North Park’s Dual-Degree Program Revamped

CHICAGO (June 28, 2012) – The newly revamped dual-degree program available through North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS) and the university’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM) better integrates the two curriculums, school officials say.

“The degree programs are better balanced in such a way that it’s not two degree programs operating separately,” said Stephen Chester, NPTS professor of New Testament and acting associate academic dean. “This is an exciting and unusual opportunity for students.”

The revamped graduate dual-degree programs include two required courses in which students reflect on the relationship of faith and business issues, said Dr. Wesley E. Lindahl, SBNM dean and Nils Axelson Professor of Nonprofit Management.

The university offers dual-degree programs with six different possibilities. Students can earn one of three degrees offered by the seminary – Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian formation, and Master of Arts in Christian Ministry. Each of these degree programs can be combined simultaneously with one of two degree programs offered through SBNM – Master of Nonprofit Administration and Master of Business Administration.

Dual degrees have proved invaluable, say graduates.

Studying for dual degrees “allowed me to pursue my seminary education and pay attention to the part of me that loves to organize and manage detail,” says Erik Strom, executive director of Covenant Point Bible Camp in Iron River, Michigan.

“I would not be equipped for this had it not been my choice to pursue the dual degrees,” says Strom, who earned his Master of Divinity and Master of Nonprofit Administration degrees in 2007.

Prior to taking the camp’s executive director position, Strom served four years as youth pastor at Winnetka Covenant Church in Wilmette, Illinois. The organizational leadership he learned through SBNM enhanced his ministry, he says.

Steve Hoden, pastor of Palmyra Mission Covenant Church in Hector, Minnesota, and a former short-term missionary to Spain, says the dual degrees have helped him in this country and overseas.

Although he graduated from the university with a Bachelor Degree in Science in 2000, Hoden says he chose NPTS because of the dual-degree program.

Hoden almost immediately put his business skills to work in Spain while helping to establish an ecumenical bookstore to support a Covenant church plant.

In his current position, Hoden says, “I think as a solo pastor, the (dual degrees) make it easier to be in this type of position. I could have been called into this position without it, but I didn’t realize the level of administrative tasks that would come to me right away. There were high expectations from the congregation, and having this foundation is really helpful.”

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