Master’s in Family and Youth Ministry Degree

Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry

Offered By: College of Theology

Study How To Guide and Inspire Young Lives with a Master's in Youth Ministry

Youths and families have unique spiritual needs. Explore ways of engaging young people and provide pastoral guidance to them by earning a Master of Arts (MA) in Youth and Family Ministry. Offered by Grand Canyon Theological Seminary, this online youth ministry master’s degree may be well-suited to future youth pastors who have a passion for changing lives through transformative ministry. While you are examining ways of leading youths and families to grow closer to God, you will also be challenged to develop your own character, personal morality and spirituality as you examine key ethical issues pertaining to the ministry.
 

Benefits of Earning Your Master’s in Youth and Family Ministry Degree From GCU

At Grand Canyon University, you will be immersed within a Christian learning environment. As a potential future leader of youth and family ministry programs, you will examine ways of addressing the challenges of modern life with the wisdom of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This family and youth ministry master’s degree examines the major stages of human development — from childhood to adulthood. As you progress through the master’s in youth ministry curriculum, your instructors will discuss how to apply theological and biblical principles in ministry services for specific groups and family members. You’ll also examine ways of providing biblical care during the often tumultuous years of adolescent growth and development.

At GCU, we strive to go above and beyond to make higher education accessible to all — including to those with busy schedules. An online master’s in youth ministry degree provides the same quality of instruction as our on-campus degree programs, but with the added convenience and flexibility of accessing your course materials from virtually anywhere. While you work toward your youth and family ministry degree, you’ll have opportunities to engage in discussions with your peers and instructors via our interactive learning platform, as well as take advantage of online learning resources.

GCU offers master’s in youth ministry students the opportunity to earn their degree on a convenient evening schedule by completing on-campus courses. If you prefer face-to-face learning and have a busy schedule during the day, on-campus, evening courses may be more suitable for you. You will complete one course at a time and meet just once a week. 

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Family and Youth Ministry Program Coursework

GCU’s master’s in youth ministry degree program seeks to graduate students who are eager to serve their local communities and church organizations with compassion, competence and godly wisdom. Prepare to lead and inspire members of your Christian community and guide young people in staying on track to lead ethical, spiritual lives. The master’s in youth and family ministry degree meets GCU’s core domains and competencies:

  • Biblical foundations: Biblical principles, scriptural interpretation and the application of Scripture in youth and family ministry
  • Theological and historical foundations: The application of biblical, theological and historical understandings within the context of ministry
  • Spiritual and professional formation: Personal, spiritual and professional development as appropriate for future Christian leaders
  • Youth and family: Integrate faith formation and human development into effective youth ministry practices

Foundational Competencies for Youth and Family Ministry

The Grand Canyon Theological Seminary provides a solid framework for handling the complexities of youth and family ministry. You will begin with a comprehensive survey of the biblical and theological foundations of Christian ethics, while being taught to apply biblical interpretation as you explore the basic principles of biblical language tools and exegesis. Consider analysis of the practical dimensions of systematic theology and examine connections between biblical teaching and ministry.

In addition, this master’s degree encompasses the following content areas:

  • The text and historical background of the Old and New Testaments, including hermeneutics
  • The stages of human development and how they affect faith formation, with an emphasis on developmentally appropriate discussions of biblical and theological principles
  • Pastoral care and conflict resolution, especially during times of crisis
  • The cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, including revelation and salvation
  • The biblical foundations of youth and family ministry, including the contextualization of those foundations for modern challenges

Future youth pastors are required to complete supervised ministry hours. This gives you a chance to reinforce concepts covered in coursework within practical contexts.

Career Paths for Youth and Family Ministry Program Graduates

As the world continues to present evolving challenges to families and young people, youth pastors remain a steadfast source of spiritual comfort and guidance. Those who are interested in a master’s in youth ministry might pursue opportunities in the following settings:1,2 

  • Churches
  • Parachurches
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Social service entities
  • Educational institutions

Some specific roles that may be related to this online youth ministry master’s degree include the following:

  • Religious activities and education director
  • Religion teacher (postsecondary)
  • Philosophy teacher (postsecondary)

GCU Offers Accredited Ministry Degrees

GCU is an institutionally accredited university that emphasizes quality instruction across all of our degree programs, including ministry degrees. Our MA in Youth and Family Ministry program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). ATS accredits graduate programs that hold a commitment to shared values to promote and provide a good theological education, establishing guidelines that programs must meet in order to earn and maintain accreditation.


To learn more about how our accreditation reflects our commitment to education, visit our Grand Canyon Theological Seminary accreditation page. 

Master’s in Family and Youth Ministry Degree FAQs

The degree program you choose can have a significant influence on the course of your career. It’s wise to spend time reflecting upon your options before enrolling in a family ministry program. The following frequently asked questions and answers can provide a starting point for your career-related research.

