Christian Leadership Career Paths
Published by Calvin Seminary
What Is Christian Leadership?
Christian leadership involves applying prayer, the leading of the Holy Spirit, biblical and theological knowledge, and Christ-like servant leadership to your work in any vocational sphere. There is no one role in which Christian leadership is important—the world needs Christ-centered leaders in all areas.
Types of Christian Leadership
These are just a few examples of Christian leadership. Wherever you find yourself as a believer, you can exercise Christian leadership within the priesthood of all believers.
- Church leadership: Church leadership can refer to pastoral roles, church staff, denominational leadership, parachurch organizations, and more.
- Community leadership: Christian leadership can support community efforts such as nonprofits or non-governmental organizations, faith-based initiatives, and government.
- Thought leadership: Christian thought leadership allows writers, scholars, and speakers to go deeply into topics, share their ideas, collaborate with others, and engage in civil discourse.
- Business leadership: Christian leaders are needed in the business world, putting ethics in action and using wealth and entrepreneurship in faithful ways.
- Spiritual leadership: Pastors and spiritual directors offer spiritual guidance from Scripture to their congregation, workplace, and community.
- Family leadership: Christian leadership makes a difference in homes and families. Caring for anyone at any stage, from infancy to adulthood, is an important task that is best done with intentionality and God’s help.
- Nonprofit leadership: Nonprofit leaders live out their organization’s mission to serve in their community and area of influence. Seeing their role as working for shalom can frame the efforts of Christian nonprofit leaders in important ways.
- Worship leadership: Worship leaders can guide God’s people in using the worship arts to turn their hearts to God, worship God in community, and live lives that glorify our creator.
- Missional leadership: Missionaries and other missional leaders carry the good news of the gospel, plant churches, and nurture communities of disciples in a variety of contexts.
Christian Leadership Principles
The courses at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) connect to and serve toward meeting the needs of the world. CTS courses teach these key principles:
- Follow God: Know and understand God’s purposes for the world.
- Be the Church: Think deeply and prayerfully about what the Church needs to be doing to be involved in what God is doing in the world.
- Serve and resource the Church: Empower the people of God and equip all believers in participating in God’s mission on earth.
Christian Leadership Jobs
Christian leadership can prepare people for a variety of jobs both inside and outside of the church.
In the Church
- Pastor: Guide and lead a congregation through preaching, discipleship, and pastoral care.
- Youth pastor or children’s pastor: Engage youth of a certain age with the truth of the gospel, discipleship opportunities, and purposeful programming.
- Worship pastor: Gather together communities of believers to worship God and experience Him through a variety of worship arts and practices.
In the World
Christian leadership can also happen outside of traditional church ministry. Here are just a few examples of how theological education can strengthen Christian leadership in other roles:
- Chaplain: Serve in a specific context, such as a branch of the military, or a hospital, to offer pastoral care.
- Teacher or Professor: Teach students at a pre-K–12, undergraduate, or graduate level. Be a mentor who helps to shape hearts and minds for their future.
- Clinical Mental Health Counselor: Serve as a professional clinical mental health counselor, employing a theological education to help your clients discover who they are and how they want to engage the world around them.
- Business owner: Be a Christian business owner and entrepreneur who acts with justice and ethics, supporting those you employ and the clients you serve with dignity, respect, and value.
- Nonprofit director: Receive a theological education as a firm foundation to your nonprofit work, supporting people and causes you care about.
Tips for Pursuing a Career in Christian Leadership
1. Consider Christian Leadership Training Opportunities
Christian leadership training is offered through a variety of methods: one-time courses, certificate programs or, for the most thorough approach, master’s-level degrees or higher. In particular, the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership degree is a helpful resource for leaders in training.
Christian Leadership Degrees
The MA in Christian Leadership at CTS is a degree designed for leaders in all sectors. Because your electives are customizable, and because your concentration credits constitute a significant portion of your learning, you will have many opportunities to make this degree your own.
Other master’s degrees at Calvin Theological Seminary offer learning and training in specific areas. Along the way, the Vocational Formation Office serves as a resource for you and offers self-assessment tools, mentorship, and real-world experience.
If you already hold a master’s degree, grow as a leader through the renowned Doctor of Ministry program.
2. Evaluate Christian Leadership Schools
Consider a school’s available certificates, degrees, and training options to see if they align with your vocational goals. Also be sure to consider the school’s faculty and your ability to access their insights and work with them one-on-one.
Calvin Theological Seminary is a clear choice for students to learn about Christian leadership. CTS offers learning for Christian students of all backgrounds through a Reformed perspective. Here you will learn about Christian leadership from experts in biblical studies and theology who truly care about you, all while you prepare for a career in your field of calling.
3. Explore Christian Leadership & Growth
There are a variety of jobs you can pursue if you desire to grow as a Christian leader. You can even grow as a Christian leader within your current position.
Explore these excellent resources for Christian leadership and growth:
- Your Guide to the Seminary Search, a free downloadable resource
Develop as a Christian Leader at Calvin Seminary
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