For students who hear a clear call and are following a specific path to practical ministry, Bethany Theological Seminary has launched a new master’s degree program that links spiritual formation with a focus on social change.
The Master of Arts in Spiritual and Social Transformation (MASST) degree program launches in the fall of 2021 and will significantly broaden the seminary’s offerings to students who want to focus and specialize their ministries. The program is designed to serve individuals pursuing careers in non-profit leadership, social services, or spiritual direction. This new program is uniquely positioned to link Bethany’s Brethren heritage to the interests and needs of current students.
According to Academic Dean Steve Schweitzer, MASST is a natural outgrowth of Bethany’s mission and draws on the strengths of the seminary’s stellar faculty. The program is also a thoughtful response to trends across theological education in the U.S., and it is only the second master’s program in the United States to focus on spiritual and social transformation in this combination and integrative way.
“In recent years, seminaries are conferring more Master of Arts than Master of Divinity degrees,” notes Schweitzer. “It makes sense for us to continue to expand our offerings, and we want to start with what we know we can do well.”
The Church of Brethren has, of course, always connected spiritual formation with a passion for social transformation. The new MASST degree provides students with options to deepen their faith and enrich their present and future ministries. Students will be able to take most of the required courses at a distance from campus and benefit from the same generous financial aid that is available to students in all Bethany programs. MASST will appeal to students who wish to pursue advanced degrees while continuing to work in their own communities.
This is the latest addition to Bethany’s robust offerings, which include the Master of Arts in Theopoetics and Writing, six certificate programs, as well as the updated Master of Divinity and Master of Arts programs. These expanded offerings will allow Bethany to build on its recent positive enrollment trends and appeal to new categories of students.
“This new MASST program allows students another educational option to pursue their vocational call through unique courses and practical experiences. We’ve designed the MASST to be flexible and focused in light of student interests and needs,” Schweitzer says.
Students in the MASST program can choose from five “Paths” or concentrations of courses, including Non-Profit Leadership (in partnership with Eastern Mennonite University) and two programs in Spiritual Practices and Direction (in association with Oasis Ministries). Other focus areas are History as Argument and Meditation and Public Theology and Witness. All concentrations will benefit from Bethany’s existing strengths, and students will learn alongside those who are seeking certificates, other M.A. degrees, and the M.Div.
“For anyone who is ready to say, ‘this is my call and this is my path,’ the MASST degree is a way to name and claim your ministry and your career,” says Schweitzer.
As is true for all Bethany degree programs, MASST students will have access to generous financial aid, including the Pillars and Pathways Residential Scholarship, which allows students to earn a graduate degree without taking on additional student or commercial debt.
Students interested in enrolling in the MASST program next fall may apply for admission until May 15, 2021.
Read more about MASST here.