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M.Div. Concentration in Methodist Studies

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Luther Seminary provide students deeper formation for leadership in the United Methodist Church (as well as other Methodist traditions present at the two schools, such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) through a shared program of educational offerings.

Requirements of the Concentration

The concentration requires six courses (18 credits) of work:

  • IC2624 United Methodist Church History and Doctrine (taught annually at Luther)
  • A History and Polity course:

a. For UMC students: CH320 United Methodist History and Polity (taught annually at United)
b. For AME students: IC2641 African Methodist Episcopal Church History and Polity (taught every third year at Luther)
c. For students from other Methodist traditions: directed study in the history and polity of their particular tradition

  • CL484 Wesleyan Holiness: Developing Congregational and Personal Spiritual Vitality (taught every other year, alternating between Luther and United; team-taught by United Methodist members of the regular faculty at both institutions)
  • CL330 Worship of the Church (taught annually at United)
  • An Evangelism course (three options, taught at Luther and United)

a. CL894 Evangelism through the Arts (at United)
b. CL4510 The Ministry of Evangelism in the Church (at Luther)
c. CL4530 Starting New Missional Ministries (at Luther)

  • 6. An elective in Leadership for a Vital Church in the Contemporary World (student’s choice drawn from the following list):

AT UNITED (taught on varying rotations):
CL364 Media, Culture, and Worship
CL481 The Spiritual Life of the Congregation
CL571 The Public Witness of Congregations
CL896 Theology and Practice of Stewardship
TR331 Antiracism Dialogue: Theory and Practice
TR370 Politics and Religion in the World
TR650 Theology in Contemporary Film
TR820 Reimagining the Church: Ecclesiology, Mission, and Ministry for our Contemporary Time

AT LUTHER (taught on varying rotations):
CM2410 Mission of the Triune God I
PR4540 Preaching and Pastoral Leadership
CL4525 Theological Leadership in Addressing Change and Conflict

At United, there are additional features of the M.Div. degree that work together with the above courses to promote United Methodist formation in UMC students:

Contextual Studies placements: Students in United’s M.Div. program are required to take two field placements as part of their Contextual Studies requirement. One of these must be in a parish setting, and both may be. UMC students can be placed in UMC churches for this required field experience.

Integrative Notebook and A Spiritual Chronicle: United uses a portfolio process called the Integrative Notebook to support a student’s integration of the various parts of his/her education into a coherent ministerial identity within the student’s denominational tradition. The work done by United Methodist students within this concentration will be taken up formally and explicitly in this process and thus integrated with their other seminary studies, giving their emerging ministerial identity a distinctively United Methodist shape. United uses a set of resources and requirements called “A Spiritual Chronicle” to support a student’s continued spiritual development and formation throughout her/his seminary career.

The Co-curricular Environment Supporting United Methodist Formation: United offers various co-curricular activities that create a broader environment of United Methodist formation.

United Methodist Chapel Services
United holds midday chapel services twice a week. These are mostly services of morning or midday prayer with occasional eucharistic services and are held on the heaviest class days each term so they are accessible to the greatest number of students. United’s chapel has a full complement of copies of the United Methodist Hymnal as well as the supplement The Faith We Sing, and these are used regularly. United Methodist students and faculty regularly lead worship in the United Methodist tradition.

United Methodist Seminar
The United Methodist Seminar meets six times per academic year. Students share in worship, lunch, and a discussion of themes proposed by the collaborative planning team, as well as input from students. Programs to be shared include a presentation on the Standards of Ministry, a visit with the bishop, and a session on boundaries. The purpose of the seminar is to connect United Methodist students with others in the denomination and share connection, resources, and formation. It provides the Cabinet, Board of Ordained Ministry, and United Methodist faculty at Luther and United with a seminary-mandated and supervised vehicle through which to be actively involved in a formation process with students that is particular and distinct to United Methodism. The seminar is planned jointly by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the annual conference and United and Luther Seminary and is open to students at both schools.

Educational Goals of the Concentration

In addition to achieving the basic outcomes of the Master of Divinity degree, the excellent graduate of the Methodist Studies concentration:

  • will be able to explain the distinctive marks of the Wesleyan theological tradition;
  • will be able to explain the basic historical narrative of the Methodist movement in its essential continuity and diversity, as it results in the United Methodist Church of today;
  • will be able to lead a congregation in accord with the provisions of the Book of Discipline;
  • will know and have experienced the Wesleyan tradition of nurturing vital piety;
  • will be able to lead worship and preach in ways that are grounded in Wesleyan theology and spiritual formation;
  • will be able to lead a United Methodist congregation in expressing the Good News of Jesus Christ to contemporary persons outside the church; and
  • will be able to lead a United Methodist congregation in mission to today’s world.


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