Biblical and Ministry Studies at Waynesburg University

The goal of the Biblical and Ministry Studies major is to provide lay and ordained leadership for the Church of Jesus Christ in the service of the world. The approach will be academically rigorous, inherently practical, and ecumenical in character.

Students can now prepare for the ministry in a unique way through the Waynesburg University Biblical and Ministry Studies Program. You can choose from four different options including:

  • Children and Youth Ministry
  • Media Ministry
  • Christian Missions
  • Religion and Philosophy

By completing the Biblical and Ministry Studies Program at Waynesburg University, you will learn to critically think and write about the Biblical text, and engage with theory and practice in various areas of ministry. You will have experiential learning opportunities to aid in your understanding of the Bible for spiritual formation, and for the analysis and engagement with pressing global and social concerns. You will be equipped to take gifts that God has given you and tailor them to bring about his kingdom. Majoring in Biblical and Ministry studies will prepare you for ministry in a way that is as unique as you are.

Programs Offered

Children & Youth Ministry Option

Since young people today face unparalleled personal and societal pressures and needs, this program is designed to help you implement the scientific findings of several areas of social studies: child and adolescent development, the psychology of personality, exceptional individuals, adjustment, the psychology of religion, counseling theory, and the sociology of cultures and the family. In the departmental practicum and internship, you will learn to practice ministry to children, teens and their families in a variety of cultural settings through teaching, caring and serving in Jesus’ name. For the Children and Youth Ministry Option, you will need 24 hours in psychology and sociology (child, adolescent, and family studies).

Media Ministry Option

Enter into one of the cutting-edge ministries that recovers the early Church’s ancient and powerful means for communicating the Gospel! Through courses in acting, directing, set design and theater history, this academic program will train you for the proclamation of the Word of the Lord in the dynamic ministry of drama. You will also participate in the University’s drama troupe, The King’s Court, gaining practical experience in liturgical drama in the University Chapel and in area churches. For the Drama Ministry Option, you will need 24 hours in acting, directing and set design, plus participation in The King’s Court.

Christian Missions Option

The central focus of this option is your placement in an international mission field during your university training. But before you go, we will provide you with both data and concepts that inform the effective missionary: world civilization, geography, international economics, politics and international relations, the sociology of cultures and American minorities, as well as language study. The needs of the world beckon committed disciples willing to take the risks to witness to God’s love in the international arena. If this description meets your passion, then we can help you find your vocation. For the International Mission Option, you will need 54 hours in international cultures, languages and social studies.

Religion and Philosophy Option

Our graduates say that if you intend to prepare for ordained ministry in denominations that require seminary training, you will receive superior preparation when you complete this academic program. Recent Waynesburg grads have attended Ashland Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Methodist School of Theology in Ohio, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and United Theological Seminary, (Dayton, OH). They now serve Christ in a variety of denominational settings. For the Religion and Philosophy Option, you will need 24 hours in philosophy, history, and social sciences.

Academic Curriculum

BMS 105. Introduction to the Old Testament      3 credits

This course introduces students to the Old Testament as history, literature, and sacred story. An introduction to each book of the canon and Apocrypha/deuterocanon will be given in the course.

BMS 106. Introduction to the New Testament     3 credits

This course introduces students to the New Testament as history, literature, and sacred story. An introduction to each book of the canon will be given in the course.

BMS 201. Historical Theology     3 credits

Students will trace the historical development of Christian dogma, rooted in the writing of the Early Church "Fathers"; Medieval and Scholastic divines; Reformation thinkers, Counter-Reformation theologians, and Radical Performers; and Recent Western Theological Movements (Liberal Protestantism, Neo-Orthodoxy, Political Theology, Modern and Post-modern influences). Prerequisites: BMS 105 and 106, or by permission of the department chair. Fall

BMS 202. Constructive Theology     3 credits

Students will construct statements of faith (credos) as they contrast the main doctrines of different historically Christian traditions: Trinity, Creation/Fall/Providence, Christology, Pneumatology, Christian Theological Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Eschatology/Consummation, General and Special Revelation. Prerequisite: BMS 201.Spring

