Graduate School Course Descriptions

M.A. Intercultural Studies

Trinity’s MA Intercultural Studies is designed to prepare missionaries to excel in ministry in a cross-cultural context. In addition to studying the theological foundations of missiology, students will gain practical wisdom to remain healthy and thriving on the field. This program is a comprehensive in-depth study of topics relevant to missiology including courses on missionary life and ministry, missions history, and the future of missions. Developing critical thinking skills in a missiological context will equip missionaries for greater effectiveness.

Program Outcomes

Upon the completion of the Master of Arts Intercultural Studies, students should be able to:

  1. Understand past key missionary movements throughout the world.
  2. Develop spiritual formation practices for life-long missionary health and service.
  3. Articulate a biblical theology of missions affecting missionary praxis.
  4. Engage in meaningful intercultural conversations to communicate the gospel effectively.
  5. Utilize anthropological knowledge to understand humankind in its socio-cultural contexts.
  6. Identify and critically analyze missiological trends and issues to remain effective in missions.

Core (27 credits)

PT510 Research Methods: Perspectives and Resources 3 credits
Foundational to post-graduate level study is the need to understand and become familiar with research methodology. This course is intentionally designed to prepare the student for careful, investigative research resulting in appropriate writing styles, adequate referencing and critical analysis. Analyzing, evaluating, building and presenting arguments are central to the course. Developing a familiarity with different research methodologies, data analysis and the preparation of literature reviews prepare the student to maximize the whole course but, in particular, to be prepared for the research track which comprises their own unique project.

CS610 Thesis Proposal: Research Methods II, 3 credits
A post-graduate degree should be characterized by heightened competencies in areas such as reflective thought, critical analysis and familiarity with relevant literature. Employing appropriate research methodologies Trinity post-graduate degrees comprise a significant research track that enables the student to explore ministry specific fields of study. The objective is to reinforce lifelong learning, the humility of a scholar and applied learning relevant to the student’s own context. This allows some degree of specialization whilst accommodating academic rigor and the positive involvement of a well-qualified supervisor. Additionally, this part of the program is designed to equip those students who wish to pursue further studies.

LD610 Global Scholar Seminar 3 credits
Each year a leading global scholar will be invited to teach Leadership in a Global Context from the unique perspective of his or her area of expertise. The title of the course will be determined by the content of the syllabus. Building on the factual realities of globalization, this course is designed to develop competencies in developing a biblical world view that responds in a Christ-honoring way to the complex issues of religious, ideological, and cultural diversity that now define the context of twenty first century church. Understanding contemporary phenomena such as mass migration, pluralism, gender issues, and ethnic diversity are foundational to effectively leading churches and ministries that are clearly counter-cultural communities of faith. The intentional inclusiveness of Christ-following people and demonstrating an understanding in leading redemptive communities forms the theological foundation of this course.

CS520 Missionary Movements in Review: Lessons for Contemporary Mission 3 credits
Adopting the historical method of identifying key events from the past, this course will undertake a history of mission through the lens of missionary movements. An overview of movements that can be clearly identified as missionary due to their evangelistic and outward focus will lay the foundation for the course. In turn this will allow for a critical examination of what defines a missionary movement, the interrelationship between the organic nature and organizational reality of mission and any common factors that exist in the success or long term demise of a missionary movement. The outcome will be to develop analytical tools that provide lessons for contemporary mission.

Missionary Spiritual Health 3 credits
Both the missionary’s character and spiritual formation are keys to effectiveness and longevity on the mission field. This course considers the biblical principles and classic disciplines of character development and spiritual formation, equipping missionaries for life-long service. This course addresses topics such as transformation, the Holy Spirit’s role, devotional habits, humility, flexibility, accountability, perseverance, resilience, etc. The role of the community will be a particular focus.

Intercultural Communication 3 credits
Analyzing various intercultural communication theories and methods, students will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate the gospel to people living in the diverse cultures of our world. This course will address issues of trust and openness and how these dynamics affect intercultural communication. Common barriers to intercultural communication will also be discussed. Consideration is given to varying worldviews, cultures, societal structures, gender roles, the use of technology, and how these affect communication and the contextualization of the gospel message.

