Education

Best Children’s Ministry Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Children's Ministry programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Children’s ministry is the process of providing religious education and spiritual guidance to children. Children’s ministers work in a variety of settings, including churches, schools, and community organizations. They often work with other ministers, such as youth ministers, to provide a comprehensive program of religious education.

Children’s ministry degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in children’s ministry, including children’s pastor, children’s ministry director, and children’s ministry coordinator. Students in children’s ministry degree programs learn about the different aspects of children’s ministry, including curriculum development, teaching methods, and program administration.

How to Choose the Right Children’s Ministry Program

When it comes to choosing the right children’s ministry degree program, there are a few key factors that prospective students need to consider. These include the cost of the program, the length of the program, the curriculum, and the location of the school.

The cost of the program is an important factor to consider, as it will determine how much debt the student will have after graduation. The length of the program is also important, as a longer program will likely mean more debt. The curriculum is important to consider because it will determine what the student will be learning. The location of the school is also important, as it will determine how easy it will be to find a job after graduation.

Prospective students should also consider the accreditation of the program. This is important because it will determine whether or not the degree will be recognized by employers. Finally, prospective students should consider the job placement rate of the program. This is important because it will determine how likely it is that the student will be able to find a job after graduation.

Best Bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry Programs

The best programs for Children’s Ministry ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion
Marion, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Children’s Ministries from Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion is designed to prepare students for work in children’s ministry, either in a local church or in a para-church organization. The faculty members teaching in the program have extensive experience in ministry, as well as advanced degrees in related fields, and will provide students with a combination of theoretical and practical learning opportunities.

Rank 2
Huntington University
Huntington, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Children’s Ministry from Huntington University is a degree designed for those passionate about sharing the love of Christ with young children. The program combines core ministry courses with specifically-designed classes in family and children’s ministries. The highlight of the experience is the seven-month Practical Research and Immersion for Ministry Effectiveness (PRIME) internship during the senior year. This internship is designed to prepare students for life after graduation in a unique way.

Rank 3
Lee University
Cleveland, TN

The Bachelor of Arts in Ministry Leadership from Lee University is a 120-hour program that prepares students for leadership roles in the church. The program is made up of 42 hours of general education courses, 18 hours of religion courses, 30 hours of ministry leadership specialty courses, and 24 hours of children’s ministry emphasis courses. The remaining 6 hours are general electives. The program is designed to give students a solid foundation in the principles of ministry leadership and to prepare them for a variety of leadership roles within the church.

Rank 4
Olivet Nazarene University
Bourbonnais, IL

The Bachelor of Science in Children’s Ministry from Olivet Nazarene University is designed to prepare individuals for a career in children’s ministry. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide a climate for the spiritual growth of children and their families. Students also learn how to find creative ways to get God’s word into the hearts and minds of children, in a language they can understand. The program includes coursework in pastoral care and counseling, Christian education, child development, spiritual formation, and other relevant subjects. In addition to classroom learning, students also have the opportunity to serve in a local church children’s ministry under the direction of a mentor.

Rank 5
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Mount Vernon, OH

The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry from Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a flexible online program that prepares students for a career in ministry. The program is designed to give students a foundation in the Bible, theology, and ministry, as well as the skills necessary to lead in today’s diverse world. Students have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as preaching and worship, Christian education, or pastoral care. The program can be completed in as few as 21 months.

Rank 6
Eastern University
Saint Davids, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministry Leadership from Eastern University is designed to equip working adults for impactful, relevant youth ministry. The program features experienced practitioners who bring both “in-the-trenches” expertise and cutting-edge youth ministry scholarship to the classroom.

The program is designed to be flexible for working professionals, with online classes and one week-long residency in late May. The residency course will include traveling to various ministry sites to interact with youth ministry professionals in the field.

Rank 7
Charleston Southern University
Charleston, SC

The Bachelor of Arts in Family & Children’s Ministry at Charleston Southern University provides a foundation in Christian studies, along with courses in child development and ministry programming, to help students effectively minister to children and their families. There are also opportunities to intern with local churches and parachurch ministries. In addition to the required courses in family and children’s ministry, students can choose to take electives in areas such as biblical Hebrew, biblical Greek, international missions, church planting, biblical counseling, and other ministry-related topics.

Rank 8
Lipscomb University
Nashville, TN

The Bachelor of Arts in Children’s Ministry from Lipscomb University is a degree designed to help students grow their passion for the spiritual formation of children. The faculty is experienced and will guide students in their understanding of intergenerational ministry and spiritual development. Students will take Greek or Hebrew to deepen their understanding of the Scriptures. They will also have the opportunity to choose another language that will aid them as they work with children in diverse settings. The degree culminates in a 120 hour internship that intersects with children’s ministry.

Rank 9
Southwest Baptist University
Bolivar, MO

The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry from Southwest Baptist University is a degree designed for those looking to work in ministry with an emphasis on children. The program provides students with a unique combination of coursework in ministry, theology, education, and psychology which equips them to effectively lead and maintain a children’s ministry within a church or parachurch organization. There is also an opportunity to complete an apprenticeship in children’s ministry prior to graduation which gives students valuable, real-world experience.

Rank 10
Southeastern University
Lakeland, FL

The Bachelor of Science in Ministerial Leadership – Children’s Ministry degree from Southeastern University is designed to give students the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively lead children’s ministries in the church or parachurch organizations. The program includes coursework in how children think and learn, effective communication with children, designing children’s ministry programs, recruiting and training leaders, and maintaining a personal spiritual life. The degree requires completion of 121 credit hours and can be completed in four years.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry Program

Students in a children’s ministry program can expect to learn how to develop and implement programs that teach the Bible to children. The curriculum typically includes coursework in child development, educational psychology, and family ministry. Most programs also require an internship in a church or other religious organization.