BMS 205. Hebrew Prophets     3 credits

This course will survey the background, context, and issues relevant to each of the books of the Old Testament prophetic literature. Students will research the primary resources and explore various issues of biblical scholarship within the limits of the English Bible. Prerequisite: BMS 105 or 106. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 206. The Historical Jesus     3 credits

The course will provide students an opportunity to investigate original source material on the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth. Students will also evaluate current scholarly works that debate the reliability of the New Testament era documents, apply various methods for determining the historicity of the figure of Jesus, and posit an identity for the historical Jesus that is located in the first century Greco-Roman-Jewish matrix. Prerequisite: BMS 105 or 106. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 209. Philosophy of Religion (Cross-listed as PHL 209)     3 credits

A philosophical reflection on religious experience and conceptions of the divine. Topics to be discussed include: the existence of God, faith and reason, religious language and symbolism, and the religious situation in our time. Reading from both classical and contemporary authors. ((Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 215. Science and Faith (Cross-listed as PHL 215)     3 credits

This course will consider many of the important issues in the relation of science to faith. The central issue will be the implications of Darwinian evolution for faith but will also consider some of the wider implications for faith from this touchstone. For example: Are science and faith compatible? If God is God then why is there such apparent waste and cruelty in nature? Students will develop a coherent theology of nature in response to Darwin's challenge. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 225. The Ministry and Literature of Paul     3 credits

In the context of the "close reading" of the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline corpus of letters, students will master the content of the Biblical materials, formulate a timeline for the life and ministry of the "Apostle to the Gentiles," investigate various theories of "the historical Paul," exegete texts to identify key themes in Pauline theology, integrate course content with their academic fields of study and relate the letters of Paul to issues of personal identity and contemporary societal issues. Prerequisite: BMS 105 or 106. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 306. World Religions     3 credits

By means of readings, films, field trips, group discussions, lectures, and expressive and research papers, the course introduces students to the experiential phenomena of selected major world religions. A typical selection is Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Prerequisite: BMS 105 or 106. (Spring of odd numbered years)

BMS 307. Youth Ministry     3 credits

A study of biblical principles in establishing and maintaining a ministry to adolescents. Emphasis is placed upon a system of philosophy and general principles for adolescent ministry. Special attention is given to developing a youth ministry mission statement, objectives, and strategy. (Fall of odd numbered years)

BMS 317. Psychology of Religion (Cross-listed as PSY 317)     3 credits

This course is designed to help the student understand the ways in which individual and social psychology and the process of spiritual growth influence one another. The student will understand how people develop spiritually, and how psychology can help to encourage this growth. Both spiritual and psychological authors are included in the reading. This course is intended to encourage individual thought and to aid in the students’ struggle to maintain faith while learning this science. Prerequisite: PSY 105. (Spring of even numbered years)

BMS 319. Religion in America (Cross-listed as SOC 319)     3 credits

The course will examine the context of religion both in concept and in its practical sequences for individuals and public institutions within American society. Material will emphasize the role or effect of religion upon American life and culture and the impact of the social environment upon various American religious traditions. Prerequisite: BMS 105 or 106. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 325. Contemporary Issues in Missiology     3 credits

Students will engage in theological reflection on the mission of the church, and learn about various historical and contemporary mission strategies. Students will identify and articulate their responses to contemporary issues faced by Christian missionaries in cross-cultural contexts, such as emerging postmodern perspectives, cultural and religious pluralism, global poverty and economic disparities, gender issues, and balancing evangelism with socio-economic development. Practical realities of missionary life will be explored through case studies. Prerequisite: BMS 105 or 106 or permission of the department chair. (Spring of even numbered years)

BMS 366. Church Leadership Practicum     3 credits

In this course, students will engage in a minimum of 50 clock hours of church or campus-related ministry. Students may be placed in various churches or para-church organizations in the region under careful on-site supervision. Students may also be placed in leadership positions in University Campus Ministries under the supervision of the Chaplain of the University. In the process of professional skill development in the performance of ministry, students will integrate critical reading and academic analysis in the various areas of ministry defined by the BMS major programs: pastoral ministry, children and youth, drama, international missions, media and music. To enroll in this course, students must have junior standing in one of the BMS options or permission of the department chair. (Spring of even numbered years)

