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Wheaton in Profile

Undergraduate Student Life

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Conservatory of Music

Graduate Academic Policies and Information

Graduate Programs

Financial Information


College Calendar








Christian Formation and Ministry

Visit Department Website

Departmental Mission Statement

Requirements for Christian Education and Ministry Major and Minor

Requirements for Certificate in Christian Spirituality

Requirements for Certificate in Youth Ministry

Requirements for Certificate in Adventure Challenge Ministry

Wheaton Passage

Course Descriptions


Chair, Barrett McRay

Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation & Ministry, James Wilhoit

Associate Professors Laura Barwegen, Scottie May, Tom Schwanda, David Setran

Visiting Assistant Professor David Sveen

Associate Director, BGC Institute of Strategic Evangelism and Associate Professor Jerry Root

Director of HoneyRock and Assistant Professor Rob Ribbe

Director, BGC Institute for Prison Ministries Karen Swanson

Internship Coordinator and Instructor Dan Haase

HoneyRock Adventure Ministry Program Manager and Instructor Rick Masters


Disciple-making is central to the work of the Church in the world.  This is the educational ministry of the Church ~ to help people as they are being formed toward the likeness of Christ, and it is for this purpose that the Christian Formation and Ministry Department (CFM) of Wheaton College exists. Our mission is to facilitate the development of academically grounded, spiritually maturing, and practically skilled leaders who minister the Gospel and build up God's people in a constantly changing world.  We seek to nurture wisdom and compassion in students who are becoming…


Academically grounded in that they:


*       Articulate a biblical, theological, historical, and philosophical perspective of formation and ministry.

*       Identify a theoretical framework for ministry context analysis.

*       Demonstrate an understanding of the educational, spiritual, and ministry practices by which people mature in Christ.


Spiritually maturing in that they:


*       Demonstrate a life of discipleship and spiritual growth as the foundation of effective ministry.

*       Identify one's gifts and calling, responding to areas of strength and challenge in preparation for serving the needs of the church and the world.

*       Respect every person, valuing the diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and traditions within the church.


Practically skilled in that they:


*       Minister and teach effectively, integrating theory and scripture into creative practice with integrity, humility, and grace.

*       Serve collaboratively and compassionately, balancing the needs of others with adequate self-care.

*       Demonstrate the necessary skills of a ministry practitioner/scholar: critical analysis; oral communication; written communication; program evaluation.

Christian Education & Ministry Major and Minor

Undergraduates in the CFM Department earn a major in Christian Education and Ministry.  This is a liberal arts program that emphasizes biblical, theological, historical, and social science foundations integrated with traditional and contemporary philosophies and practices of ministry and spiritual formation.  Students are encouraged to mature in their personal walk with Christ and to develop patterns of deep personal integrity and reflection upon their experiences to prepare them for ministry. An internship is required. Internship applicants must exhibit the presence of essential ministry skills and dispositions, as well as demonstrate a commitment to growth in Christian virtues.

The Christian Education and Ministry major meets the undergraduate requirements for seminary study suggested by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).  Students contemplating graduate studies should consult with the institution in which they are interested to be informed of any particular undergraduate courses needed.  Students interested in an accelerated curriculum leading to the completion of a master’s along with their bachelor’s degree in only five years should consult with their advisors regarding the prerequisites for the Wheaton graduate program.

Requirements for the major are 36 hours, including a core of 32 hours plus 4 hours of electives.  The required core of 32 hours includes:

CE 111 Foundations of Ministry (2)

HNGR 112 Third World Issues (2)

HNGR 113 Transforming Poverty in the Majority World (2)

CE 219 Christian Formation Forum (0)

CE 221 Christian Spiritual Practices (2)

CE 222 Transformational Education (4)

CE 321 Teaching the Bible (4)

CE 322 Human Development and Ministry (4)

CE 341 Spiritual Theology (4)

CE 421 History and Philosophy of Christian Education (4)

CE 494 Senior Seminar (2)

CE 496 Internship (0)

CE 497 Internship Seminar (2)


Requirements for a Christian Education and Ministry minor are 20 hours, including CE 111 or HNGR 112 or CE 131, CE 221, 222, 341, 421, and CE 321 or CE 322.

