A bachelor’s degree in ministry prepares graduates to serve their community inside and outside church walls, in both secular and spiritual fields. Alongside a command of biblical teaching and Christian theology, ministry requires leadership, management, and teaching skills. A degree in ministry online also provides a foundation for careers such as church administrators, and growing fields like social work and counseling. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that social and community manager positions will increase by 16% by 2024.
What are the Best Online Bachelor's in Ministry Programs?
The Master's College and Seminary Santa Clarita, CA
ADMISSIONS RATE 95%
GRADUATION RATE 69%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 13%
RETENTION RATE 85%
DEFAULT RATE 3%
The Master’s University’s online bachelor's degree in ministry explores God’s work in the world through the church. Through the 14-course, 42-semester unit bachelor of arts in Christian ministries, students learn about Biblical philosophy as it relates to hands-on church work at the local level. Course subjects include church history, church administration, and contemporary issues in church ministry. Students must earn at least 122 semester units to graduate. Students take 65 units of core courses and 15 units of free electives.
Applicants should submit high school transcripts, GED scores, or California High School Proficiency examination scores. A personal testimonial, writing samples, and a pastor recommendation letter are also required. The university is located in Santa Clarita, California. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of state residency.
Toccoa Falls College Toccoa Falls, GA
ADMISSIONS RATE 45%
GRADUATION RATE 47%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 31%
RETENTION RATE 66%
DEFAULT RATE 6%
Toccoa Falls College offers two degrees in ministry online, the bachelor of science in ministry leadership and the bachelor of science in youth ministries. Both programs consist of 126 credit hours that cover the same general, Bible, theology, and leadership courses. The ministry leadership major explores leadership and management techniques and strategies from a Biblical and secular organizational point of view. The youth ministries major focuses on youth education, development, and culture.
Prospective students should complete an application and submit ACT, SAT, or CLT scores. Applicants are also required to provide a personal testimonial. A personal interview may be required to complete the application process. All online students pay the same tuition rate, irrespective of state residency. The college is located in Toccoa Falls, Georgia.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX
ADMISSIONS RATE 28%
GRADUATION RATE 41%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 38%
RETENTION RATE 74%
DEFAULT RATE 13%
SAGU offers four online ministry degrees for students aged 22 and older, the bachelor of arts in children and family ministries, the bachelor of applied arts and sciences in general ministries, the bachelor of arts in church leadership – ministry, and the bachelor of arts in youth and student ministries. The programs range between 120 and 126 credits. Each includes 57 credits of general education courses and 12 credits of electives.
Applicants should have a minimum high school or college GPA of 2.0 and must provide official transcripts along with their application forms. SAGU is located in Texas. In-state and out-of-state online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate.
Grace Bible College Wyoming, MI
ADMISSIONS RATE 81%
GRADUATION RATE 60%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 53%
RETENTION RATE 56%
DEFAULT RATE 3%
Grace Bible College's bachelor of science in leadership and ministry is a 60-credit degree completion program for students who have earned an associate degree. The ministry core consists of 48 credits that explore the life of Christ, teamwork skills, research, personal and social ethics, pastoral care, Biblical counseling, and more. The curriculum also includes hands-on training in the form of a final capstone course. Students move through the accelerated program in a 10 to 16-person cohort. The program takes two years to complete.
Applicants to the online bachelor's degree in ministry should complete the free online application and submit official transcripts from prior institutions of higher learning. A ministry reference is also required. The college is located in Wyoming, Michigan. In-state and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rate. Military students receive a discounted tuition.
Southwestern College Winfield, KS
ADMISSIONS RATE 91%
GRADUATION RATE 44%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 57%
RETENTION RATE 65%
DEFAULT RATE 8%
Southwestern College’s online bachelor’s degree for ministry is designed for students who have completed at least six college credits and have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0. The bachelor of arts in Christian ministries teaches students how to interpret scripture, examine theological traditions, and apply their learning to church practices and ministry settings. Emphasis areas include pastoral studies and youth ministry. Students must complete 124 credits, which includes general education and ministry core courses. Classes are delivered in six-week sessions.
Students need only to submit the application and their transcripts. Southwestern College awards credit for military service and professional experience. Transfer applicants must complete 64 credits from a bachelor’s degree granting institution, only 30 of which must be completed through Southwestern College. The school is located in Wichita, Kansas. All online students pay the same tuition rate. Military learners receive a discount.
Lee University Cleveland, TN
ADMISSIONS RATE 85%
GRADUATION RATE 52%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 13%
RETENTION RATE 79%
DEFAULT RATE 12%
Lee University offers two online ministry degrees, the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in ministry leadership. The programs provide students with a well-rounded education by exploring emphasis areas in business, church administration, children’s and youth ministry, counseling, discipleship, music as it relates to worship, and pastoral ministry. Each emphasis area is applicable to ministry responsibilities.
Prospective students should have three years of post high school life experience prior to applying. Applicants who are first-time freshman under the age of 25 must submit high school transcripts or GED scores along with ACT or SAT scores. College transcripts should also be provided if an applicant has taken college credits. The university is located in Cleveland, Tennessee. In-state and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rate.
