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October 21, 2022

The Quality and Effectiveness of an Online Ministry Degree

Written By Grace Theological Seminary

Ask pastors and church leaders what makes their ministry effective and they will tell you it all comes down to relationships. Our bonds with one another make it easier to share burdens, hold one another accountable, and nurture our growth as followers of Jesus. Our connections make corporate worship feel more intimate, and our times of meeting are something we look forward to with greater fervency.

Likewise, we believe there is value in being together in shared spaces when training and developing leaders. So how can we ensure that the quality of an online ministry degree accomplishes the same level of effectiveness? We sat down with Dr. Trent Lambert, Director of the Center for Thriving Leaders and Director of M.A. in Ministry Studies Online, an online seminary degree program that has nearly doubled in the last year.

1. When did you first feel the call to ministry?

When I was twelve years old I accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior at an evangelistic meeting and had the inclination that night that I wanted to serve him in full-time ministry. This compulsion and desire grew over time. When I was in high school it became more clear that this was the pathway the Lord wanted for my life.

2. Can you tell us about some of your experiences? 

The most satisfying part of ministry has always been seeing lives changed. I have had the privilege to lead many people to a relationship with Jesus. Having a front-row seat to being a part of drastic life changes and witnessing them growing a strong faith has been a constant privilege. Being able to see people who were in my church or classroom making a kingdom impact through their spiritual walk is truly gratifying.

3. How did you transition into the world of seminary education?

My first full-time “ministry job” was teaching in a small bible college. When I started pastoring I kept teaching courses on the side and helped small bible colleges develop their online ministry degree programs. Over time, my passion for serving the Lord within the setting of training and equipping people in schools of ministry and seminaries outweighed other areas of ministry.

4. You oversee the Master of Arts in Ministry Studies at GTS. Give us some of the distinctives that you immediately think of with this program.

There is quite a list:

  • The seminary is ATS accredited.
  • We have qualified faculty who are still immersed in ministry.
  • Our content is relevant to the needs of ministry leaders in today’s context.
  • We offer flexible programming for working adults.
  • We have 100% online delivery options.
  • You can complete a degree in just two years.
  • You can personally interact with faculty.
  • Our programs are user friendly.


The quality and effectiveness of this online ministry degree program are integral to what we offer.

5. How do you ensure the quality is as high as a residential program?

Each course goes through a quality control process to ensure the content is updated and adheres to the course description. Instructors are vetted so that their academic and professional experience meets the content area of each course. The courses are designed by online developers to provide quality in teaching materials, proper assessments, and an easy-to-navigate online experience. Classes are monitored for student and instructor interaction and feedback. 

6. How were the program’s concentrations chosen and what do they offer?

We created unique concentrations to match the needs of the various pastors and ministry leaders who were looking for an online seminary degree in order to maximize impact. 

The ministry concentration is designed to equip ministry leaders for those seeking support positions and leadership positions in the local church.

The counseling concentration is designed to equip pastoral counselors and others with important ministry tools to help those who are hurting. 

The women’s leadership concentration provides opportunities for women who are already in ministry and are looking for quality training to develop their leadership skills.

We also have a couple of newer concentrations to meet the growing needs of the current church.

The technology concentration is designed to offer ministry leaders in our digital age creative thinking skills to better use technology equipment and applications to enhance ministry productivity and connections. 

The leadership and management concentration is designed to equip ministry leaders to integrate their ministry calling with business and leadership skills that can be applied in a variety of settings.

7. How do those who have completed the online program know they are ready to apply what they have learned?

Graduates continually contact our office to offer thanks for the program and to the faculty for their willingness to personally engage with them and mentor them. As online students, our students are often those who are on the ground level of doing ministry. Being able to apply their new-found knowledge immediately to their work context is invaluable for them.

8. What are some tips you have for people who are considering an online ministry degree program?

If you have a desire to start an online ministry degree, do not put it off until tomorrow. Plan your time wisely and prepare for each class by reading the course materials and staying in constant contact with your instructor. Take the step of faith, and watch how God uses your seminary education to expand your ministry’s effectiveness.

Learn more about our Master of Ministry Studies program today. Grace Theological Seminary takes your education seriously. Whether you study with us on campus or online, we will equip you for your benefit and those to whom you will minister and lead. Apply today, and get the seminary education you’ve been looking for!