Certificate in Christian Spirituality

Students may earn a certificate (available for CE and non-CE majors) in Christian Spirituality.  This program is offered in conjunction with the Biblical and Theological Studies Department and is intended to provide training which is both academically challenging and spiritually renewing.  Christian spirituality is an academic field that requires an interdisciplinary approach as we examine the lived experience of the Christian faith.  Students in this program will become acquainted with biblical and theological foundations, historical foundations and Christian spiritual practices.

Requirements for the Certificate in Christian Spirituality are 24 hours in CE and BITH courses.  Students take the required course(s) so designated in each foundational area (14 hours) and then take an additional 10 hours from any of the listed courses.

                Biblical and Theological Foundations

                                CE 341 Spiritual Theology: Knowing & Experiencing God (required)

                                BITH 389 Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

                                CE 345 Worship & Spirituality

                                BITH 461 Romans

                                BITH 391 Doctrine of Salvation


                Historical Foundations

                                CE 342 Classics of Christian Devotion: Hungering for God (required)

                                CE 343 Ancient Art of Lectio Divina

                                CE 344 Origins of Christian Worship

                                BITH 372 Historical Theology (required)

                                BITH 381 Spiritual Classics


                Christian Spiritual Practices

                                CE 221 Christian Spiritual Practices (required)

                                CE 232 Spiritual Guidance and Discernment

                                CE 321 Bible and Ministry

                                CE 471 Prayer


Students who complete the certificate in Christian Spirituality may choose to complete a major in Christian Education and Ministry or any other undergraduate major. Students choosing to add the Christian Education and Ministry major to this certificate must complete the following 18 hours to fulfill the requirements for the major: CE 111 or HNGR 112, CE 222, 322, 421, 494, 496, and 497.

Certificate in Youth Ministry

The purpose of the Youth Ministry Certificate is to equip and empower college students for leadership in disciple-making youth ministry. This certificate involves 24 hours of course work in the Christian Formation and Ministry Department.

Courses required for completion of this certificate include:

COMM 221 Interpersonal Communication (4)

CE 321 Teaching the Bible (4)

CE 322 Human Development and Ministry (4)

CE 335 Foundations of Youth Ministry (4)

CE 336 Care and Counsel in Youth Ministry (2)

CE 423x Discipleship (2)

CE 461 Leadership in Christian Ministry (2)

CE 496 Internship (0)

CE 497 Internship Seminar (2)


Students who complete the certificate in youth ministry may choose to complete a major in Christian Education and Ministry or any other undergraduate major. Students choosing to add the Christian Education and Ministry major to this certificate must complete the following 18 hours to fulfill the requirements for the major: HNGR 112, CE 221, 222, 341, 421, and 494.

Certificate in Adventure Ministry Leadership

The purpose of the Adventure Ministry Leadership Certificate is to equip and empower college students for leadership in adventure challenge ministry. This certificate involves 24 hours of course work in the Christian Formation and Ministry Department, 12 of which are taken during one summer semester at HoneyRock, Wheaton’s Northwoods campus.

Equipping and empowering for leadership must involve practice. As a result, students will have direct responsibility and interaction with campers in a variety of adventure challenge programs during the summer at HoneyRock.

Courses required for completion of this certificate include:

Wheaton Campus:

CE 111 Foundations of Ministry (2)

CE 321 Teaching the Bible (4)

CE 322 Human Development and Ministry (4)

CE 423x Discipleship (2)


HoneyRock Campus:

CE 452 Camp Ministry (4)

CE 453 Leadership Development for Ministry (4)

CE 472 Adventure Challenge Ministry (4)

CE 496 Internship (0)


Students who complete the certificate in adventure ministry leadership may choose to complete a major in Christian Education and Ministry or any other undergraduate major. Students choosing to add the Christian Education and Ministry major to this certificate must complete the following 18 hours to fulfill the requirements for the major: HNGR 112, CE 222, 341, 421, 494, and 497.

Visit Adventure Ministry Leadership Certificate website at HoneyRock

Wheaton Passage

Wheaton Passage is designed to introduce incoming freshmen and transfer students to spiritual formation and to ignite the Wheaton College experience for them.  Students will experience eight to eighteen days--depending on the chosen track--filled with adventure, challenge, and new friendships.  They will also be part of a mentoring relationship with Wheaton College faculty from various academic departments while enjoying the beautiful setting of HoneyRock, Wheaton’s Northwoods campus.

