Pre-Professional Programs Ministry
Advisor: Dr. Chris Franks
Is God calling you to Christian ministry? The purpose of pre-ministry advising at High Point University is to assist any student considering some form of ministry as a vocation, offering a number of activities and resources to support students’ theological exploration of ministry. In addition, HPU has several ordained ministers and lay leaders among its faculty and administration who are happy to engage in conversations with students about the many paths into ministry and about the sacrifices and rewards of a life of ministry.
Calling: Help discerning your call
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”—Jeremiah 1:7-8
The call to ministry is profound and identity-shaping, but many who have experienced such a calling describe it as more of a process than a sudden burst of clarity. Embarking on the vocation of ministry often involves a journey of discernment in which not only prayer and personal reflection play a role, but also friendship, mentoring, and community encouragement, as well as rigorous theological inquiry.
Discerning Your Vocation (by Victor Aloyo of Princeton Theological Seminary)
Discerning a Call to Ministry (by Susan Garrett of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary)
Has God Called You? Discerning a Call to Preach (by Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Discerning Your Call (Calvin Theological Seminary)
For Your Vocation (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Vocation and Education (Evangelical Lutheran Church)
PLSE (Presbyterian Church USA)
PLSE (Episcopal Church)
Ask the Question (United Church of Christ)
Candidacy Committee (Christian Reformed Church)
Call Waiting (Reformed Church in America)
Henri Nouwen. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. Crossroad, 1992.
William C. Placher, ed. Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation. Eerdmans, 2005.
Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy C. Bass, eds. Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be. Eerdmans, 2006.
Ann M. Svennungsen and Melissa Wiginton, eds. Awakened to a Calling: Reflections on the Vocation of Ministry. Abingdon, 2005.
Derek Cooper. So You’re Thinking about Going to Seminary: An Insider’s Guide. Brazos, 2008.
One of the goals of Pre-Ministry Advising at HPU is to foster community and connections that can support pre-ministerial students on their journey. These connections cannot replace the foundation, formation, and direction one finds through participation in a local church, but they provide many avenues for involvement in Christian leadership, theological study and reflection, worship, devotion, and service.
Theta Alpha Kappa
Bishop Thomas B. Stockton, Bishop-in-Residence
Dr. Carole B. Stoneking, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Phil Norwood, Associate Professor of Religion
Dr. Chris Franks, Associate Professor of Religion and Pre-Ministry Advisor
Dr. Joseph Blosser, Assistant Professor of Religion and Director of Service-Learning
HPU alumni are serving in ministry in a wide variety of settings in many places far and near. These alumni provide a valuable resource for current students to make connections and to learn about some of the paths that may lie ahead of them. Occasional events bring such alumni back to campus. Here is what some of them have to say about their experience at HPU.
“I am so grateful for the education that I received at High Point University. When I attended Princeton Theological Seminary, I felt just as qualified to tackle the rigorous academic assignments as those who graduated from Ivy League institutions and I was always proud to tell my fellow students that I graduated from High Point University.”
-Tara (Ebner) Bain, HPU class of 2000
“High Point University’s religion program prepared me for a call to ministry that I did not expect. I began HPU expecting to be a history teacher, but left with a passion for theological reflection that took me to Duke Divinity School and, eventually, a call to be the pastor of a local congregation.”
-Drew McIntyre, HPU class of 2005
“My time at High Point University was pivotal to my formation in ministry. The easy accessibility of professors, and the amazing chapel services prepared me for my education at Duke Divinity School as well as my time as a Student Pastor in a small rural church.”
-Laura (Wyant) Wittman, HPU class of 2007
“As a seminary student and part-time Youth Minister, I don’t think I could have been better prepared theologically or practically for life in the ministry after college than I was by the professors and classes at High Point University.”
-Dane Jackson, HPU class of 2008
Education for ministry can be expensive, and funding is often a significant concern for pre-ministry students. There are many organizations and communities that want to help. Here at HPU, we have a number of endowed scholarships associated with the Chapel and with the Religion & Philosophy Department, many of which are earmarked for pre-ministry students. Other HPU scholarships are also available for qualified HPU students.
If you are United Methodist, you can participate in the United Methodist Leadership Scholars program. Your local church contributes a $1000 scholarship to your education, and that $1000 turns into $3000 when it is matched by both HPU and the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation.
An important source of funding outside HPU for anyone considering ministry is The Fund for Theological Education.
Many denominational organizations and church bodies offer financial assistance to students considering ministry.
High Point University has a long tradition of successfully preparing students for graduate theological education and for lives of ministry. Recent graduates have gone on to some of the country’s best seminaries and divinity schools, including Asbury Theological Seminary, Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Duke Divinity School, Harvard Divinity School, Moravian Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Wake Forest Divinity School, and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Some students prepare by doing, taking up ministry positions in local churches, campus ministries, or mission organizations during their time at HPU. Students also have many opportunities to learn about various graduate theological programs and about what those programs look for in their incoming students. And all HPU students receive a strong liberal arts education that lays the groundwork for further theological study.
For more information about what courses to take at HPU, see the Undergraduate Bulletin, page 52.
For current local church employment, internship, or volunteer opportunities, contact the Pre-Ministry Advisor, Dr. Chris Franks.
Exploring Graduate Theological Education
One good way to get an overview of graduate school options for ministry is to peruse the website of the Association of Theological Schools.
Also, be aware of our occasional Theological Career Fair, which brings representatives of numerous seminaries and divinity schools to our campus.
Further, the Chaplain’s discretionary fund has resources to enable students to visit seminaries they are considering attending.