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Youth Ministry

About the Youth Ministry Program

The youth ministry program through the Department of Theology at Spring Arbor University offers students a comprehensive curriculum for preparation for youth ministry. This program is designed to:

  • Cultivate each student’s CHARACTER to become a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ;
  • Explore each student’s CALLING and purpose in youth ministry;
  • Experience and enable the development of Christian COMMUNITY in a relational-based ministry;
  • Nurture a commitment to excellence and COMPETENCE as a minister and as a professional;
  • Develop students who embrace the primacy of Scripture, the vibrancy of spiritual experiences, intellectual reasoning, and an understanding of the rich Christian tradition of great saints of the church who preserved our faith;
  • Integrate intellectual challenge with experiential learning; and
  • Develop a global mindset in youth ministry.

For students from the Free Methodist Church, the program also offers the possibility of fulfilling the educational requirements for ministry ordination.

Admission to the Youth Ministry Major

Application to the major is required. Application forms are provided by the department. Freshmen, sophomores and transfer students can declare their intent to major in youth ministry. Each student must successfully complete YMI 200 Foundations in Youth Ministry, as well as complete an interview arranged by personnel of the youth ministry program before acceptance. Students in the major and minor are expected to model a lifestyle becoming of a minister of Jesus Christ in covenant with the SAU program. Admission to the major/minor commits the student to a yearly renewal of this covenant through recommendations and review of the student’s campus life, academic performance and ministry activity.

Other programs offered through the Department of Theology include:

Why should you choose SAU’s youth ministry program?

The youth ministry program unites the academy and the church in a vital link; engaging the students in personal development while serving in ministry. The program carries the learning and teaching of ministry skills beyond the classroom and reaches out into the community at large. By requiring students in the youth ministry major to take an active role in a local church congregation, the interaction of theological foundations, models of discipleship and contextual learning provide for an experiential learning environment.

All ministry programs in the Department of Theology offer a creative blend of solid academics, practical ministry training and application and spiritual formation. Included in all department programs is a central theological curriculum, which provides an essential foundation for all forms of Christian ministry. This curriculum includes courses in the four areas that make up what is commonly known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

Courses, Course Descriptions & Four-Year Plan

The courses for the 56-hour youth ministry major include such subject areas as introduction to youth ministry, youth in culture, strategies in youth ministry, youth ministry conference, marriage and family, philosophy of ministry,  communication in ministry, biblical interpretation, history of Christianity, Christian ethics. A 23-hour youth ministry minor is also available.

View the course requirements and layout, course descriptions, a sample four-year plan, as well as learn more about the youth ministry program at Spring Arbor University in the undergraduate catalog.

Career Opportunities

The youth ministry major prepares persons for ministry with youth and their families in church, para-church and camping organizations that focus on the spiritual needs of young people. The scope of the program curriculum also provides a substantive background for other forms of Christian ministry beyond youth ministry.

To learn more about how Spring Arbor helps its graduates prepare for a career, visit our career development section.

On-Campus Opportunities

Spring Arbor University offers a wide range of activities and opportunities for students to get involved and apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real-world contexts. Here are some opportunities that may interest theology students:

  • Interfaith Shelter Ministries – Interfaith Shelter is a homeless shelter located in downtown Jackson. Spring Arbor students spend one day a week serving food and visiting with the people of the shelter. They also lead small group fellowships and organize an annual food and clothing drive. For information about volunteering at Interfaith Shelter, please call 517.789.8735.
  • Small Groups – Students have many opportunities to join a small group, whether it’s the Student Development and Learning small group program, a residence hall Bible study group, a prayer group, or accountability partners. Whatever your need, Spring Arbor will be able to fill it.
  • Spiritual Life Retreat – Although students always look forward to activities like the traditional four-square tournament and the Frisbee golf competition, the real reason for the Spiritual Life Retreat is spiritual development and genuine life change. More than 150 students steal away for a weekend of games, good food and a gratifying, spiritual jumpstart to the school year. Students literally sleep outside the student development office to reserve a space for this wildly popular event.
  • Spring Break Mission trips –During Spring Break, a handful of mission teams gear up and hit the road to minister to and serve people around the country and abroad. For information, contact Cecilia Said at

See a full list of the various activities and organizations available to students at Spring Arbor University.