In addition to taking classes, students in a children’s ministry program often participate in practicums or field experiences. These hands-on opportunities allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world settings.

Students in a children’s ministry program should be prepared to work with children of all ages, from infants to teenagers. They should also be comfortable leading small groups and teaching in a variety of settings, such as Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and camps.

Common Children’s Ministry Courses

A children’s ministry degree program will typically offer courses that cover a wide range of topics related to children, childhood development, and ministry. The following is a list of five courses that are often found in children’s ministry degree programs.

Introduction to Psychology

This course is an introduction to the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. Topics include the history and major schools of thought in psychology, research methods, biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, emotion, developmental psychology, personality, psychological disorders, and therapy. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze psychological concepts and apply them to personal, social, and organizational issues.

Leadership in Children’s Ministry

This course covers the development and application of leadership skills necessary to effectively minister to children. Topics include the role of the leader, team building, developing a ministry philosophy, managing a budget, planning and implementing programs, and evaluating the ministry. Upon completion, students should be able to develop a personal philosophy of children’s ministry, articulate the vision and purpose of the ministry, recruit and train volunteers, and implement and evaluate programs.

Christian Education Methods

This course covers methods and materials for teaching the Bible to children. Emphasis is placed on learning styles, lesson planning, and the use of technology in the classroom. Upon completion, students should be able to apply a variety of methods to teach the Bible to children in an effective and engaging manner.

Bible Studies for Children

This course covers methods and materials for teaching the Bible to children. Topics include an overview of the Bible, major themes and stories, and methods for teaching the Bible to children of various ages. Upon completion, students should be able to select and adapt Bible stories and materials for use with children, and create age-appropriate activities to support Bible learning.

Teaching in a Diverse Society

This course covers the methods and materials for teaching in a diverse society. Emphasis is placed on the study of various instructional strategies and their application to teaching diverse learners in a variety of settings. Upon completion, students should be able to apply a variety of instructional strategies when working with diverse learners in a variety of settings.

Career Options for Children’s Ministry Graduates

Graduates of children’s ministry programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including ministry, education, publishing, and counseling. They may also work in fields such as social work, chaplaincy, and hospital administration.

Children’s Ministry Director

A children’s ministry director is responsible for the planning and execution of programming for children in a church or other religious organization. This can include everything from Sunday school classes to Vacation Bible School to youth groups. In addition to planning and leading programming, directors may also be responsible for recruiting and training volunteers, coordinating with parents, and maintaining records.

Sunday School Teacher

Sunday school teachers work in religious settings, such as churches, temples, or mosques, to teach children about their faith. They typically work with students aged 3–18 and teach classes of 10–20 students. Sunday school teachers develop and deliver lesson plans, lead discussions and group activities, assess student progress, and maintain records. Many religious organizations also expect Sunday school teachers to model and uphold the values of the faith.

Childcare Director

Childcare directors are responsible for the overall operation of a childcare facility. This includes hiring and supervising staff, developing and implementing curriculum, managing finances and budgeting, handling administrative tasks, and ensuring compliance with state licensing regulations. Childcare directors typically have a background in early childhood education and experience working in a childcare setting.

Youth Pastor

A youth pastor is a religious leader who works with young people in a church or other religious setting. Youth pastors typically work with teenagers, but their age range can vary depending on the church’s specific needs. Youth pastors typically lead weekly meetings, where they teach religious lessons, lead discussions, and provide support and guidance to young people. They may also plan and lead special events, such as retreats, service projects, and mission trips. In addition to their work with young people, youth pastors often also support and collaborate with the church’s senior pastor and other staff.

Religion Education Teacher

Religion education teachers work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, colleges and universities, and religious institutions. They typically teach courses on world religions, comparative religion, or the history of religion. They may also teach courses on specific religious traditions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism. Religion education teachers typically have a deep knowledge of the subject matter and are able to convey that knowledge to students in an engaging and effective way.

Insights From a Children’s Ministry Graduate

Keon Rhodes is a Children’s Pastor at Grace Community Church. He has a bachelor’s degree in children’s ministry from Liberty University. Keon has over 10 years of experience in children’s ministry and church leadership.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Children’s Ministry degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Keon Rhodes: The most important thing I did was to get involved in as many ministry opportunities as I could. I was a part of the planning team for our annual Vacation Bible School program. I also volunteered in our after-school program, which gave me experience working with kids from a variety of backgrounds.

I also made sure to get to know the staff and leadership at my church. I shadowed our Children’s Pastor and asked a lot of questions. I learned so much from her about how to run a successful children’s ministry.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Children’s Ministry be good at?

Keon Rhodes: I think the ability to communicate with kids on their level is the most important thing. A lot of times, we try to talk to kids like they’re adults, and they just tune us out. If you can learn how to communicate with them in a way that they understand, then you’re on your way to being a great children’s ministry leader.

In addition to that, I think it’s important to be good at organizing and leading activities. A lot of times, kids can get bored easily, so it’s important to be able to keep their attention. If you can do that, then you’re well on your way to being a great children’s ministry leader.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Keon Rhodes: The most challenging course I took was Child Psychology. The reason this class was so challenging for me was because I am not a psychology major and I did not have any background knowledge in psychology. I would advise students who are about to start this course to be prepared to do a lot of reading and research outside of class.

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