Master’s in Mental Health and Wellness Degree: Christian Ministry Emphasis

Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Christian Ministry

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Choose a Faith-Based Approach to Mental Health and Wellness

The mental health and wellness field may be a good career fit for future Christian leaders who already have an interest in nurturing the spiritual development of others. Explore a blend of mental health concerns and theological wisdom in Christian ministry courses as you earn your Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Christian Ministry degree at Grand Canyon University. You will have the opportunity to cultivate your own faith as you work through a Christian counseling curriculum that emphasizes Christian ministry and biblical principles. In Christian counseling courses online or evening classes, you can explore methods of supporting the spiritual, behavioral, functional and mental health of others in need.

This program is designed for professionals who may have some experience in the mental health and wellness field and want to elevate their degree, or for those interested in changing careers. This degree does not lead to licensure. Instead, you will explore means of integrating mental health concepts with a Christian worldview into your field of expertise as a working professional. Some professions may require additional career credentials or certifications.

Earn Your Master’s in Mental Health and Wellness: Christian Ministry Emphasis From GCU

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this master’s in mental health and wellness with a Christian ministry emphasis is an intensive survey of the intersection of Christianity and mental health. In Christian ministry courses, you will have the opportunity to closely examine the integration of psychology with Christian theology, and the roles of ethics and cultural diversity as they pertain to the mental health and wellness fields. Knowledgeable instructors provide you with practical guidance on research methods and best practices in Christian counseling and mental health applications.

As a modern university, GCU strives to meet the needs of adult learners. You can earn your master’s in mental health degree from virtually anywhere with our intuitive online learning platform. As an online student, you will have access to the same quality of instruction as our on-campus students, but with the added convenience and flexibility of taking Christian counseling classes online. Like our on-campus programs, an online education at GCU offers plenty of opportunities for academically stimulating discussions with peers and instructors, which you may use to explore various perspectives for a more well-rounded education.

For those able to travel to our campus in Phoenix, GCU is pleased to offer mental health and Christian ministry courses on a flexible evening schedule that can accommodate busy adult learners. With small class sizes and one class per week, many students find that our evening program offers the best of both worlds: the convenience of non-traditional course schedules blended with the camaraderie and in-person discussions of an on-campus cohort. Work toward your master’s in mental health with the schedule and format that best suits your needs. 

This master’s in mental health and wellness degree with a Christian ministry emphasis meets GCU’s mission critical competencies. These are critical thinking, effective communication, Christian worldview, leadership and global awareness, perspective and ethics. GCU strives to graduate individuals who are prepared to confidently enter the workforce as servant leaders, and who are dedicated to making a positive difference in their communities. Immerse yourself in Christian counseling curriculum that features faith-integrated courses.

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Estimated job growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors from 2022 to 2032.1

Topics Covered in These Mental Health and Christian Ministry Courses

Christian counseling learners are taught to become thoughtful servant leaders who have a keen understanding of contemporary mental health issues and how they relate to the Christian framework. This master’s in mental health and wellness with an emphasis in Christian ministry explores a broad range of topics that include the following:

  • The nature of God, humankind, sin and psychopathology from the Christian perspective
  • Common mental health and social issues seen in ministerial settings
  • Models of integrating psychology with Christian theology
  • Common mental health disorders, treatments and supportive services
  • Healthy practices within Christian ministry settings, with a look at compassion fatigue, burnout and self-care for the Christian helper

Connect with your peers and benefit from their perspectives as you examine theology, mental health and social issues. There is a focus on professional ethics, including the history of early ethical standards and their evolution into the modern ethical code. 

Dive Into Valuable Christian Counseling Skills 

In mental health and Christian ministry courses, you will explore life stressors within the ministerial context and develop a functional ministry plan that addresses them. You will examine the following attributes and functions of the Christian worker:

  • Physical health
  • Emotional wellness
  • Spiritual wellness
  • Healthy self-care practices
  • Professional roles
  • Professional boundaries

This degree program concludes with a capstone course, which provides a practical examination of the mental health and wellness fields, including relevant career paths and professional responsibilities.

Career Paths for Master’s in Mental Health and Wellness: Christian Ministry Emphasis Graduates

If you feel that God has called upon you to serve his children in faith, this master’s in mental health and Christian ministry may help prepare you to fulfill your life’s work. GCU graduates are taught to be equipped to spread God’s message while working to support the mental health and wellness of individuals and families. With a foundation of competencies in mental health and Christian counseling, you could decide to position yourself to potentially pursue leadership positions within:

  • Christian organizations
  • Churches
  • Faith-based groups
  • Nonprofit humanitarian entities

Other graduates may choose to work directly in the wider community, such as by pursuing positions within community health organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates job growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors to increase by approximately 18% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than average, accounting for the addition of an estimated 71,500 jobs in the field.1 Bring your Christian perspective to the mental and social health services and their allied professions. 

GCU Offers Institutionally Accredited Master of Science Programs

Take mental health and Christian ministry courses from an accredited university that prioritizes academic excellence. GCU has been institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1968, which is a reflection of our commitment to delivering comprehensive curriculum and quality instruction designed to prepare our learners to confidently pursue their professional objectives. For more information, visit our accreditation page. 

