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The 5 Paths to a Career in Ministry

Many people think a ministry degree is only for students who want to work as pastors after graduation. However, studying Christian ministry can help you prepare for a variety of different jobs. If you feel a calling to a career in ministry, there are plenty of different career paths that will allow you to put your faith into action. Gain further insight into five of the most common careers for ministry program graduates. 

1. Mission Work

If you enjoy learning about other cultures and doing community-based work, you may be interested in working as a missionary. Missionaries live and work in the communities they serve, often in other countries, and are tasked with sharing their faith, planting new churches, and helping to uplift the communities they are placed in. 

As a missionary, you may need to learn a new language, and you will certainly learn about cultural traditions that are different from your own. Many missions are organized and overseen by the governing body of a specific Christian denomination. Missions may be short-term projects, such as disaster relief work, or long-term assignments, such as building a new church in a foreign country.

2. Worship Leader

Individuals who are passionate about using the arts to communicate their faith may find their purpose in a career as a worship leader. Worship leaders use music, visual arts, and technology to plan and execute church services. They may be in charge of leading or overseeing musical groups, such as choirs or worship bands. 

Students who study worship arts typically take courses in theology, discipleship, and biblical interpretation. They may specialize in music theory and performance, video production, or graphic design, depending on their future career goals. Some worship leaders pursue ordination, and others serve as lay leaders in their faith tradition.

3. Youth Ministry

Do you like working with children or teens? If you are interested in helping young people learn about the Bible and explore challenging questions, serving as a youth minister might be your calling. Youth ministry professionals work in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Christian education: Some youth ministers oversee religious education programming at a church, such as Sunday school, youth groups, pre-confirmation classes, and service projects.
  • Camps and retreats: Many youth ministers work at Christian camps and retreat centers to create and facilitate engaging programs for young people.
  • College ministries: Youth ministers may be placed on college campuses in chaplaincy roles, leading worship services, or organizing bible study groups.


4. Faith-Based Nonprofit Work

Today, there are many nonprofit organizations and charities that were founded by religious groups. These organizations need passionate, service-minded leaders that can advance their efforts and expand their reach. Individuals who want to work for mission-driven organizations can find nonprofits dedicated to the following:

  • International development
  • Community development
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Disaster relief
  • Health and human services

These organizations need frontline workers who can manage their programs, as well as back-office staff, such as fundraisers who can communicate effectively with donors and tell the organization’s story.

5. Pastoral Leadership

Of course, many people study Christian ministry because they feel called to lead a congregation as a pastor. In addition to leading weekly church services, pastors may be tasked with supervising staff, providing counseling, and officiating weddings and funerals. Small churches often have only one minister on staff, while larger churches may have a lead pastor and one or more associate pastors. The prerequisites to be ordained as a minister vary by denomination, but many require further study in seminary or divinity school.

Prepare for Your Career with a Ministry Degree from MVNU

If you’re looking for the right educational foundation to prepare you for a career in ministry, consider MVNU. At MVNU, you can pursue an online ministry degree or earn your degree in person at our campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry can tailor their program of study with one of the following concentrations: 

For students wishing to pursue advanced studies in ministry, MVNU also offers an online Master of Ministry degree program.

MVNU’s online degree programs are structured with the needs of working adults in mind. Students in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at MVNU pay tuition on a course-by-course basis, rather than paying a flat rate for a full semester. Best of all, our tuition guarantee ensures that your tuition rate stays the same throughout your education, as long as you’re consistently enrolled. 

To learn more about ministry degree programs at MVNU, contact us today.

Theology & Online Ministry Programs

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