Department of Practical Theology

The Department of Practical Theology offers two majors: Christian ministries and youth and family ministries; and four minors: Christian ministries, youth and family ministries, sports ministry, and youth outreach and discipleship.

Practical Theology Covenant

When students declare one of the majors in the Department of Practical Theology, they commit to participate in a community narrative that begins with the signing of a Community Covenant based on the biblical model of faithfulness and mercy. The covenant includes a commitment to integrity, appropriate conduct, local church ministry, and academic and university requirements; a submission of references; and participation in required department activities. The covenant must be submitted to the department when the major is declared.

Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Formation General Education Requirements for All Department of Practical Theology Majors

UBBL 100Introduction to Biblical Literature: Exodus/Deuteronomy (Do not take if transferring in 60+ units))3
UBBL 230Luke/Acts (Must take if transferring in 60+ units)3
UBBL 3XX-4XXApproved Additional General Education (Biblical Studies Course)3
MIN 108Christian Life, Faith, and Ministry3
THEO 303Theology and the Christian Life3
Select one of the following:3-4
Introduction to Philosophy
Core Texts in Philosophy (3 units on the Azusa campus; 4 units at the High Sierra Semester)
Select one of the following:3
Senior Seminar: Church and Society
Senior Seminar: Theology and Social Issues
Senior Seminar: Biblical Theology and Ethics
Total Units21-22


Beyond core requirements, students in both majors must choose a concentration. Based on a student’s primary interests, the choice of concentration enables the student to begin to prepare for postbaccalaureate work in related ministry fields, and affords the student the opportunity to work in ministry settings that accentuate his/her strengths, abilities, and passions. One concentration must be chosen from the following:

  • Church and Pastoral Ministries Practices
  • Intercultural Christian Ministries
  • Ministry in Urban and Social Service Contexts
  • Sports Ministry
  • Youth Outreach and Discipleship

MIN 108, Christian Life, Faith, and Ministry, 3 Units

The theological, educational, and social bases for ministry and service are examined. An analysis of the church's responsibility and methods for carrying out the ministry mandate of Jesus is emphasized. Meets the General Education Requirement: Christian Life, Faith, Ministry. 

MIN 200, Contemporary Christian Ministry, 3 Units

This course exposes students to various ministry contexts and vocations while beginning their formation of a philosophy and theology of ministry. Emphasis is placed upon the theological, philosophical, and practical viability of current ministry models while identifying unique emphases relevant to particular contexts. Students engage in an assessment of their own personal gifts, personality traits, and ministry calling in light of exposure to ministry options.

Prerequisite: Pre-requisite or Co-requisite: MIN 108

MIN 253, Evangelism and Discipleship, 3 Units

This class develops a biblically informed approach to evangelism and discipleship as a central purpose of the Church. Students explore these purposes in light of Jesus' mission statement, "Go and make disciples of all nations," (Matt. 28:19). This course carefully examines the necessary building blocks to produce an evangelistic, disciple-making church/community with a significant focus on understanding the process of spiritual formation individually and corporately.

Prerequisite: GPA 2.5; MIN 200 and WRIT 200. Youth Outreach and Discipleship Minor: WRIT 200 or MINY 174

MIN 300, Writing 3: Culture and Ministry, 3 Units

This course helps students understand the interplay between cultural awareness and effective ministry. Cultural forces are constantly shifting so emphasis is placed on ethnographic principles and practices as valuable to a minister in order to effectively engage people in various contexts. It will also invest considerable time inside and outside the classroom into enhancing students' written communication as an invaluable tool for expressing their ideas clearly and in a convincing fashion in contemporary cultural contexts. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

Prerequisite: MIN 200, WRIT 200, Junior Standing & GPA 2.5

MIN 336, Family Development and Ministry, 3 Units

This course equips students to design and apply practical theology methods and programs that empower the family. Specific focus is placed upon the family in its cultural setting, and the development needs of various family members at particular stages of life.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200 and PSYC 290; Completed Humanities: Social Science General Education requirement.