BMS 395. Special Topics     3 credits

An in-depth investigation of a current topic in religion, such as the thought of a religious leader, the study of a theological or religious issue, or a religious movement. A special topics course in BMS may also include the study of a biblical language or topic or period in church history of Christian theology. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit)

BMS 465. Internship     6 credits

Students will engage in an exceptional experiential learning experience as a paraprofessional in the ministry of the church. Written requirements for these internships include a final paper where students must engage in reflective self-assessment and relate the experience to previous classroom learning/theory in the particular ministry studies option. All students in this course will keep a daily reflective journal upon which mid-term and final grades will be based. In addition, all students who complete this course will make public oral presentations of their learning and findings. An additional learning outcome specific to this course is that students will develop a personal mission statement that articulates application of a worldview consistent with the many expressions of historic Christianity. Students will invest 35 clock hours per academic credit, for a total of 210 clock hours during the semester in which they are enrolled. To enroll in this course, students must have senior standing in one of the BMS options or the permission of the department chair.

BMS 475. Advanced Faith and Learning Integration     3 credits

In the spirit of the mission of Waynesburg University, this course intends to provide junior and senior level students with an unparalleled opportunity to integrate the Bible materials and its history of interpretation to the academic disciplines. Ordinarily, students would relate their academic majors to the Biblical tradition in the research and composition of a major, publish-ready paper. Minimum requirements will be at least one meeting per week between the student and the supervisory professor. The course is limited to students who have completed at least three credits in Biblical and Ministry Studies and who have accumulated at least a 3.0 grade point average. Interested students must take initiative to seek out instruction for the course prior to the pre-registration period from both their academic advisors and the Chair of the Biblical and Ministry Studies major program. The faculty advisors will ordinarily be the instructors of record and will provide the on-going supervision of the course. Ordinarily, both the faculty advisors of the students and the Chair of the Biblical Studies and Ministry Studies major program will read the paper. An average of the grades determined by these members of the faculty will be recorded in the students' transcripts. Upon completion of the project, the faculty member and student will arrange an oral presentation of the results to the campus community. When BMS majors take the course, an academic advisor will supervise the course and grade the paper. This course will not substitute for senior capstone/research courses required in the majors. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing; three credits in BMS courses; 3.0 minimum grade point average. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 195, 295, 395, 495. Special Topics     3 credits

BMS 497. Independent Study     3 credits

A carefully supervised study of topics and issues in BMS beyond the other course offerings. Normally, the independent study would be taken by only those students who have previously accumulated at least six credits in BMS. Students who enroll in the course must have at least a 3.00 grade point average. Interested students must take initiative to seek out instruction for the course prior to the pre-registration period. No more than six credits may be accumulated toward the BMS minor. Minimum requirements will be at least one meeting per week between the student and the supervisory professor. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BMS 499. Portfolio Review     1 credit

Under supervision of an appropriate faculty member, the student will create a portfolio of work accomplished within one’s chosen option. This portfolio will be reviewed and evaluated. Required of all BMS majors in the second semester of the senior year. Spring

Biblical and Ministry Studies

Joshua Sumpter

Instructor of Biblical Ministry Studies - Assistant Chaplain


Biblical and Ministry Studies
Karen Younger

Chairperson for the Humanities Department - Assistant Professor of History


Biblical and Ministry Studies History Humanities
James Tinnemeyer

Vice President for Student Services - Dean of Students - University Chaplain - Assistant Professor


Biblical and Ministry Studies Executive Student Services


Learn more about Campus Ministry!

One of the most important things I received during my time in the Biblical & Ministry Studies department was the opportunity to build relationships with my professors. Throughout the program, I learned from academics and pastors who brought their personal faith and professional experience into the classroom every day. I always felt welcome in their classrooms and offices, and never hesitated to speak with them outside of our weekly class time. I was fortunate to partake in academic and spiritual mentorship, internship opportunities, and even the opportunity to study with my professors in another country. The relationships I built with professors were one of the most formative things about my undergraduate education at Waynesburg University.
Matt McDermott, Class of 2017