General Curriculum Areas for Ministerial Preparation. Though curriculum is often thought of only as academic programs and course content the concept is much larger. The character of the instructor, the relationship of the students and instructor, the environment, and students’ past experiences join with the course content to create the full curriculum. Nevertheless, a curriculum for ministerial preparation will include a minimal set of courses that provide educational foundations for ministry. Cultural differences and a variety of resources will require differing details in curriculum structures. However, all programs for providing educational foundations for the ordained ministry that seek approval by Global Clergy Development should give careful attention to content, competency, character, and context. The purpose of a validated course of study is to contain courses that include all four elements in varying degrees and that will help ministers fulfill the mission statement of the Church of the Nazarene as agreed upon by the Board of General Superintendents as follows:
“The mission of the Church of the Nazarene is to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”
“The primary objective of the Church of the Nazarene is to advance God’s Kingdom by the preservation and propagation of Christian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures.”
“The critical objectives of the Church of the Nazarene are ‘holy Christian fellowship, the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of believers, their upbuilding in holiness, and the simplicity and spiritual power manifest in the primitive New Testament Church, together with the preaching of the gospel to every creature’” (19).
A validated course of study is described in the following categories:
- Content—Knowledge of the content of the Old and New Testaments, the theology of the Christian faith, and the history and mission of the Church is essential for ministry. Knowledge of how to interpret Scripture, the doctrine of holiness and our Wesleyan distinctives, and the history and polity of the Church of the Nazarene must be included in these courses.
- Competency—Skills in oral and written communication; management and leadership; finance; and analytical thinking are also essential for ministry. In addition to general education in these areas courses providing skills in preaching, pastoral care and counseling, biblical exegesis, worship, effective evangelism, biblical stewardship of life resources, Christian education and Church administration must be included. Graduation from a validated course of study requires the partnering of the educational provider and a local church to direct students in ministerial practices and competency development.
- Character—Personal growth in character, ethics, spirituality, and personal and family relationship is vital for the ministry. Courses addressing the areas of Christian ethics, spiritual formation, human development, the person of the minister, and marriage and family dynamics must be included.
- Context—The minister must understand both the historical and contemporary context and interpret the worldview and social environment of the culture where the Church witnesses. Courses that address the concerns of anthropology and sociology, cross-cultural communication, missions, and social studies must be included.