Today the range of student’s ministry interests is more diverse than ever. Opportunities for ministry are abundant and unique. There is significant need for well-trained, godly ministers to serve these wide interests and opportunities. In the GST Contextual Education program, student-ministers explore four diverse ministry categories:


Church – This context is identified as a local community of disciples that worship, serve, and nurture one another while participating in God’s mission in the world. It is for students interested in exploring the nurture, mission, and transformation of local congregations (jobs might include: preaching, youth ministry, spiritual formation ministry, etc.).


Community – This context references settings where believers have identified issues of need or injustice that need service and transformation. Students interested in community development may include those seeking jobs in social work, para-church organizations, social justice, non-profit ministry, or associate ministries.


Pastoral – Pastoral Care situations occur in hospital chaplaincy, military chaplaincy, business chaplaincy, prison ministry and some social work settings. It is for students interested in restorative justice, chaplaincy, counseling, hospice, and other care agencies.


Emerging – This is an adjective (not a brand) describing the ever expanding church, ministry and mission contexts where God is at work. These include but are not limited to global contexts, mission work, domestic mission, church planting, intentional communities, or house church movements.

Students are expected to choose a ministry context and eventually to identify one of these four contextual tracks as their primary location for contextual learning. Certainly, there is room to grow (and change focus) in ministry through the program, yet it is vital to practice ministry in a context while in graduate school. Even if (and when) that ministry context or interest changes, student-ministers must locate their learning to a contextual community while they are learning the practice of ministry.

These descriptions each represent many unique ministries, which are limited only to the entrepreneurial imagination of ministers and to the ongoing work of God in the world.

The Contextual Education program lets students take initiative for choosing to serve in these settings while moving through the program. Students locate their learning (coursework, class projects, and Field Ed Contextual Immersion Experiences) in a specific ministry setting. Locating learning by active participation in ministry helps students see the world as the classroom and also develops their awareness, practice, and reflection in these local ministry contexts. Plus, Students have the added benefit of learning indirectly about other ministry contexts through their peer’s ministry experiences in separate contexts.