MB Seminary is now offering a master’s degree in Transformational Leadership. This is the first MA offered fully through the MB Seminary, although the course credits can be transferred to many of their partner schools.
The Transformational Leadership program started as a four-class certificate but is quickly growing and adapting to work for a number of different educational pathways.
“We were hearing from students, ‘this is great, can we do more?’” MB Seminary’s Academic Dean, Randy Wollf said. “Students can now do three certificates and an additional three courses and boom! They have a master’s degree.”
The courses can be taken to work toward an MA, but the courses can also be used as undergraduate credit or for continuing education credit. It is even encouraged for those who are not students of MB Seminary to take the course for training and self-advancement in their own ministry.
“When we talk accessibility we’re not just speaking location or cost, we want to serve anybody in the church, at any capacity, who needs theological training and leadership development,” shared MB Seminary President, Mark Wessner.
The program relies on partnerships with teaching churches. A local church hosts four courses throughout the year that will give you one certificate, each course being taught over a weekend. Three certificates and a few extra credits and you have yourself a master’s degree, without having to sacrifice work and ministry time.
“It’s a really manageable way for students to chip away at a master’s degree,” said Wollf.
All of the courses are taught from a Mennonite Brethren perspective, and MB Seminary has worked closely with local church leaders to make sure the courses are highly contextualized.
“That’s one of the strengths of this model,” said Wessner. “The pastors and leaders of that [teaching church] know exactly how the content plays out in their local context. They know the issues, the topics, the culture.”
One of the topics that came up during their conversations with local leaders was the need to add more multicultural elements to the courses. Wollf said some of the textbooks were even changed to include books recommended by their pastoral liaisons.
“When we talk accessibility we’re not just speaking location or cost, we want to serve anybody in the church, at any capacity, who needs theological training and leadership development.”
“With the assignments, we encourage students to contextualize what they are learning in the course to their church where they are learning or working,” said Wollf.
Currently there are teaching churches set up in B.C., with plans in place to introduce another teaching church in Calgary very soon. Wollf says the hope is to continue building partnerships and expanding local options across all of Canada.
There is an online option for students living outside of B.C. to complete the first certificate and the online availability will grow.
“It’s been exciting for us as we’re trying to create as many options for students as possible,” said Wollf. “We want to support their development as people and as leaders. The online option will give us an opportunity to cover all of Canada and even internationally.”
Wessner explains that online access to the program is a priority but they’ve had to be intentional to maintain the community values of the school.
“We want to stay true to the community-based teaching. So even with the online option, it’s very much mentor based,” explained Wessner. “The value of community is significant. So we’re trying to intentionally build community and have those [online] students still form some sort of cohort they follow throughout the certificate.”
“We want to make something that works for you so god continues to work in and through you and your church.”
There is a path for your educational goals within this program. If you are interested in enrolling in any of these courses, whether it be to work toward an MA or simply for personal growth, you can find more information on the MB Seminary website.
“We are so excited to be able to tangibly come alongside the church and serve. Not just talk about it but to actually come to churches and say what’s God doing in your context?” said Wessner. “We want to make something that works for you so God continues to work in and through you and your church.”