Master’s in Mental Health and Wellness: Christian Ministry Emphasis FAQs

Even if you’re certain that you wish to pursue Christian counseling work, it’s wise to take some time to reflect upon your intended career path and degree program. The following FAQs and answers may help guide your decision-making process.

Christian ministry workers are charged with nurturing the spiritual and emotional wellness of members in their faith communities. People can turn to their faith leaders in times of uncertainty and when trying to navigate various life obstacles. The wise counsel of a Christian ministry worker may help people find their way through difficult situations. Because of the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of others, you may find career paths within the Christian ministry to be personally fulfilling and meaningful, particularly if you feel called by God to serve him in this way.

Christian counseling and biblical counseling have a similar focus and aim, but they aren’t the same thing. A biblical counselor is typically someone who has a seminary degree. Biblical counselors take a completely spiritual approach to counseling, with no clinical background. In contrast, Christian counselors typically have a counseling degree, rather than a seminary degree. While their faith informs their approach, Christian counselors approach sessions from a clinical perspective.2

The requirements to work as any type of counselor in private practice are regulated by individual states. Although requirements can vary, there are some commonalities. All private practice counselors must have completed a relevant bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and supervised clinical experience hours in order to obtain a license.3 It may be possible to work as a Christian counselor without a license if you do not plan to work in private practice. However, even employers who are not legally mandated to require licensure may still either require or prefer it.4

There is a diverse range of denominations, faith traditions and social perspectives within the Christian church. Because of this, one faith tradition may have different views on mental health than other Christian faith traditions. In general, however, those who accept the teachings and love of Jesus Christ recognize that all Christians are made in God’s image, and those who struggle through dark times are just as deserving of acceptance, love and forgiveness as those who do not have a mental health disorder.5

If you feel called to serve others in God’s name, then Christian counseling and ministry work is one way that you might accomplish this. It may not always be easy to hear others’ stories of struggles and difficulties, but doing so provides an avenue to offer them insightful guidance that may help them move past their obstacles. If you find that helping people is a meaningful and fulfilling endeavor, then Christian counseling may be a good fit for you.

When you’re ready to pursue a career in mental health and Christian ministry, GCU is here to provide a pathway with accredited degree programs. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about this master’s in mental health degree program.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors, retrieved on Oct. 15, 2023. 

2 Miley, R. (2020, July 9). The difference between biblical counseling & Christian counseling. Crossroads Professional Counseling. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2023. 

3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, September 6). How to become a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselor. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2023. 

4 Grey, S. (2023, May 31). How to become a Christian counselor: skills and requirements. Forbes. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2023. 

5 Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (n.d.). Mental illness. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2023. 

Total Credits: 34
Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $575 per credit [More Info]

Course List

34 credits
Degree Requirements:
34 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 the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course is an introductory course in mental health and wellness practices. The purpose of the course is to develop a basic understanding of mental health and wellness practices and wellness approaches. An overview of mental health disorders, basic overview of treatment practices, and the Dimensions of Wellness are covered.

Course Description

This course covers ethics and cultural diversity as it relates to mental health and wellness. The history of ethics is addressed, including how early ethical models evolved into modern ethical codes in the mental health and wellness professions. How ethics relates to legal standards and issues such as records and billing are addressed. Cultural diversity, sensitivity, and competence are covered.

Course Description

This course explores relevant topics such as the nature of God and mankind, sin and psychopathology from a Christian worldview. A theology of pain and suffering from a biblical perspective is examined. A brief overview of mental health and social issues most likely to be seen in a ministry setting is explored.

Course Description

This course explores the historical intersection of faith and science and how they apply to a contemporary setting. Various models of integration of psychology and Christian theology are examined. Students formulate their own understanding of the reciprocal relationship between psychology and Christian theology and examine implications for a ministry setting. Prerequisite: MHW-511.

Course Description

This course examines the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the Christian helper. Focus is on maintaining vitality in ministry through healthy practices such as boundaries, spiritual disciplines, stress management, and healthy lifestyle practices. In addition, this course examines concepts of burnout, compassion fatigue, and trauma as it applies to ministry. Students explore the importance of self-care that entails a balanced approach to ministry.

Course Description

This course exposes the Christian worker to a wide variety of life stressors that are issues needing attention in a ministry context. Students develop a practical ministry plan to address these needs. Prerequisite: MHW-521.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of mental health, wellness, and health care, including the integration of these three fields. The course covers common mental health disorders, treatments, and supportive services, as well as an integrated focus on the mind and the body. The course examines the health challenges often faced by individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders, and it reviews appropriate services, interventions, preventative services, and treatments to achieve and maintain health and wellness.

Course Description

This course provides a practical, real-world exploration of the mental health and wellness field. Special focus is given to careers in mental health and wellness. The common duties and tasks performed by workers in the mental health and wellness field are investigated. Concepts covered throughout the program are examined through practical application. This course is the last course in the program of study; all other course work must be completed before this course.


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.

* 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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