Christian leaders minister in a complex and rapidly changing world. Effective leadership in this context requires a biblically-based philosophy of ministry, skillful analysis of cultural dynamics, the capacity to think and plan strategically, and the ability to lead and equip people to extend the kingdom of God in his world. Johnson University’s Master of Strategic Ministry program involves a partnership between the academy and the church that equips students for this kind of effective, strategic Christian leadership.

The program includes online coursework in strategic ministry, a study trip to Israel, and a 9-month ministry apprenticeship at a partner church in Peoria, Arizona or Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Snell serves as dean of the School of Congregational Ministry and as the Arizona residency director. Dr. Rory Christensen serves as the Florida residency director.

Application Deadlines

This program begins mid-June. Application deadline is April 15.


Dr. Jeff Snell
Program Director

Dept Contact


Students complete a Leadership Core and can choose a concentration in a specialty area. These may include church administration, intercultural studies, sports ministry, church planting, pastoral ministry, youth ministry, children and family, worship, and special needs.

Customized specialty areas in Florida are sometimes developed in partnership with church professionals at that location on an as-available basis. Throughout the program, apprentices are mentored by Johnson University instructors, some of whom serve on staff at the participating churches.


Courses may include:

  • Theology & Dynamics of Strategic Leadership
  • Contextual Implementation of Strategic Leadership
  • Congregational Leadership
  • People and Resource Management

For more details on this program, check out our academic catalog.



Graduates with this degree often serve as leaders in the local church. Because students may choose from a variety of concentrations, graduates with this degree include senior pastors, teaching pastors, church administrators, executive pastors, missions pastors, parachurch leaders, sports ministry coordinators, church planters, student pastors, children and family ministers, and worship pastors.