Students choose either the wilderness track (a 12-day wilderness trip), the urban track (7 days living and doing ministry in downtown Chicago) or the camp track (3 days at HoneyRock utilizing team building and challenge courses.)  All tracks culminate with 5 days at HoneyRock during which time a faculty member will join each of the established small groups and lead them through a curriculum based on the themes of foundations of a worldview, community, spiritual formation, and service. 

In addition to the program at HoneyRock, students will gather for two sessions over the fall semester with their faculty member. This time is designed to help students transfer their learning into the context of life at Wheaton. Faculty members will help students process through transitional issues that often arise during the first semester.  Through this experience, students earn 2 hours of elective academic credit (CE 131).

Visit Wheaton Passage website.

Christian Education Courses (CE)

CE 111. Foundations of Ministry. This course provides a foundation for the work of ministry through an introduction to evangelism and discipleship.  Through an overview of the ministry of Jesus, students will learn the basic principles involved in the kingdom work of presenting the Gospel and making disciples in an ever changing world. (2)

CE 131. Introduction to Spiritual Formation. Provides for the self-evaluation of personal faith and character and opportunities for expressing a greater commitment to life in Christ. Students choose one of three tracks-- wilderness expedition, urban track, or camp experience--which is combined with reading assignments, Scripture studies, and group discussions. Open to incoming students accepted to the Wheaton Passage wilderness, urban, or camp programs at HoneyRock held prior to fall semester. (2)

CE 219. Christian Formation Forum. Each semester, the CFM department will offer a forum on a topic related to the discipline.  The focus of these forums will be to expose students to key issues in the field and to foster interdisciplinary discussion.  Students majoring in CE will be required to attend 4 of these forums before graduation. Graded pass/fail (0)

CE 221. Christian Spiritual Practices. An introduction to Christian Spiritual Formation as the integration of theological understanding, faith, and spiritual practice. This laboratory course in spiritual formation explores the relational, spiritual and missional practices of the Christian spiritual life—Christian formation in community and service to the world (e.g., corporate worship, spiritual friendship, spiritual direction, small group accountability, hospitality, evangelism, compassion, social justice, creation-care). Students will study, practice, and theologically reflect on these as biblical, historical, and psychological perspectives are brought to bear on the experience of class members individually and in the context of congregational leadership. (2)

CE 222. Transformational Education. Considers historical educational theory and processes as well as current learning theory in light of the biblical genres. Includes various teaching methods and introductory curriculum development.

CE 231. Evangelism. Provides an overview of the Gospel, Great Commission, and Great Commandment. Emphasis is given to surveying the tools needed for the task of world evangelism with emphasis on personal preparation for one-to-one evangelism within a variety of contexts. (2)

CE 232. Spiritual Guidance and Discernment. This course is designed as a practicum experience in Christian spiritual guidance and discernment.  Out-of-class attention will be given to a protestant interaction with the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola and the experience of meeting with a spiritual guide or listener.  In-class lectures will entail seminar format discussion and debriefing of class readings and practices as they pertain to guidance and discernment. (2)

CE 259. Topics in Christian Education. Examines ministry concerns, problems, and trends in light of a holistic Christian Education theory. (2 or 4)

CE 321. Teaching the Bible. Designed to acquaint students, through both theory and practice, with the principles of effective biblical instruction. Methods of interpretation and literary aspects of the Bible are emphasized. Prerequisite: CE 222

CE 322. Human Development and Ministry. Explores the application of human development and other social science theory and research to Christian Education.  Spiritual development through the lifespan is highlighted, as well as the importance of understanding social context and organizational dynamics for effective ministry.

CE 333. Student Care in College Ministry. An introduction to the basic concepts and skills involved in the student care aspect of residence life ministry at Wheaton, including a brief overview of historic and biblical foundations for caring ministry, categories of student struggle most commonly experienced in college residence life ministry, rudimentary person-to-person helping skills, and small group supervision. This course is limited to residence assistants. (2)

CE 335. Foundations of Youth Ministry. Introduces students to biblical foundations, developmental and socio-cultural theories and research, historical and contemporary practice, and philosophy of youth ministry.

CE 336. Care and Counsel in Youth Ministry. An introduction to theory and practice integrating historic pastoral care and contemporary mental health care for the care and counsel of adolescents in youth ministry contexts. This course is designed to enable those in youth ministry to help adolescents and their parents understand and deal with contemporary issues--e.g., divorce, grief, suicide, conflict, etc. (2)

CE 341. Spiritual Theology: Knowing & Experiencing God. Spiritual theology is the practical, experiential exploration into the major themes of Christian theology. It is concerned with both how we think about God and how we live our lives with God and others. Therefore, this course seeks to integrate the principles and practices of doctrine and life. Special attention will be placed upon our experience of God and how we can reflect upon those experiences to deepen our knowledge and love of God and our neighbor.