MIN 350, Mentoring and Small Groups, 3 Units

The theology and practice of mentoring and small group involvement is studied in the context of relational discipleship and spiritual formation. Topics for study include leadership, group formation, group dynamics, small group models and purpose, program development, the range of mentoring possibilities, communication models, and models for spiritual transformation.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MIN 401, Christian Ministry Internship I, 3 Units

This course develops a student's ability to blend Christian theology and Christian practice by integrating classroom learning, hands-on practice, spiritual formation, mentoring, and critical reflection on the practice of the Christian faith. Course work covers: biblical and theological foundations of Christian practice, the context in which the Christian faith is to be practiced, and the dynamic relationship between the two. Students are required to serve an average minimum of 6 hours per week in hands-on field experience. Students must also participate in small groups for reflection, mentoring, and spiritual formation.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200, MIN 300, THEO 303, two General Education UBBL courses, and GPA 2.5.

MIN 402, Christian Ministry Internship II, 3 Units

This course is a continuation of the first semester and has a similar format in terms of classroom experience, field experience, and small groups. It further develops a student's ability to blend Christian theology and ministry by utilizing a method of reflecting theologically on the practice of Christian faith and facilitating the ability to clearly state and defend one's own theology for Christian ministry. Students are required to serve an average minimum of 8 hours per week in hands-on field experience.

Prerequisite: MIN 401

MIN 417, The Art of Leadership, 3 Units

This course teaches students to critically integrate Christian theology with best leadership practices in church ministry and non-profit ministry environments. The course equips students to create actions and practices that have a positive, transformative Christian impact in the lives of those we serve and those who serve with us. Students will learn to develop these actions and practices in their internships.GPA 2.5, WRIT 200, THEO 303, two General Education UBBL courses.

Corequisite: MIN 401

MIN 495, Topics in Ministry, 3 Units

This course engages in a focused and intensive study of particular topics of direct relevance and urgency in the practice of Christian ministry and youth ministry. Topics vary from semester to semester, and this course may be taken more than once as topics change.

MIN 496, Senior Seminar: Church and Society, 3 Units

Students use practical theology methods learned in class to create an integrated Christian response to a contemporary social issue. It considers the ethical, spiritual, and community causes and impacts of social issues and teaches students to develop informed Christian responses to them. This course is taught in a seminar format that includes a major paper and two presentations. Meets the General Education Requirement: Integrative and Applied Learning. 

Prerequisite: MIN 300, Writing 3; Senior standing and completion of the majority of the units required for Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Formation.

MINC 105, Introduction to Global Vision, 1 Unit

Students are exposed to opportunities for Christian service abroad while gaining an overview of the present progress of the Great Commission. Does not count toward the Christian ministries major.

MINC 110, Introduction to Intercultural Christian Ministries, 3 Units

Students are exposed to intercultural Christian service opportunities while gaining an overview of the present progress of the Great Commission. Requires participation in spring or summer short-term mission experience through the Institute of Outreach Ministries or an APU sponsoring office with final grade 'In Progress' until deadline for service requirement reflection is reached. This course serves as a prerequisite for the Intercultural Christian ministries concentration. Students must complete all course requirements by the first day of the fall semester.

MINC 318, Theology and Practice of Ministry, 3 Units

The life and work of the Christian pastor is studied with attention to the broad range of duties, rituals, and responsibilities for which the contemporary Christian pastor is expected to have competency. Topics for study include administration of sacraments, church finance, staff administration, worship, church boards, pastoral visitation, and evangelism.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MINC 326, Effective Teaching in Christian Education, 3 Units

Students study the principles and procedures involved in effective classroom teaching: philosophies of teaching, methods, the teaching-learning process, motivation, guidance, integration, and evaluation.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MINC 330, Intercultural Ministries, 3 Units

The course provides an understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with intercultural ministry in and beyond the local church. Biblical, eschatological, missiological, socio-cultural and practical issues are explored with the goal of providing conceptual tools for analyzing, adapting, and creating practical ways to respectfully reach, embrace and engage those from diverse cultural contexts as members of the body of Christ. Meets the General Education Requirement: Intercultural Competence. 

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MINC 346, Ministry to the City, 4 Units

This course provides the student with a broad introduction to the unique challenges and opportunities for Christian ministry in an urban context with special attention to some of the most effective methods and tools for doing urban ministry. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own lifestyles and future ministry choices in light of the needs of the city and the response of the gospel in meeting human need. Exposure to city life and church-based organizations working for the shalom of the city provide a dynamic context for the various learning activities in this course.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MINC 370, Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling, 3 Units

Pastoral counseling as a specialized ministry within the field of pastoral care will be explored didactically and practically in the preparation of persons who plan to do pastoral counseling and pastoral psychology. This course will engage in interdisciplinary examination of the physiological, cultural, theological, and biblical understanding of care and counseling. A survey of counseling theory from an integrative perspective, with attention to particular ministry issues will be incorporated into a practical format in a community setting.

