Students in this program aspire to fulfill their Christian vocations to love God and serve neighbor through public ministries of advocacy, organizing, and justice-making in collaboration with other communities of faith and conscience. In particular, this program equips laity serving in community, social, or justice-oriented organizations who seek to enhance their public work by engaging with theological education and formation.
"I came from a background of political science and thinking about power and justice from a more theoretical perspective. What I really appreciate about this program is that it merges the theoretical approaches to justice with theological approaches to justice."
Students in the MA in Public Ministry degree take a combination of foundation courses, public ministry courses, and open elective courses. With their concentration electives, students can choose a concentration track inEcological Regeneration, Racial Justice, or Child Advocacy. A student may also propose a concentration, the approval of which depends on relevant course availability. Open electives can be used for additional courses in a concentration area, to complete ordination requirements for deacons in The United Methodist Church, or to meet a combination of objectives.
Core Values, Aims, and Approaches
Radical: The ethos of the degree program is shaped by radical understandings of the Gospel and thus radical expressions of the Christian faith and life.
Christian:The MAPM degree engages a broad range of theoretical traditions and participates widely in ecumenical, interfaith, and secular conversations and movements from the perspective of deeply Christian theological, spiritual, and ministerial commitments.
Systemic: The degree curriculum promotes systemic thinking about and coalitional engagement with the many urgent social, political, economic, cultural, and ecological crises we face, discouraging attempts at reductionism by connecting but not collapsing analyses of problems and proposals for transformational solutions.
Movemental: The MAPM degree fosters critical analysis, creative imagination, practical experimentation, networking, organizing, and power-wielding as a participation with diverse communities of faith and goodwill in the upbuilding of a more egalitarian, life-sustaining, and just society, both during coursework and after graduation through ongoing collaboration with degree alumni.
Contextual: Our learning environments draw upon the needs and resources of the social locations from which our students come, engage the contexts within which students are learning, and aim for the flourishing of the people and places toward which students will be serving in public ministry.
Congruous: We aspire to model in classroom settings, degree administration, social-spiritual formation, and public engagement the kind of values and practices we hope our graduates will embody and promote in and through their public ministries.
Experimental: The MAPM degree fosters experimental opportunities for integrative, community-involved, and interdisciplinary teaching, learning, research, and action.
Discern Your Call and Hone Your Gifts in Field Education
Without exception, Garrett-Evangelical graduates point to their field education experience as key to their seminary education. As a MAPM student, you will complete one year of field education where you will further hone your skills, reflect on your vocational identity, and gain practical experience in advocacy and organizing. Learn more about our field education program at Garrett.edu/FieldEd.
Renowned Faculty Dedicated to the Practice of Ministry
Our diverse and renown faculty bring a wealth of expertise and experience not only to Garrett-Evangelical, but to the church and our global community. They are members and leaders in local, national, and global organizations, denominations, and societies. They have published hundreds of books and articles, and several hold places of international recognition and preeminence in their fields. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find many of them preaching from the pulpit, teaching Sunday School, organizing for the common good, and more.
Our core faculty members teaching the MAPM concentrations courses include:
Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart is Associate Professor of Theology and Ecology and Director of the Master of Arts in Public Ministry program at Garrett-Evangelical. He earned his BA in Religion from St. Olaf College, where he graduated magna cum laude, and his MDiv from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University and PhD from the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Eberhart recently published Rooted and Grounded in Love: Holy Communion for the Whole Creation (Wipf and Stock, 2017). He teaches courses in theology and ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, with a particular focus on the intersections of Christian doctrine, ecology, and political economy. Dr. Eberhart is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church and has served on various denominational boards and committees as well as many community based organizations.
