The Master of Arts in Global Service is the Graduate School of Theology’s first online degree program.
The graduate program made its debut last fall. Though the degree is designed to be completed in three years, students looking to be full-time can complete it in two years.
Dr. Chris Flanders, assistant professor of Missions and advisor for the M.A. in Missions, is especially passionate about the M.A. in Global Service degree.
“When I came to ACU in 2005, my hope was to develop a degree like this,” Flanders said.
Flanders had personal experience in the mission field before coming to ACU.
“Living overseas in Thailand for 11 years, I came up to the limits of my training,” Flanders said. “Many missionaries experience this; you need new resources.”
Students enrolled in the program take 48 hours of classes in three sections: Core, Witness and Mission. The online courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters.
Mindi Thompson is the director of Distance Education for the Graduate School of Theology. She is also the academic advisor for the Global Service degree.
“Half of the degree is the traditional, theological education and the other half is missional and global with anthropology and sociology,” Thompson said.
The M.A. in Global Services degree is targeted to people already involved in ministry, looking to expand their resources in ministry or people interested in working outside the traditional mission field.
“This is truly for anyone who wants to grow in the way they serve God,” Flanders said. “The degree is really going to equip people to gain intercultural competence.”
The degree also requires three two-week residency sessions in the summer. Two residencies occur at ACU. The middle residency session is at an international location.
“It is academic at the international locations, but we set aside time to look at the local culture and what those people need,” Thompson said. “I really see that as the heart and soul of the degree.”
International residencies take place in Accra, Ghana or Zagreb, Croatia.
“This program gives students the opportunity to connect to other parts of the world,” Flanders said. “We want to increase and hone our students’ passions.”