M.A. Rural Ministries

Program Purpose

The Master of Arts (Rural Ministries), an applied research degree in practical theology, is designed to equip students for dynamic and relevant ministry in the rural church or unique cultural contexts. The emphasis of this program applies biblical leadership models to the student’s unique setting to achieve ministry that multiplies.

The heart of learning takes place in immersion experiences hosted by four thriving churches. Experiential learning enables immediate application of biblical ministry concepts and facilitates evaluations assisting each student to excel. The adult learning style of teaching embeds principles of practical Pentecostal theology: prayer, Missio Dei, coaching and theological reflection with application to the student’s setting through four broad concepts: contextualized evangelism, biblical partnership, principles of multiplication, and creative leadership.

Successful completion of this 48-credit degree equips students to lead the church forward in their ministry setting with insight and purpose. This program also prepares students for doctoral or other advanced degrees.

Program Objectives

Upon completing the MA(RM), the student should be able to:

  • Apply Biblical principles to contemporary ministry contexts
  • Evaluate and respond to cultural phenomena in light of Scriptural values
  • Evaluate and respond to historical events and their aftermath in light of Scriptural values
  • Formulate relevant ministry strategies for the rural context
  • Model Biblical principles appropriately in a rural context
  • Develop personal habits of lifelong learning

Program Distinctives

The MA (RM) program with Trinity has two unique features that set it apart from programs nationwide:

  1. The cohort basis of the program is specifically designed to accommodate those in fulltime ministry. This provides the benefit of face-to-face interaction with the professor and with classmates, while making it possible to continue to minister or work fulltime.
  2. Emphasis is placed on direct contact with locations involving rural ministries learning experiences.


Practical Theology (PT)

PT 501 Introduction to Coaching

Introduction to Coaching teaches basic foundational skills for Christian coaching of rural leaders. Students learn the foundations of coaching, expanding the understanding of the coaching relationship “drawn out” from the imago Dei reference. Students learn and practice active listening skills, experience participatory coaching time with active feedback, and gain skills, confidence, and coaching for spiritual growth.

RM 502 Intermediate Coaching

Practical expressions of Pentecostal leadership coaching engages students through creative lenses for ministry opportunities and challenges in the context of the local church. Participants use coaching models to engage in spiritual development, the significance of personal mission, life message indicators, and joy in the spiritual journey. The coaching skills and application employ faith conversations to move deeper in their commitment to Christ. This dialogue approach provides an effective model for evangelism and discipleship.

RM 503 Advanced Coaching

Practical Pentecostal expression of Advanced Leadership Coaching assists the students as coaches to mobilize others for ministry opportunities and overcome local church challenges. This class engages coaching models of mission Dei mobilization, integrating mentorship skills, employing faith coaching conversations, spiritual formation, pursuing God’s call, and personal “life message.” Advanced Leadership Coaching for mobilization advances coaches training and application. 

PT 510 Research Methods 1: 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, accurate 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 Research Methods 2: Thesis Proposal 3 credits

A distinctive of the MARM is the collation of research into a cohesive portfolio. 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 (2)

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 worldview that leads to responding in a Christ-honoring way to the complex issues of religious, ideological, and cultural diversity that now define the context of the 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.

Rural Ministry (RM)

RM 510 Rural Community Connection and Evangelism 6 credits

Hosted by Crossroads Assembly in Valentine, NE, this class provides a contextualized approach to ministry with application in the student’s location. Theological and practical implications about the community, analyzed through the Missional Helix, initiate strategic evangelism. Partnering with Rural Compassion (a ministry of Convoy of Hope), the class includes discussion with local “stakeholders” on how to best serve the rural community. Application of thorough research, projects, and evaluations of contextualized evangelism enriches the immersion experience.

RM 610 Rural Church Multiplication/Church Planting and Revitalization 6 credits

Partnering with New Life Church in Foley, MN, students observe the host rural church plant as well as learn from multiple rural church planters who are currently leading successful churches. Students also discover the process, challenges, and rewards of revitalization. Reflection on the theological foundation of multiplication and revitalization enrich the applications. Teaching will advance insight about recruiting, empowering, equipping and encouraging leaders in multiplication and revitalization. Project evaluation from theology, ecclesiology and culture provides multi-discipline approach to multiplication.

RM 615 Creative Leadership for the Rural Church 6 credits

Marysville Christian Fellowship in Marysville, KS, hosts the immersion experience for Creative Leadership for the Rural Church. Diverse rural contexts for developing leaders will be addressed through a variety of lenses: raising indigenous leadership, connecting with other churches, defining values of the rural community, the necessity of character and integrity in the student’s setting. Leadership styles will influence the research, project, and evaluations that lead to creative leadership applications.

RM 620 Rural Ministry – Urban/Rural Partnerships 6 credits

First Assembly in Little Rock, AR, will host the immersion experience dealing with biblical partnership for the rural church. The class addresses the engagement of relationships that historically moved organizations to develop movements that multiplied on a broad scale. Partnership plays a key role as ministry stretches beyond the local church to make a large impact on a region. This learning experience will engage the orthodoxy, orthopraxis, and orthopathos that connect, develop, and release of leaders who multiply themselves.

Thesis (TH)

TH 690 Thesis 9 credits

The capstone of the MARM is a research project based on the findings of the contextual studies component of the course. The student will produce a cohesive folio enabling the student to undertake a serious piece of academic writing.

Typical Student

There will be two categories of students:

  • The mature student who is currently in pastoral, missionary or other ministry vocations.
  • The student completing their undergraduate studies and wishing to continue directly into postgraduate studies.

Program Structure

The MA (Rural Ministry) is a 48 credit program and you can complete in as little as three years.

Complete the Program in Up to Three Years

  • Year one: Take two courses in the fall, including Research Methods 1 and Global Scholar and the first rural ministry saturation experience.
  • Year two: Take the second Global Scholar and Research Methods 2 and the third saturation experience trip in the fall and the fourth saturation experience trip in the spring.
  • Year three: Work on thesis and elective class.

Session Dates

2021-2023 School Year

FALL 2021:

  1. August 23-27
    • LD 610 Global Scholar
    • RM 539 Leadership Coaching
    • PT 510 Research Methods 1
  2. October 25-29
    • RM 615 Creative Rural Leadership (Great Bend, KS) 


SPRING 2022:

  1. March 21-25
    • RM 510 Contextualized Evangelism (Valentine, NE)
  2. Second Spring Session Date TBD


FALL 2022:

  1. August 22-26
    • LD 610 Global Scholar
    • RM 539 Leadership Coaching
    • PT 510 Research Methods 1
  2. October 24-28
    • RM 610 Rural Multiplication and Mobilization (Foley, MN)


SPRING 2023:

  1. March 27-31
    • RM 620 Paradigms in Partnership for the Rural Church (Location TBD)
  2. Second Spring Session Date TBD