If you already have an undergraduate degree and a decent amount of work experience under your belt, an executive MBA program could be an excellent way to take your career to the next level without the need to give up your day job. These days, more schools are offering executive MBAs to help experienced business professionals obtain the advanced degrees they need to become more effective and confident leaders.
So, what exactly is an executive MBA (EMBA), and what does this kind of degree program entail? Likewise, how does it compare to a "traditional" Master of Business Administration (MBA) program? By answering these common questions, you can make a better-informed decision regarding whether this type of advanced degree program is right for you.
What Is an Executive MBA?
Are Christian worship and a focus on God central in your life? If so, you may want to consider a career in ministry. Contrary to what you might assume, jobs in ministry and related fields are quite varied and extensive. This professional path can be incredibly rewarding, on both the personal level and the spiritual level, for virtually all people of faith and devotion.
Pathways to Careers in Ministry
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to working in the field of ministry. Churches and other hiring organizations generally require their ministers, pastors and priests to have a college degree in divinity or a related discipline from a respected seminary program. However, there are many paths to gainful employment in ministry.
Your path will largely depend on your desired professional destination. Here are just a couple broad career options for aspiring religious leaders, as well as the duties and opportunities that go hand in hand with these career options:
Pastoral Roles and Responsibilities
Ministers, pastors and priests all offer spiritual leadership and guidance to members of a given organization or a targeted section of the public. Those who represent a church or other place of Christian worship are typically tasked with preparing and conducting weekly sermons and other services, such as weddings, funerals, baptisms and confirmations. These professionals also commonly interpret the scripture of the Bible, teach religious classes, and offer counsel and care to congressional members in need. Establishing a work-life balance can prove a bit difficult for ministers as they are often called upon to attend congressional social events and share in private family moments outside the church setting, resulting in irregular hours.
Ministry Opportunities in Nonprofit Organizations
The nonprofit sector is another major employer of individuals with ministry training who want to have a positive effect on society beyond the walls of a church. Working for a nonprofit organization could allow you to make the most of your unique abilities and while explore your unique interests. You could perform community outreach and support to such diverse groups as students, prisoners, or survivors of natural disasters in need of spiritual, nutritional, housing, clothing, education or healthcare services.
The Importance of a Degree in Ministry for Career Advancement
Aspiring religious leaders and service providers do not always need a degree to embark on a particular career journey. However, these degrees could open employment doors, boost professional competency, and drive career advancement. A good ministry degree program will not only give you a thorough understanding of theological fundamentals but also help you effectively communicate them to others. Like other college programs, ministry programs also tend to hone analytical thinking skills and increase cultural awareness. Both skills will prove indispensable when you are counseling and caring for a congregation or another group of people in your future job.
Specializations in Ministry Studies
A college degree can also help you specialize in a particular area of ministry that suits your interests and aptitudes. Do you want to help individuals and small groups overcome issues and lead better lives through a combination of psychological, emotional and spiritual counseling? You will want to consider a career in ministry counseling. Do you enjoy scholarly study, critical thinking, religious doctrine and scriptural interpretation? You may want to become a theologist. Do you like working with young people? Viable work in youth ministry abounds, both through churches and nonprofit organizations. Read on for a more comprehensive examination of ministry positions outside of the traditional church setting.
Ministry Jobs Outside the Church
We have already discussed the substantial employment potential in the nonprofit sector for individuals with a ministry degree, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ministry jobs outside the traditional church setting. For example, many nonprofits serve prison populations with ministry services, but corrections systems generally employ in-house religious leaders and counselors as well. Ministers are also common in all branches of the military. Furthermore, healthcare institutions and counseling centers commonly employ ministers and spiritual advisors. Even some larger businesses keep a minister on staff! For dedicated examinations of ministry positions in education and chaplaincy, read on.
Religious Education and Teaching
From preschools to colleges, educational institutions at all levels hire ministers and spiritual counselors in relatively large numbers. Seminaries and other institutions of learning commonly employ skilled and credentialed ministers as theology and religion studies educators as well. There are also ample opportunities for religious educators in the community service and youth ministry fields.
Chaplaincy in Various Settings
The term “chaplain” applies to any qualified minister or ordained clergy member who offers spiritual services, guidance or leadership for a secular organization. As we have already discussed, many nonprofits, governments, and even business organizations employ ministers or spiritual counselors for a range of purposes. Leading employers of chaplains include military branches, community associations, medical centers, schools, prisons and jails.
Preparing for a Ministry Career: Qualities and Skills
According to the independent employment authority Christian Career Center, all Christians possess spiritual gifts, but ministers must learn to recognize their gifts and hone them to apply to the specific ministry career path they want to travel. They must also learn to recognize and address their various weaknesses. Other vital characteristics of aspiring ministers include a strong and exemplary faith, a passion to spread the Gospel, and both multisector transferable skills (such as organization, management, analysis, teaching, counseling, speaking, and writing) and core content skills (such as a mastery of the Bible, evangelism, and Christian doctrine, theology, and thought).
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
If you want to pursue a career in ministry, you are probably already deeply interested in spreading the word of God. To accomplish this, you will need to develop exceptional interpersonal skills (to interact well with others) and exceptional communication skills (to get your message across). But this is only the beginning of the usefulness of these skills. The applications of interpersonal and communication skills in ministry and related fields are vast. After all, your responsibilities in the professional world are likely to extend far beyond straightforward ministry to include any number of administrative, project management and team leadership functions.
Leadership and Organizational Skills
Leaders, religious and otherwise, need more than just strong communication capabilities if they want to effectively serve their followers. From relationship building to conflict management and team member motivation, countless leadership skills are essential to aspiring ministers. Organization is critical, not only for leadership positions but for anyone who must juggle the many demands placed upon employees in the modern workplace. Organizational skills such as prioritization are particularly important for ministers, who must often care for many people in dire need simultaneously.
How Can a Degree in Ministry Shape Your Career Path?
A degree in Christian ministries can give you the skills you need to pursue any number of jobs both within the church and beyond. Christian ministries students at the University of the Cumberlands cover topics ranging from church history and evangelistic ministry to Bible analysis and theological concepts. For more information about our Christian ministries program or any other UC program, click here.