Managing a New Major at Moody
- December 31, 2021
As Bonnie Hill worked her way through the college selection process, Moody Bible Institute emerged as her clear number one choice. The deciding factor for the Madison, Mississippi native was a degree program she couldn’t wait to dive into—even though it technically didn’t exist yet.
“The new Missional Leadership and Nonprofit Management program was the reason that I decided to attend Moody,” Bonnie said. “Funny enough, I applied for this degree before it was posted or advertised. I was on the phone with an admissions counselor talking through different offered majors when she mentioned this one.
“After unsuccessfully trying to find more information about it online and not knowing that it was new, I started to believe that she had made up the program! It seemed to fit too well.”
Fortunately for Bonnie, Moody debuted its newest bachelor degree program in the fall semester of 2020 at just the optimal time for her. Bonnie was looking for a field of study that uniquely combined education and training in Scripture, ministry, and business.
“I wanted to attend Moody for ministry and Bible training, but I knew that I also wanted business training,” Bonnie said. “I wanted to be prepared to bring something to the table in the business realm on behalf of a community or people group. The practical aspects of this program really appealed to me.”
Preparing Christians for the nonprofit marketplace
Bonnie certainly isn’t alone. Despite the program launching in the middle of a pandemic, a total of 24 students are already majoring in Missional Leadership and Nonprofit Management in only its second year at Moody. Created and headed up by Dr. Craig Hendrickson, the innovative new program prepares students to be leaders who start, develop, and direct Christ-centric nonprofit organizations.
“We’ve seen an explosion of growth in these types of ministries,” Dr. Hendrickson said. “We want to train people who are adept and skilled at leading through a program anchored on the foundation of joining God in His mission.”
A new kind of curriculum at Moody
The expansion of Moody’s curriculum to the nonprofit sector is extending the school’s reach to a new wave of students who want to hone both a ministry and business mindset for the career paths they believe God is calling them to follow.
“I felt that this program would equip me for the specific work that I desire to take part in one day,” said Bonnie, a sophomore at Moody. “I am business-minded and have always dreamed of taking part in what God is doing to meet the wholistic needs of a community or people group. While there are many ways to do this, nonprofit has always been the route where I felt led.”
The Missional Leadership and Nonprofit Management program equips students with a balance of business and ministry acumen and skills that, like all of Moody’s programs, is firmly grounded in a biblical worldview. Students walk through the history, purpose, ethics, and theories of the nonprofit world while taking classes covering nonprofit fundraising, strategic planning, leadership, social issues, financial management, entrepreneurship and environmental creation care in addition to Bible and ministry studies.
The program also features a field internship so students can gain practical experience and apply their classroom learning to the real world.
Targeting specific needs around the globe
Dr. Hendrickson is excited to see the program instruct and empower students to answer God’s call to serve in a diverse and burgeoning list of fields where the love of Christ and the transforming power of the gospel are desperately needed.
“We wanted to offer a program that trains students to more intentionally lead people in God’s mission around such specific interests as urban ministry, youth ministry, ministry to victims of human trafficking, change leadership, missional leadership, and a host of other needs as well as evangelism and discipleship,” Dr. Hendrickson said. “This degree will increase students’ ability to get jobs in non-profits and other ministries and prepare students to join God’s mission through the nonprofit sector.”
The program also intentionally instills students with the training necessary to fill a gamut of nonprofit jobs. These positions can include director of a nonprofit organization, director of community outreach in a ministry or local church, donor development representative, urban missionary worker, missionary business manager, community organizer, or founder of a new ministry, to name a few.
“The program is teaching me that God’s call for His people often extends beyond the walls of a church to infiltrate communities, largely secular arenas, and every aspect of society,” Bonnie said. “We need people in every avenue. If you desire to target the specific needs of a people through either missional or nonprofit sectors, this is an incredible opportunity to receive practical training that is informed and saturated with biblical truth.”
Opening students’ eyes to God’s leading
In her brief time in the program so far, Bonnie already sees God pointing her in one particular direction for vocational ministry.
“I interned in Athens, Greece with an organization that works with refugees, and as part of Moody’s Urban Cohorts program I’m currently living in Chicago’s Little India, which hosts a large percentage of refugees,” Bonnie said. “I sense the Lord’s leading and would be honored to work in a nonprofit ministry that aims to meet the needs of refugees.”
‘Transforming the way nonprofits are doing missional work’
As students begin graduating from Moody with a BA in Missional Leadership and Nonprofit Management, accepting jobs in the nonprofit and missional fields, and spreading the word about the degree’s benefits to colleagues and friends, Dr. Hendrickson believes the program will grow into one of Moody’s largest degrees and even someday potentially spawn a master’s program at Moody Theological Seminary.
“But the ultimate goal for the future is I’d love to see our students transforming the way nonprofit ministries are doing missional work from a biblical, Christ-centered perspective,” he said. “I’d love to see students helping nonprofits not to deviate from a sense of call to participate in God’s mission and all that entails, including a wholistic approach to ministry and a wholistic gospel.
“It’s easy for any ministry, including nonprofits, to fall into mission drift when things like numbers, fundraising, finances, and challenges come into the picture and when a nonprofit starts seeing needs and gets pulled more by the need than by what Scripture says or what God is specifically leading that ministry to do. I’d love to see our graduates helping nonprofits stay anchored and true to God’s calling and remain focused on following God’s purpose.”