The 3 Best Online Master’s in Missions & Global Ministry Programs

| TBS Staff

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Earning a master's degree in missions is the first step toward the vocation of world evangelism. A degree in missionary studies can equip you with the biblical and theological knowledge you need to understand your faith, along with the skills to communicate across cultures. With your degree, you can take on roles in local churches, educational settings, or parachurch ministries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that social and community managers will see an 18% increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026. Missions majors can expect many potential openings in organizations committed to serving the kingdom, the church, and the world.

Choosing a Program

Learning how to become a missionary involves more than studying theology and biblical knowledge. It also means understanding cultures, geopolitics, languages, religions, communication tactics, and leadership skills. For many would-be missionaries, it requires building an appropriate academic background to become English teachers, entrepreneurs, or international development workers. Students can concentrate in areas like Muslim studies, teaching English as a Foreign Language, justice and development, global leadership, or linguistics, allowing future missionaries to tailor their academic programs to meet their goals.

Often, master's degree in missions programs include core courses drawn from theology, biblical studies, and anthropology. Some degrees make ministry or divinity the core of the program and missions a concentration. An M.Div. with an emphasis in missions can take 90 credits to complete, while a seminary degree in missions may require 60 credits. A liberal arts college or Bible college often offers a mission degree for just 33 credits. A missions program usually requires an internship and a thesis. The internship takes place in an international or cross-cultural setting, and students in some schools can substitute a practical capstone for the thesis.

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Best Online Master's in Missions & Global Ministry Programs

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Online Master's in Missions & Global Ministry Degree Program Ranking Guidelines: We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

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The Best Online Master's in Missions & Global Ministry Degree Programs

Rochester College View School Profile Rochester Hills, MI Rochester College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1956 by the Churches of Christ, Rochester College provides academic programs based on Christian values, inclusion, and scripture-based leadership. Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Michigan, offers an online master's of religious education missional leadership (MREML) built on biblical, theological, and pastoral principles.

Rochester's 36-credit MREML program includes 24 credits of online coursework and 12 credits of onsite work. One week each semester, learners come together on campus or at an external site to interact with peers and instructors in seminars and intensive classroom exercises.

Rochester's online MREML embraces the principle that mission leadership develops from congregational experience alongside foundational coursework. Students remain in their ministry setting while completing 12 hours in theology and history, 12 in biblical text, and 12 in Christian leadership. Instructors in the cohort-based program include missionary professionals from around the world who serve as mentors.

Abilene Christian University View School Profile Abilene, TX Abilene Christian University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, offers undergraduate and graduate programs to learners around the world. ACU, founded in 1906, moved to its current location in 1929 where its dedication to both innovation and Christian ideals remains strong.

ACU's online master of arts degree in global service includes 48 credit hours of coursework. Through classes incorporating principles of theology, sociology, communication, and anthropology, learners develop the critical-thinking and analytical skills needed to serve as Christian leaders in a global society.

Students study global issues, intercultural relations, and innovative service from a Christian perspective in online courses and four one-week residencies. Learners participate in interactive and contextual exercises as they receive mentorship and train for ministerial leadership positions. Students can work with an advisor on a thesis or submit an e-portfolio for degree completion.

Bethany Global University View School Profile Bloomington, MN Bethany Global University is nationally accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

Based in Bloomington, Minnesota, Bethany Global University offers three master's degree programs for learners who want to expand their knowledge of spirituality and Christian leadership in an intercultural context.

Bethany's online master's degrees in missions include thesis and non-thesis tracks. Both degree plans include 36-credit hours. Learners that want to pursue doctoral study or teach in an academic setting should pursue the thesis option.

In Bethany's intercultural ministry studies master's degree, learners study cross-cultural communication, anthropology, and church-planting models and practice. The online master's in intercultural ministry leadership includes coursework in biblical and spiritual foundations of leadership, intercultural studies, and the Bible and theology. The online master's in intercultural ministry education emphasizes effective teaching, training, and curriculum planning alongside coursework on intercultural interaction, theology, and communication.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Missions and Global Ministry Program?

A degree in missionary studies includes courses in theology, biblical studies, anthropology, and ministry practice. Students can choose a degree focused on theology, one that equips them with a skill such as teaching English, or one that concentrates on a specific culture.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Missions and Global Ministry

Sample Courses for an Online Master's Degree in Missions and Global Ministry

  • Cultural Innovation and Change
    Missions, globalization, and development fundamentally change local cultures. How can missionaries work within a local culture to help smooth its adaptations to powerful forces of meta change?
  • Comparative Cultural Leadership
    Contrasting and diverse cultures deploy distinct leadership styles. In this course, students learn how their cultures influence their understanding of leadership, and they explore multiple cultural views of leadership.
  • Understanding Cultures and Worldviews
    This course is a sociological and religious study of the nature of culture and worldview. Students review biblical cultures and worldviews and consider Christianity in light of today's cultures and worldviews.
  • Biblical Theology of Mission
    Students examine biblical texts to uncover a theological framework that supports, defines, and empowers missions. Using scripture as a lens, learners consider historic and modern theories of missions.
  • Leading a Missional Community
    Using a Trinitarian ecclesiology, this course focuses on the practice of leading a spiritually transformed and transformative group that embodies meaningful relationships and operates in the power of the Spirit.
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Online Master's in Missions and Global Ministry Careers

Earning a master's degree in missions can open up positions in government, missions agencies, schools, churches, and research institutions. Missiologists can even serve as intercultural or multicultural coordinators for multinational corporations. Some majors equip students with entrepreneurial skills to start their own business-as-mission enterprises, or to help established agencies innovate in culturally sensitive ways.

  1. Social and Community Service Manager: A degree in missions can equip students for leadership positions in nonprofit agencies or national and international parachurch ministries. These positions typically require skills in multicultural team development, intercultural communication, and large-scale event planning and execution.
    • Median Annual Salary: $64,100
    • Projected Growth Rate: 18%
  2. Mission or Outreach Pastor: Large churches often add a mission or outreach pastor as one of the first staff positions after filling age-related ministry roles. Those with a degree in missions may also serve as full-time senior pastors depending upon the ordination requirements set by their church or denomination.
    • Median Annual Salary: $47,100
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  3. Postsecondary Teacher: A master's degree in missions is required to teach the subject at a Bible college, a liberal arts college, or a seminary. While most schools prefer a doctorate, a master's degree and experience can substitute, and in some institutions, part-time professors can also work in nonclassroom positions, like internship coordinators.
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,000
    • Projected Growth Rate: 15%
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