MACL: Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
“Go therefore, and teach all nations…” ~Matthew 28:19
The Department of Theology offers the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL) as a graduate program designed to prepare students for ministry – both lay and vocational – in their churches. Building upon the core elements of biblical and theological knowledge, the program focuses on developing your skills for serving as a leader in Christian ministry, and in whatever setting God leads you. Drawing from our specific focus on the Bible, graduates of the MACL program at HBU can responsibly apply biblical truths to contemporary ministry settings.
Most students preparing for ministry pursue some type of graduate degree to help them further prepare for ministry. Traditionally, the 72-hour Master of Divinity (MDiv) has been the standard degree, as it provides the most well-rounded and robust training for ministry, but 36-hour MACL gives the core foundation desired by churches while also providing flexibility in course selection. We offer an MA in Theological Studies (MATS) degree. The MATS degree is also 36 hours, but it is a more generalist program which allows students to pursue ministry vocations as well as further academic study.
Our 36-hour MACL program is built upon a 15-hour core in Bible and Theology. Students will then take 12 hours of electives focused on Practical Theology (i.e., ministry classes). A particularly important aspect of the program is the opportunity to be discipled through the Spiritual Formation and Internship programs. For the remaining 9 hours, you have the flexibility to choose from our offering of classes in our traditional areas of biblical studies, theology and practical ministry, or in our other MA program areas: biblical languages, apologetics, classics, and philosophy.
Another feature of the MACL, MATS, and MDiv degrees at HBU is the advantage of studying at a comprehensive university. HBU offers many graduate certificates, which allows you to pursue 12 hours of coursework in another academic area. In conjunction with your MACL, MATS, and MDiv degree students are able to use 12 of the elective hours and pursue an “embedded certificate,” from another academic discipline. This allows students to focus their theological and biblical studies toward a specific area of ministry. For example:
- Church Planting – MACL/MATS/MDiv + certificate in Entrepreneurial Leadership
- Addiction Ministry – MACL/MATS/MDiv + certificate in Addiction and Recovery Studies
- Children or Family Ministry – MACL/MATS/MDiv + certificate in Marriage and Family Studies
- Human Trafficking Ministry – MACL/MATS/MDiv + certificate in Human Sexuality Studies
- Christian Life Coaching – MACL/MATS/MDiv + certificate in Professional Life Coaching
Ministry in a multifaceted world requires multifaceted preparation. The embedded certificate allows you to receive the theological and biblical preparation you need for a sustained ministry, together with focused training to equip you for the ministry to which God has called you.
Advantages and Opportunities
Through close interaction with experienced faculty in small, seminar-style classes, students in HBU’s Master of Arts in Christian Leadership program will be challenged to grow intellectually and spiritually in their servant leadership. One of the greatest strengths of our program is the personal interaction with faculty. Our MACL classes are capped so that we can achieve our target of 12 to 15 students in each so we can get to know you personally. In addition, rather than always lecturing and merely giving you all the right answers, our classes are primarily seminar-style, in which we read texts together and discuss them in community, which allows us all to learn from the diverse ministry experiences of those in the classroom. This not only encourages a deeper engagement with texts and ideas, but also prepares you to engage in ministry through empathy and discussion.
We offer the majority of our classes in the evening, in classes that meet one night a week, so you can easily wrap your studies around your work commitments. In addition, we have a growing number of 8-week online classes that allow students the flexibility to fit your lifestyle.
We especially value and draw from our Baptist heritage, but our faculty and students represent a range of evangelical traditions and denominations. Thus, we welcome anyone who would wish to study with us. The majority of our students are pursuing a vocation of church ministry, and our ecclesially engaged faculty are well suited to help you in your preparation. Besides the variety of past church ministry experiences that we bring, many of our faculty are currently serving as pastors and interim pastors.
Besides the personal enrichment from studying the Bible, theology, and ministry with great faculty, graduates of the MATS program will be equipped for a variety of opportunities. The MACL degree can provide the educational framework needed for most ministry and teaching opportunities.
The degree is 36 credit hours (12 courses), which takes approximately two years.
MA Core (15 hours)
CHRI 5305 Theological Inquiry (should be taken within first 9 hours)
Then, one class should be taken from each of the four central areas:
Old Testament (Pentateuch or Prophets)
New Testament (Gospels or Paul)
History (History of Christianity or Historical & Moral Theology)
Theology (Hermeneutics or Systematic Theology)
Practical Theology Electives (12 hours)
12 hours of coursework from any class in the Practical Theology area including:
Pastoral Care & Spiritual Formation
Spiritual Formation 1-4 (4 Semesters, 1 hour each)
MA Electives (9 hours)
For the remaining 9 hours of the program, you may choose among any of the offered classes as electives – biblical studies, theology and practical theology — as well as in our other MA program areas: biblical languages, apologetics, classics, and philosophy.
CHRI 5300 Introduction to Biblical Texts and Doctrines, if necessary, will count as an elective.*
*Note: Those entering the program without a prior undergraduate degree in theology or without a prior graduate studies in theology are required to take CHRI 5300 Introduction to Biblical Texts and Doctrines in their first semester.
Costs, Scholarships, and Financing
To find the costs of the program, see the current year Graduate Tuition and Fees for the MACL program.
HBU offers several types of scholarships to help our incoming students. Important Deadlines: Your Application file must be completed and Scholarship Application must be submitted by these dates to be considered for scholarships: Summer: April 1, Fall: July 1, Spring: November 1.
Students may take out loans to help finance the cost of their graduate education. To be eligible for federal loans, students must take at least 5 hours for a fall or spring semester or 4 hours in the summer.
There are a variety of ways to engage with the Department of Theology: we’re on Facebook, we have a community blog, we offer an annual Theology Conference, and we have regular lectures by preeminent scholars as part of the A.O. Collins Lecture Series.