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Ministry, Leadership & Culture, M.A.

School of Graduate and Professional Studies

When ministry strives to evolve,
the possibilities are endless.

Relevant ministry requires creativity and evolution. The Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture is an innovative and holistic educational experience designed primarily for pastors currently engaged in ministry.

You’ll serve in your local church for at least 10 hours per week, attend a weekly 90-minute synchronous discussion via video conference, attend three one-week retreats in North America, and create your own cross-cultural experience by graduation. You’ll also be assigned a coach or spiritual director to help you develop into a highly equipped ministry leader.

This three-year, mostly-online, program includes instruction from strategic, global ministry leaders and is grounded in engagement with our changing culture.

Program Highlights

  • Gain new perspectives from guest faculty and through cross-cultural experiences
  • Learn from your personal ministry coach or spiritual director
  • Engage with faculty who take interest in your success
  • Take online courses with live weekly sessions
  • Travel with your cohort during three 1-week residencies.
  • Fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Guest Teaching Mentors

FPU Biblical Seminary is excited to announce our guest teaching mentors for the M.A. in Ministry, Leadership and Culture program. These visionary leaders bring a wealth of experience, wisdom, and innovative perspectives to our program, enriching the educational journey of our students with their profound insights and practical experience. Jay Pathak’s deep understanding of community and Rich Villodas’s transformative leadership will undoubtedly inspire and empower you as they navigate the complex intersection of ministry, leadership, and culture in today’s world.



Program Director: Brian Ross, D.Min.


This three-year program, conducted largely in an online classroom, includes instruction from strategic, global Anabaptist leaders and is grounded in the Anabaptist tradition. It is designed for men and women currently engaged in ministry and requires students to serve within a local church or other ministry setting for 10 hours per week. Four one-week residencies are required in this cohort program as well as weekly synchronous sessions. The curriculum, designed by practicing Anabaptist leaders, is intended to help graduates lead the church into the future with a distinct ability to understand sub-cultures, theology and leadership practice.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus in Christian community.
  2. Articulate commitment to a biblical theological Christian perspective.
  3. Interpret diverse cultural contexts of ministry using theological perspectives integrated with social scientific approaches.
  4. Practice leadership skills in community leadership and transformation.
  5. Proclaim the biblical good news through culturally relevant words and deeds with the purpose of leading all people into covenant with Jesus Christ and the church.
  6. Develop self-aware renewal practices that empower fulfillment of the contemporary pastoral vocation of leading, and serving and reconciling in a resistant culture.
  7. Provide best-practices in pastoral leadership that result in growing churches that prepare, plan, equip and empower members to engage in Gods transformative mission in the world.
  8. Interpret the emerging post-Christian cultural context locally and globally.
  9. Equip a congregation to attend to pastoral care needs of the congregation and its community.

Locations Offered


Required Courses (48 Units)

Biblical and Theological Reflection

  • BIB 721 - The Kingdom, the Church, and the Mission of God Credits 3
  • BIB 734 - Understanding, Interpreting and Listening to Scripture Credits 3
  • BIB 744 - Exploring God's Self-Revelation Credits 3
  • BLIT 700 - Journeying Deep Into Scripture Credits 3
  • HIST 724 - The Story of Radical Renewal Movements Through Church History Credits 3
  • THEO 718 - Following Jesus, Living Out the Implications Credits 3

Personal and Holistic Formation

  • BIB 724 - Engaging the Bible With New Eyes Credits 1.5
  • MIN 706 - Discerning Personal Vocation and Calling Credits 1.5
  • MIN 710 - Spiritual Formation Credits 1.5
  • MIN 721 - Building a Deep and Sustainable Life Credits 3

Radical and Practical Application

  • MIN 718 - Effective Contemporary Public Communication Credits 3
  • MIN 736 - Entrepreneurial Leadership of Non-Profit Organizations Credits 1.5
  • MIN 738 - Collaborative Leadership Credits 1.5
  • MIN 755 - Transformative Outreach for Disciple-Making Credits 1.5
  • MIN 757 - Forming a Community of Mercy, Justice and Peace Credits 3
  • MIN 759 - Conflict and Peacemaking within Organizations and Communities Credits 1.5
  • MIN 768 - Serving Resiliently Through Crises and Trauma Credits 1.5 - 3
  •        Must be taken for 3 units

  • THEO 725 - Investigating Western Culture and Local Contexts Credits 3

Self-Directed Learning

  • MIN 749 - Cross-Cultural Experience Credits 2.5
  • MIN 790 - Creative Capstone Project Credits 2

Possibilities Await
With an FPU Education

Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary is rooted in the evangelical, Anabaptist tradition, and like you, we are passionate about making a tangible difference in the Central Valley and around the world. You’ll learn this through spirited inquiry, thoughtful reflection and hands-on experience. If you want a place to explore and pursue your calling in a practical way – join us!

