In Athens, home of the University of Georgia, students have plenty of choices when it comes to classes and courses. But that’s not stopping Marcia Wilbur from offering a few more.
In 2012, The Athens School of Ministry and Worship Arts will open its doors to students at Watkinsville First United Methodist Church, just 10 minutes away from UGA’s campus. The purpose of the school is posted on their website: “ASM & WA is an interdenominational Christian college seeking to equip faithful men and women for ministry and Christian leadership.”
Wilbur, a trustee for ASM &WA, told The Christian Post she came to Athens 12 years ago. With her extensive background in education and work with The College Board, she says God began revealing to her the need for “leadership in Christian education in Athens.”
Even though ASM & WA is still working on getting accreditation, it will offer associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s degrees and certificates, as well as short courses in ministry. Degree programs are set to start fall semester of 2012.
The school will offer two types of education tracks for students: Degree programs and certificate programs. Christian Media, Christian Ministry, Generational Ministry and Healing Ministry are among some of the degrees offered at the school. They are meant to help students “effectively engage in Christian ministry as employees of volunteer service agencies, missions organizations or local churches,” the website states.
The certificate program is designed for those already attending another college or university. Students can have dual enrollment in Athens School of Ministry and Worship Arts as a way to strengthen their faith, or learn how to minster in whatever career they have chosen, be it business or education.
Certificate programs are also designed for people wanting to get training for ministry, but don’t want another degree. The purpose is to help students start thinking about how “ministry can be a part of whatever degree you have,” said Wilbur.
For example, Phil Goodwin wrote on the blog for the website he is excited to begin training at ASM & WA to learn more about the Hebrew culture. “I sense God calling me to minister in the Middle East,” he writes. The school can help him get the training he needs for that specific mission.
Wilbur says students can come and get equipped through Field Ministry to use business as a mission, or if someone wants to go into the inner city and create programs to minister to people the school can give them the training and resources to learn how to implement that.
Both certificate and degree programs require that students complete “Christian Core” requirements with classes like Foundations of Faith, His Creation: Strengths & Spiritual gifts, which are designed to equip students to continue in Bible study.
Students in both degree and certificate courses also have to participate in Faith-in-Action Apprenticeships. These are what Wilbur likens to an educational student-teaching model. The apprenticeship places students with ministries and service or community organizations to get hands-on training in addition to their classroom work.
The cost of attending the school is slightly less than that of the university, at $295 a credit hour for one class, $275 per credit hour for two classes and $250 per credit hour for three or more classes. ASM & WA will be holding two prospective student open houses in the coming months, one on Nov. 18 and Dec. 10.
Wilbur said they have just begun reviewing applications and hopes it will be a place “students can come and soak in God and get prepared to go out” into the world.