CE 342. Classics of Christian Devotion: Hungering for God. This course traces some of the dominant themes of Christian spirituality. Through biblical, theological, and historical study we will examine how various individuals and movements have experienced and sought to nurture their relationship with the Triune God. Additionally we will explore the importance of who “writes” history and the resulting impact upon the development of our study of it. Particular attention is paid to developing the skills of discernment for reading primary sources.

CE 343. Ancient Art of Lectio Divina. This class will introduce an ancient form of biblical prayer, lectio divina, and will examine its historical roots and the theological presuppositions of this practice. (2)

CE 344 Origins of Christian Worship. This course examines the first six hundred years of Christian worship through an examination of the primary worship texts and significant leaders of both the Eastern and Western church.  Special attention will be devoted to the implications of ancient worship for the contemporary church. (2 or 4)

CE 345. Worship and Spirituality. This course introduces students to the dynamic and formative power of worship.  The central question “what happens when people worship God?” will be examined from a number of different angles.  Further, we will explore how Christian formation through worship shapes our experience of God and how thoughtful and biblically planned worship can increase that experience.

CE 412. Ministry Practicum. This is an experience-based course designed to provide students an opportunity to implement leadership concepts and theories and develop their own leadership qualities through direct experience and team development. Graded: pass/fail (2)

CE 421. History and Philosophy of Christian Education. Integrates various academic disciplines into a logical philosophy of ministry by studying major foundational concepts and issues of Christian Education.

CE 422. Curriculum and Instruction. Studies curriculum theory, development, and evaluation as they relate to one's philosophy of ministry. Attention is also given to instructional design based upon principles of human learning and development. Prerequisite: CE 421.

CE 423x. Discipleship. See CFM 532. (2)

CE 425x. Children’s Ministry. See CFM 621.

CE 451x. Family Ministry. See CFM 611. (2)

CE 452. Camp Ministry. Provides a study of and involvement in the use of a camping environment for the growth and development of people. Special attention is given to program philosophy and principles for designing, conducting, and evaluating an effective camp ministry for young people. Offered at HoneyRock. (2 or 4)

CE 453. Leadership Development for Ministry. Provides direct leadership experience to promote reflection and evaluation of one’s own leadership abilities with the goal of developing those qualities for future application. Biblical principles of leading others in a ministry context will be integrated with thinking and practice. Offered at HoneyRock. (2 or 4)

CE 459. Advanced Study in Christian Education. Provides small group study of special areas of interest in Christian Education. Topics will vary from term to term. Prerequisite: junior/senior standing or permission of instructor. (2 or 4)

CE 461. Leadership in Christian Ministry. Involves a study of organizational structures and administrative procedures which are useful in Christian Education programs. Emphasis will be given to the management of resources such as time, personnel, and information. (2)

CE 462. Ministry Research and Evaluation. Explores methods of research and evaluation in ministry contexts, including needs analysis, purpose statements and research goals, data collection/ongoing assessment, and analysis of results.  Attention will be given to reading and writing research reports, as well as application of existing research to ministry contexts. (2)

CE 471x. Prayer. See CFM 533. (2)

CE 472. Adventure Challenge Ministry. Explores the theory of experiential education and its ministry applications through the medium of engaging adventure challenge experiences. Includes the role of facilitative leadership, group and individual problem solving, and disciplined reflection in promoting Christian maturity in others. Offered at HoneyRock

CE 494. Senior Seminar. Provides students an exploration of issues which help them to integrate the totality of their college experiences, thus providing a sense of cohesion to their Christian faith and closure to their undergraduate education. Considered a senior capstone course. Senior status required. (2)

CE 495. Independent Study. Focuses on field or library research according to individual interests and competencies in Christian Education. (1-4)

CE 496. Internship. Provides practical experience under supervision in a setting appropriate to the student's major interests. Prerequisites: junior standing and a minimum of 16 hours completed in Christian Education including background courses appropriate to the internship setting. Graded pass/fail. (0)

