The School of Religion will be restructured this fall to include a fifth major, concentrations, a Bible minor and access to ministry training for students of many academic programs.

Neal Cushman, professor in the Seminary and Graduate School of Religion, said the changes would make the School of Religion more streamlined, rigorous and relevant to students receiving ministry training.

Cushman said a fifth major will be added to the school in addition to the current Bible, Christian ministry, cross-cultural service and biblical counseling programs.

The new major, biblical studies, is unique in that it may be pursued alongside an additional major.

Cushman said students in the biblical studies program will be equipped with a thorough knowledge of the Bible and ministry, but students in the program may also enroll in another academic program at BJU in addition to the major.

Students in the biblical studies program could choose any academic major outside the School of Religion to study alongside their biblical studies major including criminal justice, communications and theatre arts, to name a few.

Cushman said students in the program can graduate in four years with two majors at the same time if they exercise careful planning and hard work.

Overall, this restructuring will also give students the ability to design their programs in many different ways.

Cushman said students will be able to choose two majors, or a major and one concentration, a major with two minors or a major with a minor and a concentration.

The available concentrations in the School of Religion are pastoral ministry, youth ministry, sports ministry, biblical languages, women’s ministry, education studies, church worship, apologetics and communication.

All BJU students will now also have access to a biblical studies minor.

Cushman said the minor can be achieved by taking two additional Bible credits with the 16 credits all students receive in the BJU core.

School of Religion students who excel academically may now also achieve a bachelor’s degree and a master of divinity in six years.

Cushman said graduate students can obtain a master of divinity in three years, but many take four years to complete this degree; the new restructuring will help streamline the process, potentially saving students thousands of dollars.

The restructuring includes a new ministry training model that will make the training more relevant and available to all students.

Cushman said the traditional ministry class will now become a ministry chapel that will meet once a week on a Tuesday or Thursday.

The chapel will be deliberate and focused on ministry with the preaching of Dr. Pettit, Dr. Horn, the School of Religion faculty and dynamic guest speakers.

Dr. Nathan Crockett, director of the Division of Ministries, will provide oversight for this chapel.

The chapel will be attended by students in the School of Religion, seminary students and students in other majors who are interested in part- or full-time ministry.

The chapel is open to both men and women students.

Cushman said ministry majors will receive mentoring as part of the shepherding aspect of their training. Faculty advisers will mentor students, and the students will be encouraged to engage in mentoring through local church programs.

Cushman said students will receive training in eight areas of ministry—interpretation and exposition, preaching and teaching, personal life, leadership, evangelism, worship, discipleship and counseling and missions.