M.A.C.P. StudentAre you seeking resources for training and supporting your church staff? 

The M.A.C.P. degree program and its current focus on those “Serving Congregations” develops effective, theologically articulate colleagues to extend the mission and ministry of your congregation.

With the development of this degree program, Duke Divinity School seeks to partner with you and your congregation in the development of a skilled, faithful staff and for the sake of nurturing vital congregations.

The M.A.C.P. offers formation that can be perfect for lay ministers new to your staff, or to equip those who have professional expertise in other fields with the sacred teaching, spiritual leadership, and pastoral presence necessary to navigate the complex culture of the local church.

Whom We Serve

Goodson Chapel stained glassThe M.A.C.P. serves those in traditional and non-traditional areas of congregational ministry. Offering courses that address general congregational identity and practices, as well as specific forms of congregational program and outreach ministries, the M.A.C.P. can serve the following areas of ministry:

  • Children’s Ministry
  • Adult Discipleship Formation
  • Youth Ministry
  • Church Administration/Business Management
  • Pastoral/Congregational Care
  • Congregational Communication/Media Development
  • Mission and Evangelism
  • New Congregational Development
  • Community Organizing
What We Teach

M.A.C.P. students can expect to be formed in the skills and practices of faithful and effective ministry in the congregational setting.  This formation is expressed in the core congregational practices of sacred teaching, spiritual leadership, and pastoral presence.

Sacred Teaching

  • How to create, support, and sustain congregational systems that form disciples
  • How to facilitate groups of all ages and sizes
  • How to articulate the Biblical and Christian theological tradition for the sake of forming disciples

Spiritual Leadership

  • How to create, coordinate, resource, and support program
  • How to be a self-starter and a team player
  • How to recruit, train, resource, and support ministry volunteers

Pastoral Presence

  • How to offer pastoral care in the congregation, home, and workplace
  • How to handle conflict
  • How to draw from Scripture and the practices of prayer in the ministry of care

The Wesleyan/Methodist Tradition
We know that the lay professionals you hire aren’t always United Methodists. With Duke Divinity School’s extensive United Methodist faculty, the M.A.C.P. will offer solid instruction in the theology, history, and ministry of the Wesleyan tradition. In fact, United Methodist students may use the degree to meet the course requirements for Youth Ministry Certification and the majority of the Basic Graduate Theological Studies requirements for ordination as deacons.

Learning in Place

New Hope ChurchIn our program, students remain in the congregation. Our hope is to develop partnerships with senior pastors and congregational leaders like you. Together, we want to create a team that supports not only the formation of the student but also the flourishing of their ministry. We anticipate coursework that integrates theology and practice in ways that require the student to reflect upon and develop new ministries in your congregation. We hope that you can share in the supervision and reflection that deepens this crucial learning. Our goal is a theological education that serves the needs of the student as well as the mission of the local church, developing and supporting vital congregations.

Sharing the Cost

Goodson Chapel imageSenior pastors often cite a lack of theological depth and a high rate of employee turnover as key problems when employing lay ministry professionals in the congregation. These lay ministers face the high cost of formal theological education and concerns for job security in the church. The Master of Arts in Christian Practice (M.A.C.P.) Tuition Covenant Agreement is meant to address each of these issues, creating a win-win situation for churches and their lay ministers.

It works like this: the church pays most or all of the expenses for its employee to pursue the M.A.C.P. degree at Duke Divinity School. In return, the employee serves for an agreed period of time (such as the two years of study plus three additional years in full-time ministry). At the end of each year of service, the church formally forgives the corresponding portion of the debt. The church gets a better educated and more dedicated employee and a stronger and more consistent ministry. The employee gains expertise, professional identity, and a measure of job security.

M.A.C.P. Tuition Covenant Introduction and Sample Agreement (pdf)