By Jeff Snell, Dean of the School of Congregational Ministry
In January 2023, Johnson’s School of Intercultural Studies (ICS) and School of Congregational Ministry (SCM) are combining to form a new school: the School of Christian Ministries. Based on surface appearances, this transition might seem a mere reorganization or even an effort to deemphasize the distinct contributions of each or either school. Quite the contrary! I’m excited about this proactive and strategic decision as we position ourselves for kingdom impact amidst the challenges and opportunities of this unprecedented era. As these two schools link arms in direct partnership, three features come to mind.
The current ICS and SCM will continue to have distinct faculty, degree offerings, and emphases. The Department of Cross-Cultural Leadership within the new School of Christian Ministries will prioritize global evangelism and discipleship. The Department of Ministry Leadership within the School will focus on equipping pacesetting servant leaders for churches and organizations that serve alongside them. Each will remain faithful to Johnson’s historic commitments as framed by the current JU mission statement.
We are confident the perspectives and values embodied in each department will improve our ability to equip students in our current degree programs. For example, the newly redesigned Bachelor of Arts degree in Ministry Leadership provides space in its core, concentrations, and electives for students to grow in cross-cultural intelligence and awareness. The transferable leadership and teaching skills in that degree will help current ICS students deepen and broaden their influence.
Christian leaders throughout the world are prayerfully exploring the opportunities and embracing the challenges created by multiculturalism and globalization. The combined expertise and experiences within the School of Christian Ministries position Johnson to remain a creative contributor to that conversation. Some of our students will serve in established roles but in fresh ways, while others will have titles and responsibilities that don’t even exist yet. We envision opportunities to equip leaders for the emerging multicultural and bi-vocational church environments, for example. Similar opportunities exist in cross-cultural leadership majors as distinctions between marketplace and ministry are disappearing.
Kingdom leadership has always required biblical grounding, spiritual depth, and relational skill. We are convinced this partnership will help graduates from the School of Christian Ministries demonstrate each of those characteristics with cultural sensitivity and savvy–regardless of where or how they serve.