Theology of Missions 3 credits
Since theology impacts praxis, understanding the theology of missions is crucial to missionary effectiveness. Students will study the motives for missions, the essence of missions, and the central task of missions. This course will address such topics as how missions is defined, the distinctions between the terms mission and missions, and how missiology should affect church practice. This course will guide students through an in-depth study of God’s mission throughout the Bible. Specific attention will be given to the impact of the Day of Pentecost and Spirit-empowered missionary outreach.

Anthropology in Missiological Context 3 credits
This course is a comprehensive study of the socio-cultural dynamic of humankind and how it applies to the missional context. It will lay the groundwork for anthropological expertise in producing ethnographic studies and adapting the biblical message for diverse cultural contexts. It will also prepare the student to utilize anthropology as a lens through which to interpret the contemporary world across the spectrum from the global society to one’s own multicultural team. Topics will include research methods, elements of culture, cross-cultural theologizing, globalization and interaction of cultures.

Future of Missions 3 credits
As long as Christ is the Head of His Church, He will raise up workers for His harvest fields. In this course, students will explore ways to anticipate and prepare for missiological changes in a global context. Considering the current trends in missions, students will analyze how missions might change in the future and how that may impact the Church. This course will cast both a futuristic and prophetic light on the Church's missionary call in the coming decades as well as address potential methods and approaches used on the missions field. Since the development of both current and future technologies will impact how missions is conducted, students will explore the potential implications. Topics such as travel and technology will be fruitful fields for research. The course will also address the theories and methods that could be implemented for positive future change on the field and most importantly, how field workers maintain biblical obedience. Of special importance is how missionaries maintain biblical priorities in an ever-developing world.

12 electives taken from a track or any other MAML/MAGT course.

Thesis (9 credits)
TH690a and TH690b
The capstone of the MA (Intercultural Studies) is a researched-based project enabling the student to undertake a serious piece of academic writing in an area specific to his/her need. To facilitate the credit load per semester, the thesis is registered in two sections. TH690a is three credits registered in the fall semester and TH690b is six credits registered in the spring.

Optional Mobilization Track (12 Credits)

Generational Succession 3 credits
This course addresses a largely ignored and under-described aspect of leadership. Of particular relevance to leaders in Western cultural contexts, this course explores the role of mentoring, transformational leadership and, importantly, the diverse roles for both older and younger leaders. Missional communities do not devalue experience nor do they condone generationally bound communities. The student will learn to accommodate and celebrate a multi-generational approach to leadership.

Trends & Issues in Mobilization 3 credits
Students will critically engage and analyze issues that both contribute to the decline of missionaries sent from the U.S. and influence one’s decision to serve as a long-term missionary. Special consideration will be given to the factors that often influence the missionary call, as well as current barriers that prohibit an aspiring missionary from getting to the field. Other topics presented in this course such as short-term mission trips and missionary influence, may adjust as mobilization trends and issues develop.

Mobilization in Church Context 3 credits
The course is an in-depth analysis of missions mobilization in the local church and denominational contexts. Of particular relevance is the study of the environment of the church and how this affects missionary sending from North America. This course will also address the role of the pastor and how he/she influences the congregation towards missions involvement or indifference. Students will analyze topics such as hosting missionary speakers, ecclesial prayer, missions education, and the relationship between church leaders and missionaries.

Missions Coaching & Mentoring 3 credits
Useful for missions pastors, mobilizers, and missionaries alike, this course will explore the life of Jesus and how he mentored and mobilized the disciples. Students will also investigate the philosophies and methods of mentoring others for the cause of the Great Commission. Understanding various mentoring theories and best practices equips mobilizers to be more effective in their efforts. Since for many, the missionary call develops and grows over time, students will explore ways mobilizers can walk alongside those whom God is calling. Topics such as the distinction between coaching and mentoring, discipleship, encouragement, conversation analysis, accountability, education, and training will be considered.