Dr. Brian Bantum is the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical. He has published numerous articles and chapters in academic journals and popular magazines. His first book, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity (Baylor University Press, 2010) explored how black, mixed-race identity illumines how race shapes us and re-imagines Christian discipleship through Christ's body as both human and divine, a union of flesh and divinity that remakes the lives of disciples into a new people, a holy "mixture" of flesh and Spirit. Dr. Bantum’s second book, The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World (Fortress Press, 2016) offers the church ways of re-imagining Christian claims regarding humanity, human fallenness, and Christ's work in light of modern race and racism.
Rev. Dr. Virginia Leeis Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies at Garrett-Evangelical and has served in various capacities at numerous churches as a deacon in full connection in the Virginia Annual Conference. Her academic accolades include receiving the Diaconal Advance Graduate Award and the Rosalie Bentzinger Graduate Award, both of which are given by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. Additionally, Dr. Lee has published articles in both academic and lay journals and has been an active participant in educational and ministerial forums and conferences.
Affording Your Education
One Student. One Scholarship.
At Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, every master’s degree student receives a scholarship. Scholarships are available for full-time and part-time students and are designed with an eye toward your passion and our mission. Scholarships range from 25% of tuition up to 100% of tuition with stipends and each year we award over $2.5 million in scholarship aid. To learn more about all of our scholarship opportunities, please visit Garrett.edu/FinancialAid.
The priority application deadline for scholarship consideration is February 1st of each year. There is no separate scholarship application.
The Master of Arts in Public Ministry is a 56-hour degree program and is most often completed in two years for students enrolled full time.
Grab your lunch and join us for our Admissions Fall "Lunch & Learn" sessions! These hour-long virtual chats will give you the opportunity to learn more about being at student at Garrett and ask questions.
Dr. Timothy Eberhart, Director of the Master of Arts in Public Ministry Program
"We have designed this program to educate faith leaders for wise, courageous, and transformative public ministries in service to God's loving justice for all peoples and creation."
Jia Johnson, Master of Arts in Public Ministry Graduate (G-ETS 2020)
“Seminary challenged me to further develop my understanding of the complexities of injustice and what it truly means to be a servant of solidarity in one's community. In many ways, the MAPM program was an analogous laboratory where researching, theorizing and theologizing expanded my theological imagination to design justice-making programs that I would go on to implement as a servant committed to solidarity-building with those who have been impacted by hyper-incarceration.”
Graduates of this program will be able to:
Recognize and explain the dominant economic, political, ecological, social, and cultural ideologies, institutions, and dynamics shaping public life today.
Identify and interpret the intersections between particular manifestations of injustice related to racism, economic exploitation, hetero-sexism, ecological degradation, and related forms of systemic inequity and harm.
Articulate the implications of one’s particular social identity and location, as well as one’s unique personal and spiritual temperaments, in preparing for a vocation in public ministry.
Examine and apply biblical, historical, theological, ecclesial, and spiritual traditions for the sake of realizing justice in solidarity with the poor, exploited, and oppressed.
Investigate an orienting matter of public concern with particular depth and complexity – e.g. climate refugees, mass incarceration, underfunded schools - utilizing a range of theoretical, theological, and practical resources from one’s degree concentration.
Design a proposed model of public ministry based upon a critical assessment of diverse methods for social change – e.g. direct action, community organizing, policy advocacy, non-profit leadership.
Communicate a compelling narrative of one’s vision for public ministry to diverse constituents and present a convincing career preparedness portfolio to potential employers.
While we honor the traditional methods of instruction and rich heritage of academia, we also embrace non-traditional methods such as online learning and hybrid classes. The maximum number of courses which may be taken in an online format is 1/2 of the degree. Students receiving advanced standing or transfer can take no more than 1/2 of remaining credits toward the degree in an online format. Students seeking ordination should check with the appropriate church authorities to see if there are more specific guidelines that must be met.
A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
An undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
Proficiency in the English language
Detailed information for the application requirements and process can be found here.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to determine, in its sole judgment, whether an applicant is a suitable candidate for a specific degree program or for the vocation that the program represents. International student applications are due by March 1st.
The priority application deadline for scholarship consideration is February 1st.