Prerequisite: MIN 200, WRIT 200, and completed Humanities: Social Science General Education requirement.

MINC 405, Christian Mission in the 21st Century, 3 Units

This course is an introduction to the biblical, historical, and theological foundations of missions in a contemporary world setting, both globally and locally. The call, context, and preparation for missionary service are examined.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200 (not required for non-youth ministry/Christian ministries majors).

MINC 406, History and Philosophy of Christian Education, 3 Units

The history of educational theory, with emphasis on objective and philosophical problems and biblical bases, is covered in this course.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200

MINC 408, Principles of Preaching, 3 Units

This course offers a study of classical homiletics and a variety of sermonic methodologies. Sound hermeneutical principles in exegesis of Scripture and the worship setting of the sermon with emphasis on the delivery of effective expository sermons in the contemporary world are covered.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200, MIN 200, UBBL 3xx/4xx.

MINC 416, Communicating the Gospel, 3 Units

This course assists the student in following Jesus' model of a people "filled with grace and truth" (John 1:14). Special attention is given to writing, speaking, teaching, interpersonal communication, body language, problem solving, and other critical tasks necessary to being a Christian and carrying out the Great Commission.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200, MIN 200, UBBL 3xx/4xx.

MINC 420, Suffering: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Disabilities, 3 Units

This course examines theological perspectives to understand the role of suffering in the human experience. Focusing on persons with disabilities, students explore their personal values, gain understanding of bio-psycho-social-spiritual components of disability, access available resources, and develop strategies to help churches/agencies develop inclusive programs.

Prerequisite: 3 units of UBBL Junior Standing

MINC 446, Children's Educational Ministries, 3 Units

Childhood development, the needs of children in contemporary society, and biblical and theological perspectives on children are examined, with an emphasis on discerning the church's role in nurturing spiritual formation in the faith community.

Prerequisite: MIN 200, WRIT 200 and PSYC 290; Completed Humanities: Social Science General Education requirement.

MINC 456, Ministry Organization and Administration, 3 Units

This course examines the process of ordering the ministry of the church or parachurch community for the greatest effectiveness. This order is to be understood theologically as a means of creating the most ideal context possible for the Holy Spirit to minister to and through people. All aspects of strategic planning, church organization, and administration are addressed.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MINC 466, Adult Development and Spiritual Formation, 3 Units

The course examines the process and contexts by which adults mature engaging biblical and theological foundations for adult development and spiritual formation that takes adult characteristics, needs, life-cycle, and learning patterns into consideration.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200, MIN 300 and MINY 301 or department consent

MINC 467, Spiritual Transformation, 3 Units

The course examines the process and contexts by which persons mature, engaging biblical and theological foundations for spiritual transformation that takes developmental characteristics, needs, life cycles, and learning patterns into consideration. The course emphasizes community and individuals.

Prerequisite: MIN 300, MIN 301, or department consent

MINC 486, Urban Ministry Practicum, 6 Units

The practicum is intended to provide students with a broad understanding of urban life and ministry. The practicum develops a student's ability to interface theory and practice, theology and ministry, by integrating classroom learning, hands-on practice, spiritual formation, mentoring, and critical reflection on the practice of the Christian faith in an urban setting. During the practicum, the student is required to live, work, worship, and study in the city.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200, MINC 346 or MINC 487.

MINC 487, Exegeting the City, 3 Units

This course explores the development of a "hermeneutic" for understanding the built environment as a means to engage the city and enhance ministry opportunities. Discussion centers on physical, sensory indicators of community needs and resources. The goal is to more adequately contextualize Christian urban ministry. Topics include community mapping, needs assessment, resource identification, measurement of change, and strategic ministry development. Course work is taught at a graduate level, but undergraduates are welcome.

Prerequisite: MIN 200 and WRIT 200

MINC 497, Readings, 1-4 Units

This is a program of study concentrating on assigned readings, discussions, and writing arranged between, and designed by, a student of upper-division standing and a full-time professor. May be repeated for credit. An independent study fee is assessed for each enrollment in this class.