Everyone is on their own unique path, and only you can determine if God has called upon you to serve as a family and youth minister. If you do feel called to serve in this capacity, you may find that you experience a sense of joy when empowering youths and families to tackle the challenges of modern life and to conduct their lives in accordance with the wisdom of the gospel. For those who desire to embrace biblical principles, you may find serving as a youth minister to be personally fulfilling and meaningful.

Grand Canyon Theological Seminary (GCTS) is the graduate school of GCU’s College of Theology. It offers youth and family ministry programs that teach advanced theological competencies grounded in biblical truth within the context of a rich graduate culture. GCTS strives to develop leaders, ministers and scholars who embrace God’s Word, and to equip the people of God for missional service within a rapidly changing world.

This GCU program requires a total of 38 credits for completion. Most of the online courses are eight weeks in length. To better understand how long it could take you to earn your degree, fill out the form on this page and request a consultation with a university counselor.

If you have a passion for changing lives through transformative ministry, GCU offers several opportunities to fulfill your goals. If you’re considering the youth and family ministry degree, a bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry could be a great path to this master’s program. This degree can provide a leadership foundation that may prepare you to work in ministerial settings in various capacities. To further enhance your qualifications as a future youth minister, you may choose to earn a master’s in youth and family ministry, which may require both coursework and supervised ministry hours. 

Some religious organizations might hire youth pastors who do not have a ministry degree or who possess a degree in an unrelated area. However, in most cases, aspiring youth pastors do need to earn a degree in a relevant area, such as youth ministry, theology or religious studies.3 Earning a degree in family and youth ministry can provide opportunities to develop one’s own faith, as well as to explore ways of connecting with youths.

An aspiring youth minister should be someone who is committed to live by the Word of God and who desires to inspire others to follow scriptural truths. If you feel called to become a youth minister, you should plan on earning a bachelor’s degree in a related area, such as Christian studies. There is a general preference for ministers who also hold a graduate degree in ministry. It’s also helpful to gain practical experience, such as through an internship, practicum hours or volunteer service in a church. In addition to formal education and experience, a youth minister should be an excellent communicator and public speaker, and should possess an understanding of youth-related issues.3

Prepare to encourage families and youths to embrace God and biblical principles in their daily lives. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about this master’s in youth and family ministry degree online at GCU.

1 Learn.org. (n.d.). Schools with youth ministry degree programs. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2023.

Indeed. (2022, Dec. 21). FAQ: What is a Christian studies and youth ministry degree? Indeed. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2023.

Indeed. (2022, June 24). How to become a youth pastor. Indeed. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2023. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 38
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
TUITION RATE:
Online: $575 per credit [More Info]

Course List

Major:
38 credits
Degree Requirements:
38 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in ministry and theology. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course examines the biblical and theological foundations of Christian ethics along with an analysis of the roles and responsibilities of gospel ministry. Significant attention is given to self-care, personal morality, and character formation as well as ethical concerns unique to ministers as they lead, equip, shepherd, and intercede for God’s people.

Course Description

This course is a study of the basic principles of evangelical biblical interpretation, exegesis, and application, especially in the context of ministry, including an introduction to the use of biblical language tools.

Course Description

This course analyzes the practical dimensions of systematic theology and assists students in making critical connections between biblical teaching and ministry within specific contexts. Emphasis is placed on faithful biblically rooted ministry, including a focus on prayer, evangelism, discipleship, and church leadership. This course requires supervised ministry hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 45.

Course Description

This course surveys the text and historical background of the Old Testament with an introduction to hermeneutics and the proper interpretation of the books of the Old Testament.

Course Description

This course surveys the text and historical background of the New Testament with an introduction to hermeneutics and the proper interpretation of the books of the New Testament.

Course Description

This course surveys cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, including revelation, God, humanity, Christ, and salvation. Emphasis is placed on the development of sound theology grounded in biblical understandings and practical wisdom for ministry. Some attention is given to the historical development of doctrine.

Course Description

This course provides a foundation for ministry to youth and families. Students consider biblical foundations for ministry to youth and families and how to apply and contextualize those foundations for today’s changing world. This course requires supervised ministry hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 45.

Course Description

This course helps students examine stages of human development and their impact on faith formation. Special attention is given to developmentally appropriate communication of biblical and theological content. Students develop strategies for discipling individuals and families. This course requires supervised ministry hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 45.

Course Description

This course equips students with basic skills for pastoral care and conflict resolution, with special emphasis given to caring for the soul of the leader as he or she ministers to people during times of crisis. This course requires supervised ministry hours. Practicum/field experience hours: 45.

Program Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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