Graduate Department of Theology

The Graduate Department of Theology at Rochester College provides an excellent opportunity for men and women called to professional or lay ministry to pursue quality graduate education integrated with real life ministry that prepares students for a lifetime of faithful service and vibrant discipleship. The Master of Religious Education in Missional Leadership (MREML) is built upon a solid biblical, theological, and pastoral foundation, and is an ideal degree for anyone committed to leading within the church who is wrestling with the implications of a practical and living gospel and its relationship to and with dynamic cultures.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. God-centered identity. 

    A missional leader, helping groups discern and join the mission of God, leads from a God-centered identity. Their identity in ministry comes first, not from their role, but their practice of the presence of God.

    • Understands God’s life as a community and the life of the missional leader as a participation in this reality.
    • Cultivates practices in a community of discernment that foster an on going sense of participating in God’s life.
    • Demonstrates an awareness of how a God-centered identity is crucial for the work of change necessary for congregations in the midst of change.
  2. Cultivating an ecology of the Word in missional communities.

    Missional leaders help communities discern the calling of God on their common life by attending to the Word of God.

    • An awareness of the main themes of the biblical testimonies in both Old and New Testaments.
    • Basic competencies in various reading strategies, e.g. historical-critical, literary, rhetorical, lectio divina, dwelling in the word.
    • An ability to pursue various reading approaches related to missional hermeneutics.
    • Ability to use Scripture in helping groups form vocational identity in God’s mission.
    • Prepare communities for articulating what it is they think God has called them too in God’s mission from a biblical perspective.
  3. Interpreting missional communities in light of the global story of Christianity.

    Missional leaders invite others into the ongoing story of God. As both bearers of the tradition and interpreters of the present moment in light of the life and purposes of God, missional leaders help their communities find faithful and relevant ways of embodying the mission of God.

    • Able to locate self and ecclesial tradition in relation to the larger story of Christianity, both historically and geographically.
    • Understands the mission of God in light of both the life of the Triune God and the coming future of God. (Trinity and eschatology).
    • Able to lead congregations in theological practices—that is, pursuing together the presence of a living God.
    • Embody God’s reconciling purposes for all of creation, both individually and communally.
  4. Interpreting and engaging local cultures in light of the mission of God toward the goal of missional innovation.

    Missional leaders interpret and engage their contexts culturally. They work toward the understanding of the gospel in a new cultural context and help communities embody those meanings in culturally appropriate ways.

    • Exhibiting a proficiency in basic ethnographic skills: thick description through interviews, journaling, and empathetic observation.
    • Capacity to interpret missional communities from cultural perspectives.
    • Demonstrate an awareness of how the gospel corresponds to the reality of a plurality of cultures.
    • Ability to lead groups through processes of cultural change.
    • Ability to help a missional community narrate the meaning of its life as an ongoing participation in the story of God.
  5. Inviting and enabling others to participate in God’s mission.

    Missional leaders help other find their place in God’s mission in relation to both the church and the world.

    • Ability to lead groups in discernment.
    • Leading through processes of action, reflection, and articulation.
    • Helping groups understand change and processes of change as they relate to God’s identity in mission,