CE 497. Internship Seminar. Provides student debriefing on their internship experiences from several perspectives while making preparations for post-graduation plans. (CE 496 is a prerequisite, but with approval from the Internship Coordinator, a concurrent enrollment is allowed.) Graded pass/fail. (2)

CE Courses Offered through the Institute for Prison Ministries (Billy Graham Center):

CE 301. Dimensions of Correctional Ministries. This course will provide an overview of ministry to offenders and their families and the biblically-based role of the Church in that effort.  In addition, the course will examine the basic structure and functions of the criminal justice system and the cultural distinctives that govern it.  The primary focus will be on the multiple ministry opportunities present in each of the various phases of the criminal justice system—presentencing, long-term incarceration, and reentry. (4)

CE 302. Dynamics of Working with Offenders. This course will examine the common characteristics of offenders, the specialized approaches to ministering within a correctional facility, and the Biblical corollaries for transformation as they pertain to offenders. Special attention will be given to the psycho-sociological factors that contribute to criminality, as well as to ways institutional conditions damage family structures, add to the pains of incarceration, and impair successful reentry.  Students will examine possible solutions for overcoming these deficits and helping inmates prepare for a return to their communities.

CE 303. Leadership and Spiritual Formation of Offenders. This course is designed for those in correctional ministry to develop personal leadership, be effective witnesses and be equipped to encourage others to grow in their faith as followers of Christ. 

CE 304. Foundations of Correctional Chaplaincy. An overview of correctional chaplaincy as it functions in jails and prisons.  The course will examine the history of correctional chaplaincy, the special skills and abilities the professional chaplain must possess, the critical dimensions of the multiple roles a chaplain assumes, and the constitutional mandates that govern the delivery of religious services in an institutional setting.  Special focus will be placed on the chaplains as “agent of change,” the “ministry of presence,” on effective volunteer management, and the development of individualized ministry plans. (3)

CE 396. Correctional Ministries Practicum. This course provides an opportunity for students to develop skills and learning in a correctional ministry area under the guidance of an experienced ministry supervisor and the Internship Coordinator. Interns must follow the Correctional Ministries Internship Guidelines. Prerequisites: Students must be enrolled in the Correctional Ministry Credential Program and receive IPM Director’s approval prior to course enrollment. (3)

CE 405. Foundations of Offender Reentry. This course will provide participants knowledge of the Biblical foundation for reentry ministry and reentry statistics that will help them describe the issues, barriers, and challenges to successful ex-offender reentry.  The course will also describe the phases and key principles of reentry with emphasis on making decisions related to practical planning for your ministry along with the reality of the collaborative nature of individuals, churches, organizations, and the community to assist the ex-offender with reentry. (3)

CE 406. Correctional Ministries Program Development and Evaluation. This course equips those who work in correctional ministries plan, administrate and provide learning experiences that help offenders/ex-offenders develop life skills, transform their thinking and encounter the person of God and the truths of His Word. (3)

CE 407. Organizational Administration for Non-profit Correctional Ministries. This course provides an overview of the principles and practices for leading and managing a not-for-profit organization.  Topics introduced will include leadership, ethics, strategic planning, operating policies, board governance, human relations, marketing, fundraising, financial management, collaborative partnerships, and program evaluation as they relate to non-profit correctional organizations.  Each topic will be approached from a Biblical perspective. (3)

CE 408. Care and Counseling in Correctional Ministry. This course provides an introduction to the unique challenges and strategies involved in care and counseling within a correctional setting as presented by correctional staff, the incarcerated and the families of offenders.  Focus will be given to an introductory knowledge of the problems of human suffering, biblical foundations for care in ministry, rudimentary person-to-person helping skills, as well as general counseling theories and techniques applicable to the correctional setting.  Consideration will be given to ethical issues, knowing one’s limits of competence and knowledge, and of when and to whom one should refer.  Attention will be given to issues of diversity and their implications for the utility of the concepts of this course where possible. (3)

CE 409. Case Management and Mentoring for Offenders. The course will examine theories and practices in case management and mentoring for successful reentry of offenders. Assessment and program development will be discussed.  Opportunities for role play and application will be utilized. (3)

CE 493. Correctional Ministry Capstone Project. The Capstone Project requires critical evaluation of important issues in the field of correctional ministry and the integration of both theory and practice.  The project is planned and conducted under the supervision of the Capstone Advisor and includes both a written and oral evaluation. (3)

Revision Date: June 1, 2013



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