts
Bachelor of Arts, Youth Ministry

Christian Theology
Family Ministry
Social Justice

Children's Ministry
Christian Ministry
Family Ministry
Pastoral Ministry
Social Justice
Worship Leadership
Youth Ministry

Minors in the Department of Philosophy and Religion serve two purposes:

  1. Combined with the Christian Ministry major, most minors equip students for focused ministry.
  2. The minors provide an introduction to focused ministry areas and academic disciplines for nondepartmental majors.

In consultation with a Philosophy and Religion Department faculty advisor, an individualized minor may be designed to prepare a student for a ministry area not addressed by the published minors.

The graduates of the Christian Ministry, Youth Ministry, or Intercultural Ministry major with a departmental minor and ministerial standing fulfill the Course of Study (COS) educational requirements for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene. These include the following outcomes:

  1. Content: Graduates will have knowledge of the content and interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, the theology of the Christian faith, the doctrine of holiness, the history and mission of the church, and the history and polity of the Church of the Nazarene.
  2. Competency: Graduates will possess abilities in oral and written communication, analytical thinking, management and leadership, finance and church administration, preaching, pastoral care and counseling, worship leadership, evangelism, and Christian education.
  3. Character: Graduates will have knowledge of Christian ethics, spiritual formation, human development, and marriage and family life. They will demonstrate personal growth in their own character and spirituality.
  4. Context: Graduates will have knowledge of the historical, social, and contemporary environment in which they minister and be able to relate the mission of the church to that context.

Ministerial Preparation

The Department of Philosophy and Religion provides oversight and guidance to students preparing for Christian vocational ministry. Ministerial preparation includes academic achievement, personal development, and divine calling. Each major or minor sets forth a program of academic achievement.

The student's progress is monitored by the administrator of the major or minor. Matters of personal development are treated in a series of courses (PRTH1710, 2960, 3210, 3960, 4960) spread throughout the student's years of enrollment. Such matters as a call to ministry, personal religious experience, self-understanding and character development, professional conduct, avenues of Christian service, and ministerial licensing are discussed with each student. These courses include many hours of field experience and internship in a ministry setting, as well as personal interviews by members of the faculty and area pastors.

Because of the increasing complexity of ministry in contemporary society, the College and the Church of the Nazarene strongly encourage all ministerial students to prepare themselves well and complete a seminary education. Those students who do not intend to pursue graduate-level education for ministry preparation are urged to select the Christian Ministry major with an appropriate departmental minor in preparation for ministry following graduation. Those students who intend to fulfill the educational requirements for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene through their undergraduate program must complete either the Christian Ministry major with an appropriate departmental minor or the Missions major with a minor in Christian Ministry.

Ministerial Standing

Ministerial Standing is a formative process that encourages the highest possible standards in students planning to enter vocational ministry. This process seeks to be developmental and holistic by recognizing personal growth in students over time, rather than merely applying a fixed standard uniformly. The items assessed in the process toward acceptance are: academic performance (Truth), personal initiative, leadership (Community), spiritual formation (Transformation), and the ability to integrate academic learning into the local ministry context (Service).

Prior to achieving Ministerial Standing, a student is considered to be in ministry observation/exploration. However, Ministerial Standing is mandatory for formal admission to a program of ministry preparation and for graduation with a Christian Ministry, Youth Ministry or Intercultural Ministry major from the College of Theology & Christian Ministries (CTCM). Ministerial Standing is also required for those students who are seeking to fulfill the educational requirements for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene. In addition, Ministerial Standing will be strongly considered in awarding Religion Department scholarships as well as in making recommendations to local churches, pastors, church leaders, and graduate schools.

Application to Ministerial Standing:

To be eligible for a program of ministry preparation, a student must meet the following requirements for the achievement of Ministerial Standing:

  1. complete the following courses prior to application: PRTH1710, CHED1810, and BIBL1100,
  2. have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better,
  3. apply for Ministerial Standing in the spring semester of the student's sophomore year and reapply each subsequent year,
  4. obtain favorable character references from peers, NNU faculty, NNU Student Development, and pastors,
  5. submit critical assignments in ministerial training,
  6. interview with a CTCM faculty subcommittee, and
  7. receive a favorable recommendation for the granting of Ministerial Standing from the CTCM faculty.

Students who do not achieve Ministerial Standing will receive clear feedback and be encouraged to reapply the following year.

Continuation of Ministerial Standing:
To continue to hold Ministerial Standing, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. make progress toward the completion of the student's degree program by being enrolled in NNU during one of the previous two semesters,
  2. maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better,
  3. reapply for Ministerial Standing annually (including the application requirements above), and
  4. receive favorable recommendations from field experience and/or internship.

Failure to meet any of these four requirements will result in the withdrawal of Ministerial Standing. Graduating seniors who do not achieve Ministerial Standing cannot graduate with a Christian Ministry, Youth Ministry, or Intercultural Ministry major but may seek to graduate from the University with a different major. However, a student whose Ministerial Standing has been withdrawn may reapply after one semester with a favorable recommendation from the Dean of the College of Theology and Christian Ministries.