Master of Arts - Children, Youth, and Family Ministry

Faculty Point Person: Terri Elton
For more information contact:

  • the Office of Admissions
  • the faculty point person for Children and Family Ministry Associate, Nancy Lee Gauche

Luther Seminary offers two options for completing the Masters of Arts concentration in Children, Youth and Family Ministry. The residential option is a two-year degree on the campus at Luther. The Distributed Learning option allows the student to take classes in short, intensive courses on campus and through on-line an independent study courses. This allows the student to remain in their present location and ministry.

Residential Program

The residential concentration in Children, Youth and Family ministry is designed for individuals who are interested in children’s and youth and family ministry in either a church or para-church ministry. This degree program provides theology, theory, and practice in a holistic educational environment.

In addition to the curriculum at Luther Seminary, each student may be placed in a local church or children’s or youth ministry organization where the student will work in a salaried position approximately 15–20 hours per week. This allows the student to have contact with children and youth and family leaders who are committed to preparing and equipping future children’s and youth and family ministers.

Distributed Learning Program

The Distributed Learning Program is designed for individuals already serving in a ministry setting who desire to do their theological education without becoming a residential student. This model is referred to as the Distributed Learning Program (DL) in Children, Youth and Family Ministry. The course curriculum is the same as the two-year residential model; however, courses are completed by combining short-term face to face classes and online coursework. One-half of the required courses are completed online and remaining courses are completed by attending one and two week-long intensive courses. Most students are able to complete the required 18 courses in a four year time period.

DL students are required to work in a supervised ministry setting as courses depend on students being active in ministry. Integration of theological learning and context of ministry is aided through the collaborative direction of an assigned mentor and Luther Seminary Distributed Learning Staff member.

Students who are accepted into the Distributed Learning Programs can anticipate a minimum of three weeks per year of face to face intensive course work away from their context of ministry.

Both the residential and Distributed Learning Program share the same core course curriculum taught by the same Luther faculty. There are additional non-credit requirements and an e-learning orientation that is required for all DL students.


While every student in this degree program studies scripture, theology, and leadership, each student will develop a theoretical and practical framework for ministry with children, youth, young adults, and families as well as chose a concentration in one of the following:

  • Children and Family Ministry
  • Youth and Family Ministry
  • Young Adult Ministry
  • Family Ministry

Every student will take at least seven courses that will focus in their concentration. See the concentration core and concentration core elective courses listed below.



Bible Proficiency Exam


The Call to Discipleship (meets during First Week).
Special arrangements for this requirement can be made for students in the children, youth and family distributed learning program.


Discipleship: All residential Master of Arts students participate, with MDiv and MSM students in a weekly discipleship group throughout the time they are enrolled in seminary. Discipleship groups are comprised of a faculty adviser and advisees from a variety of programs. Each group meets weekly, normally at 11:00a.m. on Wednesdays during fall and spring semesters. Special arrangements for discipleship can be made for students in the children, youth and family distributed learning program.

Writing or Ministry Project

This requirement is met through the course assignments in the senior Children’s, Youth and Family Ministry Senior Seminar (CY4520).

Contextual Leadership

The contextual aspect of the concentration in Children, Youth and Family Ministry is fulfilled through the student’s field education placement..

CORE COURSES (total required: 8.5 courses)

Bible (4 courses)



1.0 course

OT2110 through OT2119

Prophets (core elective)

1.0 course




OT3110 through OT3119

Psalms and Wisdom Literature (core elective)

1.0 course

NT1210 through NT1213

Synoptic Gospels (core elective)

1.0 course

NT2210 through NT2218

Pauline Tradition (core elective)

1.0 course


Genesis to Revelation

0.5 course

History of Christianity (1 course)


Christian History from the New Testament to the Present

1.0 course

*May substitute any two of the following courses with the second course counting as an elective: HC1315; HC1320; HC3310.




Systematic Theology (1 course)


An Overview of Christian Teachings

1.0 course

ST2420 Ethics I 0.5 course
ST3420 through ST3433 Ethics II (core elective) 0.5 course

*May substitute any two of the following courses with the second course counting as an elective: ST1415; ST2415; ST3415.




Interpreting and Confessing (1 course)
Choose 1 of the following courses:



1.0 course

Lutheran Confessional Writings
(or denominational option)
1.0 course
IC2630 through IC2637
Interpreting and Confessing for the World
(core elective)
1.0 course

CONCENTRATION COURSES (total required: 7.5 courses)


Ministry with Children, Youth and Family: Theological and Theoretical Frameworks

1.0 course


Children, Youth and Families In the Church and its Mission

1.0 course


Children, Youth and Family Ministry for the Sake of the World: Senior Seminar

1.0 course




Choose from the list of courses to total 4.5 courses:


Guided Reading and Research in Children, Youth and Family Ministry

0.5 course


Education I

0.5 course


Media and Technology in Parish Education

0.5 course


The Congregation as Confirming Community

0.5 course


Religious Education for the Young Child

0.5 course


Equipping People for Teaching and Learning

0.5 course


Engaging Scripture in the Midst of the Learning Community

0.5 course


Intergenerational Religious Education

0.5 course


Lutheran Nurture and Spirituality

0.5 course


Theologies of Childhood

0.5 course


Children of Many Cultures and Contexts

0.5 course


Proactive Ministry in a Media Culture

1.0 course


Foundations of Educational Leadership

1.0 course


Equipping the Laity for Ministry

0.5 course


Singleness, Marriage, and Family

0.5 course


Pastoral Care of Children

0.5 course


Pastoral Care in Alcohol and Drug Addiction

1.0 course


Human Sexuality and Christian Faith

1.0 course


Communicating the Gospel With Teenagers

0.5 course


Pastoral Care with Youth and Their Families

1.0 course


Youth Ministry in Urban Settings

1.0 course


Home and Congregation: Partners in Ministry

0.5 course


Developing Student Leaders and Peer Ministry

0.5 course


Leadership in Youth and Family Ministry

1.0 course


Ministry with Young Adults

1.0 course


Youth, Culture, and Consciousness

1.0 course


Faith and Mission Practices with Youth and Their Families

1.0 course


Discipleship and Vocation with Youth and Their Families

0.5 course


(Courses to total two full courses—any combination from any division)

With deliberate course selection, this concentration will normally fulfill the academic requirements for rostered ministry in the ELCA as an Associate in Ministry, Deaconess or Diaconal Minister and may fulfill requirements for similar programs in other denominations. For more information contact Krista Lind, Director of the Student Resource Center.