John Wesley University High Point, NC
ADMISSIONS RATE 77%
GRADUATION RATE 29%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 35%
RETENTION RATE 54%
DEFAULT RATE 8%
John Wesley University’s bachelor of arts in Christian ministry offers several concentrations. Notable choices include Christian counseling, Christian school education, youth and family ministry, and intercultural studies. The online bachelor's degree in ministry requires students to double major in Bible/theology. Depending on the chosen concentration, the program consists of 128 to 132 credits.
The main campus is located in High Point, North Carolina. Online students from all states pay the same tuition rate, which is lower than the on campus rate. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Learners should submit transcripts that showcase a 2.0 high school or college GPA. Desirable standardized test scores include an 18 on the ACTs or an 860 on the SATs.
Manhattan Christian College Manhattan, KS
ADMISSIONS RATE 82%
GRADUATION RATE 45%
ONLINE ENROLLMENT 4%
RETENTION RATE 62%
DEFAULT RATE 6%
MCC’s online bachelor's degree in ministry is known as the bachelor of science in Biblical leadership. The curriculum consists of 120 credits, 42 of which include liberal arts general education requirements. The curriculum also includes 24 credits of Bible and theology and leadership and ministry courses, which immerse students in spiritual education. Learners may also pursue 30 credits of unrestricted electives. The program includes a three-credit Christian service requirement.
Applicants should submit their application and provide high school transcripts. ACT or SAT scores and several personal reference forms are also required. The college is located in Manhattan, Kansas. In-state and out-of-state online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate.
Horizon University San Diego, CA
|GRADUATION RATE 0%||ONLINE ENROLLMENT 83%||RETENTION RATE 0%||DEFAULT RATE 0%||
The bachelor of leadership and ministry at Horizon University is a 126-credit program. The degree requires 36 general education credits, which allows students to spend more time studying ministry, leadership, Biblical studies, and theology. Learners also take 24 credits of open electives. The curriculum requires 12 hours of ministry service per year for the first three years, and a practicum in the final year.
Students begin the application process by scheduling an informational meeting. After the meeting, learners are welcome to file the online application, which includes two reference forms, a 300-word writing sample, and acceptance of other university forms that govern conduct and finances. In-state and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rate. The campus is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Tennessee Temple University Winston Salem, NC
|GRADUATION RATE 15%||ONLINE ENROLLMENT 0%||RETENTION RATE 0%||DEFAULT RATE 24%||
The bachelor of arts in ministry (double minor) at TTU is a unique online ministry degree that is offered through Piedmont University. The 130-credit program includes 19 minors that enhance and hone ministry skills. Minors include sign language, Biblical languages, church education, history, management for non-profit, international missions, and student ministries. There is also a general ministry minor that accepts the maximum number of transfer credits. Students take 36 hours of general core and 44 hours of Biblical studies courses. The curriculum also requires 50 hours of professional ministry experience.
Applicants should have a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or a GED. Although All online students pay the same tuition rate, irrespective of state residency.
What Will I Learn in an Online Ministry Program?
While individual programs differ, most online ministry programs offer similar basic coursework. Below is a list of some common courses in an online bachelor’s in ministry. Check with your prospective school to learn more about their course offerings, and whether specific tracks or concentrations are available for further degree specialization.
Biblical Interpretation and Theology
These courses outline the tenets of Christian faith and train students to interpret and contextualize scriptures. Students also study theological arguments and doctrines.
Teaching and Youth Ministry
Students balance theories of education with concrete skills like classroom management. Youth ministry courses explore ways to communicate to children, study the youth relationship to the church, and trace the development of their beliefs.
Leadership and Management Theory
This course develops leadership and decision-making skills. Students apply leadership principles to concrete tasks like organizing volunteers. Pastoral leadership courses also navigate legal and ethical issues specific to churches.
Church Administration and Finance
By studying budgeting and financial analysis from a non-profit perspective, students learn to manage church resources and liabilities to become skilled church caretakers.
This course introduces counseling individuals and groups from a biblical perspective. Students learn counseling strategies for conflict management and resolution, and practice skills like interviewing.
What can I do with an Online Ministry Degree?
Those with a keen interest in community-focused focused careers may find that an online bachelor's degree in ministry opens up many possibilities for employment. Churches hire administrators and teachers at many levels, including pastors, youth directors, and coaches. Ministry degree graduates also find work outside of churches in fields like social work and counseling. This degree prepares students to engage their community as spiritual and secular leaders, while also effectively promoting the message of any organization to which they belong.
Median Salary: $36,653
Community Relations Coordinator
Median Salary: $43,640
Median Salary: $48,302
Median Salary: $40,159
Median Salary: $44,807
Job Outlook and Salary for Ministry Graduates
An online bachelor's degree in ministry emphasizes a faith-based approach to social and community service. Graduates serve in a variety of teaching and management roles in churches and other nonprofit organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for social and community service managers will grow by 16% by 2026. With other management occupations expected to grow at 9% -- and all occupations at 7% -- this is a rate much faster than average. A ministry degree applies to a many different careers and industries, and salaries differ based on career and location.
|Employment, 2016||Projected Employment, 2026|
Salary Growth by Experience for Ministry Professionals
Many graduates of an online bachelor's degree in ministry can expect to have long, fulfilling careers. Those in ministry, teaching, and community and social service can expect a higher salary as they gain experience. In larger organizations with more levels of administration, ministry degree holders can be promoted to positions like senior pastor. For example, a late-career senior pastor earns a median salary of $63,156.
To determine the best online bachelor's in ministry programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online bachelor's in ministry programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.