Prerequisite: WRIT 200

MINC 498, Directed Research, 1-4 Units

This course provides instruction in research design and technique, and gives students experience in the research process. The one-unit expectation encompasses no less than 30 hours of work with accompanying reading, log, writing, and seminar presentation within the department or in a university research symposium. No more than one unit may be used to fulfill preparatory readings requirement. An independent study fee is assessed for each enrollment in this class. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Standing

MINY 172, Foundations of Youth Outreach and Discipleship I, 1 Unit

This course provides an introduction to YoungLife, as well as a theological and practical foundation for students interested in Young Life leadership. Students investigate the theology of the incarnation and evangelism, and begin to develop a personal theology of ministry. Site visits to local schools and YoungLife clubs, coupled with relevant readings, will expand students' understanding of the complexities of current adolescent culture.

MINY 174, Foundations of Youth Outreach and Discipleship II, 2 Units

Building upon MINY 172, this course further equips YoungLife leaders by challenging students to engage various theological topics, promoting their own understanding and spiritual formation. Students will develop the ability to articulate their own faith, as well as the theological foundations informing it. Following the YoungLife format, students will construct and deliver several club talks. Practical issues such as time management, logistics, legal issues, and dealing with difficult adolescent/family issues will be addressed.

Prerequisite: MINY 172

MINY 226, Studying and Teaching the Bible, 3 Units

This course helps students develop skills in biblical exegesis and teaching biblical principles to youth. Emphasis is placed upon evaluating students' ability to teach the Bible in settings both inside and outside the classroom.

Prerequisite: MIN 108, UBBL 100 or UBBL 230, or department permission

MINY 301, Adolescent Development and Family Ministry, 3 Units

This course equips students to design and apply practical theology methods and programs that empower the family. Specific focus is placed upon the behavioral characteristics and the social development of adolescents, including identity, cognitive, moral, emotional, and spiritual development, and faith formation.

Prerequisite: MIN 200, PSYC 290, completed Humanities: Social Science General Education requirement, junior or senior standing, or department consent.

MINY 305, Integration of Faith and Sports, 3 Units

This course examines biblical, theological, philosophical, and psychological foundations of sports ministry. The course includes a brief history and philosophy of sports ministry, including successful and unsuccessful models beginning with New Testament models for using sports in ministry to the present formation of the National Association of Church Sports and Recreational Ministries (CRSM). Theology foundations include a theology of competition, victory, unity, character formation, and sportsmanship.

MINY 320, Organization and Administration of a Sports Ministry, 3 Units

This course provides students with the practical and theoretical resources to be an effective leader of sports ministry programs in church and parachurch settings. Students are provided with academic experiences both inside and outside the classroom to be proficient in program development and implementation, budgeting, goal setting, ministry evaluation, and staffing.

Prerequisite: MIN 108

MINY 400, Christian Values and Human Sexuality, 3 Units

This course involves an interdisciplinary examination of physiological, sociocultural, psychological, and theological bases of human behavior with attention devoted to student's development of a personal perspective toward sexuality that integrates Christian values and moral integrity. Students learn to assess and understand an adolescent's sexual develoment, problems, and issues that relate to sexological and moral development.

Prerequisite: MIN 200, MINY 301, or department consent.

MINY 403, Adolescent Issues and Intervention, 3 Units

This course introduces the student to the basic skills and practice of counseling adolescents. The course serves as counseling "first-aid", meaning that students learn basic helping skills but do not qualify as professional counselors. Students are exposed to counseling issues and problems that grow out of the development process, disorders that begin with/are unique to adolescence, and intervention, prevention, and referral strategies. Students also examine a philosophy of counseling from a practical theology and biblical perspective.

Prerequisite: MINY 301

MINY 451, Sports Ministry Field Experience, 3 Units

This course integrates theories and praxis learned in course study with hands-on leadership experiences while under the supervision of an APU professor and ministry professionals. Students serve in a sports ministry setting (either church or mission agency) at least 72 hours during the semester while also participating in a small group to facilitate reflection, mentoring, and growth. For the Sports Concentration, this course must be taken before senior year.

Prerequisite: MINY 305 or MINY 320; Completed Humanities: Social Science General Education requirement.

MINY 478, Senior Preparation in Sports Ministry, 1 Unit

This course connects seniors pursuing a sports ministry concentration with the world of the professional sports minister.

Prerequisites: MINY 305 or MINY 320



Matthew Elofson, Ph.D.

Director, Youth Ministry Program

Cheryl Crawford, Ph.D.


Cheryl Crawford, Ph.D.

Matthew Elofson, Ph.D.

Paul Shrier, Ph.D.

Associate Professors

Michael Bruner, Ph.D.

Gregory Moder, D.Min.

Kirsten Oh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Jennifer Buck, Ph.D.