Master of Strategic Ministry

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Christian leaders minister in a complex and rapidly changing world. Effective leadership in this context requires a biblically-based philosophy of ministry, skillful analysis of cultural dynamics, the capacity to think and plan strategically, and the ability to lead and equip people to extend the kingdom of God in his world. Johnson University’s Master of Strategic Ministry program involves a partnership between the academy and the church that equips students for this kind of effective, strategic Christian leadership.

The program includes online coursework in strategic ministry, a study trip to Israel, and a 9-month ministry apprenticeship at a partner church in Peoria, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; or Orlando, Florida. Students complete a Leadership Core and can choose a concentration in a specialty area. Customized specialty areas in Indiana and Florida are sometimes developed in partnership with church professionals at those locations on an as-available basis. Throughout the program, apprentices are mentored by Johnson University instructors, some of whom serve on staff at the participating churches.

Students will benefit from Johnson’s accreditation, affordable tuition, and an experienced and engaged faculty passionate about each student’s success. 


The Church Administration concentration prepares students to analyze various administrative techniques and choose the best techniques to efficiently manage particular church and ministry programs.

The Church Planting concentration trains students to analyze strategies for extending a church’s mission through the planting of additional sites or congregations.

The Intercultural Studies concentration trains students to evaluate various mission strategies and choose strategies that will best empower a particular church or ministry to make local and global kingdom impact.

The Pastoral Ministry concentration equips students to integrate pastoral leadership skills developed through research into actual ministry circumstances. 

The Youth Ministry concentration trains students to analyze strategies to minister to and with junior high and high school students and their families that develop them into disciples of Jesus.

The Children & Family concentration trains students to analyze strategies to minister to and with children and their families that develop them into disciples of Jesus.

The Special Needs concentration trains students to coordinate, execute, and analyze meaningful ministry to and with people who have special needs.

The Sports Ministry concentration trains students to evaluate various sports ministry opportunities and to develop those that will best help a church minister to people in its particular community.

The Worship concentration equips students to evaluate philosophies and methods of leading others in worship and develop a philosophy and choose methods that best serve a particular context.

When students complete this program, they will be able to do the following:

  • Integrate the character traits Jesus exemplified in his ministry into their own lives, leadership styles, and ministries.
  • Analyze biblical teachings and contemporary approaches to leadership to develop their own philosophies of strategic ministry.
  • Implement and continually reevaluate and revise their philosophies of leadership through strategic management of people and resources.

For a comprehensive list regarding program goals and objectives, see the catalog.

Professional Area Course Sampling
Theology and Dynamics of Strategic Leadership
Contextual Implementation of Strategic Leadership
Bible Lands
Fundamentals Of Strategic Leadership
People And Resource Management
Program Management
Advanced Strategic Leadership
Congregational Leadership