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BA in Religion

About the Program

This degree program prepares individuals for ministry in a variety of areas, with concentrations in Christian Ministry, Christian Worship, and Children's/Youth Ministry. Religion majors learn to apply scriptural principles to contemporary life by introducing what they learn in the classroom into a real ministry setting.

As a Religion major, you will begin cultivating a pattern of spiritual accountability and participating in ministry while in school. Additionally, you will learn to preach and teach effectively and persuasively, to plan and conduct worship services, to give pastoral care, and to understand basic counseling. You will gain understanding of the theological implications in life issues, and experience what it means to share the plan of salvation with a seeker, provide administrative leadership for ministry and continue your personal spiritual development throughout your life.

SWU Division of Religion provides ministry preparation that is a "both/and" program:

  • Traditional / Contemporary worship styles
  • Large church / Small church
  • Tradition and history / Relevant mission
  • Preparation for immediate ministry placement / Preparation for graduate school
  • Rigor in the classroom / Mentoring relationships and community
  • Disciplined study / Real-life ministry experiences

You might consider a Religion major if you sense God’s calling on your life for ministry, are seeking to serve in a church or other Christ-centered organization, are an individual who shows Christ-like compassion to others and are seeking a leadership role in ministry.

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Interested in a 3+1 ministry program?

Three years on-campus plus one-year church residency all before graduating.

3+1 ministry program

Emily Service - Christian Worship Major

Paige Rouse - Children's Ministry Major


Christian Ministry

The Christian Ministry concentration is a 39-hour track of study that provides biblical, theological, and pastoral leadership foundations for those entering careers in ministry in the local church. This concentration is appropriate for those going directly into ministry and is a very strong pre-seminary program. This is the ordination track program for students pursuing Wesleyan ordination.


Christian Worship

The Christian Worship concentration is a 42-hour track of study that combines interests and studies in the Bible, Christian faith, Christian ministry, and Christian worship with some specialized study in music in order that graduates will learn to lead the people of God through Christian worship ministries.


Youth and Children's Ministry

The Youth and Children's Ministry concentration of study is a 42-hour track of study designed to prepare students for pastoral ministry, parachurch ministries, camps and other community programs, in a variety of ministry contexts.


Your Future

"The personal investment by the faculty at SWU was more than an intellectual investment; it was a whole person investment. I learned as much by doing life with the SWU family as I did in the classroom. SWU not only gave me the education necessary to be a minister, they gave me the belief that I could make a difference as a minister."

Tom Harding, Senior Pastor at ALIVE Wesleyan Church

Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center

Religion students at SWU have the opportunity for a relevant and hands-on ministry education in the brand new Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center.

The center includes a sanctuary for preaching and worship education, as well as a tech lab for learning modern technologies used in worship services. The center also includes a youth ministry lab and a children’s ministry lab, both outfitted for engaging, age-appropriate ministry. The Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center at SWU is the place to gain a relevant ministry education for today’s world.

Religion Minors

Cognates/Minors are available in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship, Bible, Mission Studies, Christian Worship, and Religious Studies. These minors may be completed with a Religion major or with a major from another academic department.

What about Ordination?

Those preparing for ordination in The Wesleyan Church should complete one of the following programs: Pastoral Ministry, Youth Ministry, Christian Education, Bible, or Missions. A program consists of the concentration in Christian Ministry and the appropriate minor or cognate. Each of these programs will meet the academic requirements for ordination in The Wesleyan Church, as well as satisfying many comparable requirements for ordination in other denominations.