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November 16, 2020Leadership

Introducing a Graduate Cohort for Executive Pastors

Lots of executive pastors have stepped into a role without seminary, so we've created a modular, cohort program for XPs who want to learn more in community with other XPs.
Introducing a Graduate Cohort for Executive Pastors
Image: Dylan Gillis/Unsplash

Leading the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College is a great joy. We’ve seen our program grow exponentially, and the current pandemic has not slowed us down.

One of the advantages of our program is that we are launching cohorts in specialized areas. These cohorts take many of the same classes that all our students do— studying courses from leadership, bible, theology, and more. And, of course, taking them with the world class professors that make up the Wheaton College Graduate School.

We have also been launching cohorts around specialized areas of ministry, including church planters, rural pastors, pastors of large churches, missions pastors, etc. (Email us for information on any of these: mml@wheaton.edu.)

Today, I want to tell you about our new cohort for Executive Pastors (XPs).

The XP Role

Many XPs come from the business world or from inside the church and often did not have the opportunity to attend seminary. In addition, executive pastor (XP) roles have reached an age of professionalization and complexity that warrants advanced study and preparation. Executive pastors are in a unique position as leaders in the church. So, at Wheaton College we are offering an opportunity for XPs to increase their effectiveness as leaders, while learning with other XPs in a cohort.

The M.A. in Ministry Leadership is a program that will provide thought-leadership and practical expertise for church ministry. Eric Geiger and I, along with other world-class professors, will teach this practical program that fosters the holistic development of spiritual maturity, theological integration, and skilled leadership.

Cohort Launching in February

We are launching this cohort specifically designed for Executive pastors with a gathering February 22-27, 2021 at Mariner’s Church in beautiful Southern California. This cohort is for you to earn a master’s degree that is specifically focused in and around your area of ministry and ideally, applicable to your current role.

This cohort is designed to be rich both in knowledge and practice. The cohort model allows leaders in the same ministry field to learn from one another, network, and to spur one another on with encouragement. We will hold week-long classes at Mariners Church in Irvine, California in the fall and at Wheaton College in the spring and/or summer. In addition, some courses will be online.

Why Study?

Don’t miss this—you will be taking classes with other executive pastors at Wheaton College, a school known for the highest levels of academic excellence. You will be covering areas unique to your field and role, but also the general courses that pastors and church leaders would want to engage at a seminary level.

Matt Chandler, who is a student in a cohort that met just a couple of weeks ago, explained it like this:

We have a tendency, if we're not careful, to get stuck—to stop learning or feel like we've arrived in learning. I think that if you look at it historically, the men and women who lead well to the end are men and women who have been committed to being challenged, to having their ideas critiqued, to not resting on "I figured this out once and for all," but have continually sharpened what they know.

I think if you've got the ability and the bandwidth to do something like this, with the support of your church, you should just do it.

We’d love to have you join us. Now is the time to let us know if you might be interested and how we can help!

For more information, check the Executive Pastor webpage or email mml@wheaton.edu

To apply, go to Wheaton Graduate Admissions and begin your application now!

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Introducing a Graduate Cohort for Executive Pastors