First Steps to Admission

  • Review the admission requirements for your chosen program.
  • Submit an application for admission online
    * There is a $90 application fee.
  • Request official transcripts from previously attended colleges, universities and high schools and send electronically to
    • If you graduated from FPU, you do not need to request transcripts.
  • Submit remaining admission requirements via fax, email or postal mail.
    • Mail: Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Admission, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Box 14, Fresno, CA 93702
    • Email:

Apply now


  • Commitment to and desire for Christian ministry and Service
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (minimum 2.5 GPA; 3.0 for MFT program*)
  • Application form and fee
  • Short Answer Questions
  • Two references. One should be from a spiritual mentor, and one should be an academic reference.
    • Please do not use a family member as the pastoral or employer reference
  • Writing sample from your undergraduate education
    • This can be any paper submitted for a letter grade regardless of subject
  • Check your specific program's requirements

*Under special circumstances these requirements may be waived.

Special Circumstances

FPU Undergraduate Alumni Admission

Undergraduate alumni (traditional and degree completion) pursuing a graduate program at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary may have courses waived towards their seminary program. Students must complete the qualifying undergraduate course with a grade of B or higher to receive seminary course credit. Once students have been admitted to a seminary program, they must complete the Advanced Standing form in Sunbird Central to officially request advanced standing at the seminary.

Admission with a GPA below 2.5 or below 3.0 for the MFT program

In some circumstances, we are willing to waive the GPA requirement if the student demonstrates high maturity and/or life experience that demonstrates they can perform well in the program. We take into account their ministry experience for BIB/MIN programs, their GRE score, volunteer counseling hours experience and psych pre-requisites for the MFT degree. We encourage people with a low GPA to still apply so we can look over their materials.

Admission without a Bachelor's Degree

Students will be considered for admission to Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary into the M.Div., M.A.CM, M.A. CLT, or M.A. MLC degrees or one of our certificate programs without the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree if they have:

  • 60 semester units or two years of post-secondary education minimum
  • Significant ministry experience
  • Evidence of life experience which has prepared them for graduate theological education

In compliance with the Association of Theological Schools such students may only pursue the degree or program to which they have applied.

Additional Bible Knowledge Requirement

The Bible Knowledge Requirement (BKR) is a one-day, no credit class with an examination at the end of the day. The BKR is required to be met during the first month of your first term.

Non-Matriculated Students

Students may enroll in up to 6 units of courses for credit/audit at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary without being admitted into a degree or certificate program. This is considered a non-matriculated status.

State Authorization

State authorization is a federal requirement in the Higher Education Act that requires institutions to be authorized in the state in which online programs are offered. Fresno Pacific University works regularly with individual state authorization agencies to meet each state's requirements. Currently, Fresno Pacific University has received authorization to offer online degree programs in all but nine states: Georgia, Michigan, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin.

For the latest updates on the status of FPU's authorization in your state, contact your FPU Admissions representative.

Cost & Financial Aid

The below listed prices reflect the current and upcoming Fall and Spring semesters and do not include any financial aid. Paying for college can be an overwhelming step in education your journey. We can help you find all the opportunities to reduce your out of pocket costs.

Tuition & Financial Aid


Tuition per UnitAmount
Theology / Bib / Religion$530
MFT / Counseling$590
Other CostsAmount
Student Services Fee$175


Tuition per Unit Amount
Theology / Bib / Religion $515
MFT / Counseling $570
Other Costs Amount
Student Body Fee $115
Seminary Technology $50

* This is an estimate. Costs subject to change. Cost of attendance figures are used for budgeting purposes only and represent an estimate of projected tuition and fees for the coming academic year. Actual tuition rates are approved by the Board of Trustees and may vary.

Types of aid

Financial aid can refer to scholarships, grants and loans, which are available to you from the government, the university or outside sources. Aid types vary depending on the type of student you are.

View FPBS Private Scholarships

Career Opportunities

Graduates will be equipped to integrate theory and practice. As the Christian church looks to creatively navigate current culture, this degree will help you lead the church into the future with a distinct ability to understand sub-cultures, theology and leadership practice. Graduates cultivate the important practice of caring for their own souls as they minister to others.

Career Development Happens Here

The staff in our Career Development and Experiential Learning Center are here to help you prepare to enter the working world. Whether your a freshman or an FPU alum, there are a number of resources and trainings offered to help you find the internship and job you’re looking for.

  • Resume writing classes
  • Career assessments, exploration & planning
  • Job search and networking opportunities
  • and much more

Visit the Career Development Center