Where do students from the Pfeiffer School of Religion go after graduation?
Pfeiffer is well known in the Western North Carolina United Methodist Conference for training Christian educators and youth ministers, as well as preparing future pastors for seminary. Recent graduates have gone on to do graduate level work at Emory, Duke, Yale and Princeton Theological Seminary, among others. Seminarians generally go on to be pastors or professors. Students have also gone into numerous congregational jobs as youth ministers and Christian education directors. We also have had graduates who have gone with the General Board of Global Ministries to do long-term missions in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
How many students are in the program?
Approximately 40 students are currently enrolled in the undergraduate School of Religion.
Where do students come from?
Most are from North Carolina, but we also currently have students from Arizona, Texas, New Jersey and elsewhere.
Does Pfeiffer still offer Youth Ministry and Christian Education?
Yes, Youth Ministry and Christian Education are still a major specialization of the School of Religion, but they (along with Christian Missions, and Religion) are now concentrations within the Religion and Practical Theology major. This was done for numerous reasons, but we think it will make student degrees more versatile, while still offering a concentration in the student's subject of interest.
Why is Christian Missions called Intercultural Studies?
Some students may have difficulty getting into certain countries with Christian Missions on their degree. A degree in Religion and Practical Theology with a concentration in Religion and Intercultural studies is a versatile degree that will hopefully keep student options open for international missions.
Is financial assistance available for students?
Yes, scholarships, loans and grants are available for students with under the basis of need, merit (academic, service, etc...) and athletics. United Methodist students are also eligible for UM scholarships. See financial aid for more information.
Will I have the opportunity to lead worship and be involved in campus ministry?
Yes, there are numerous chances to be involved in campus ministry, including Praise Band, Peer Chaplains, Sports Chaplains, Silent Voices (dance), Christian Education Fellowship, Bible studies, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ and many more.
Sports Ministry-Minor Requirements
|Core Requirements (30 SH)|
|RAPT 201||Spiritual Formation & Faith Development||RAPT 307
||Leadership and Administration in
Educational Ministry OR
|RAPT 205||Old Testament||SMGT 504 Sports Law-Senior Seminar|
|OR RAPT 206 New Testament||RAPT 345||Introduction to Sports Ministry|
|RAPT 210||Religion and Modern American Culture|
|RAPT 220||Introduction to the study of Religion
and Practical Theology
|Activity credits in physical education unless student is varsity or junior varsity athlete. Co-curricular participation in FCA or Peer ministries.|
Religion and Practical Theology-Courses Offered
|RAPT 201||Spiritual Formation and Faith Development||F||3 SH|
|By engaging in time-honored spiritual practices and learning the interconnnections of body, mind, and spirit, students grow in their spiritual formation and faith development.|
|RAPT 205||Old Testament||F||3 SH|
An introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and the scholarly issues most relevant to its academic study. Emphasis will be placed on both historical and theological approaches to the text.
|RAPT 206||New Testament||S||3 SH|
An introduction to the New Testament and the scholarly issues most relevant to its academic study. Emphasis will be placed on both historical and theological approaches to the text .
|RAPT 210||Religion and Modern American Culture||F||3 SH|
This course provides an introduction to religious beliefs and behaviors in the United States.While this course will look at influences from earlier centuries, the focus will be upon the last 100 years and the relationship of culture and religion in America, especially Christianity.
|RAPT 215||World Religions||F||3 SH|
This course introduces students to the study of the beliefs and practices of the major religions in the world. Attention will be paid to those major world religions being practiced in America.
|RAPT 220||Introduction to the Study of Religion & Pract. Theology||F||3 SH|
This course introduces students to the various and unique fields of Religion and Practical Theology, with focus on history of the disciplines, and contemporary methods and approaches used in Biblical Studies, Christian Education, Intercultural Studies, Religious Studies, and Youth Ministry.
|RAPT 230||Vocation and Servant Leadership||S even||3 SH|
How do you discern your life's path? Regardless of academic major or profession, students gain insight into leadership while exploring these and other questions from biblical, historical, spiritual, and practical perspectives. As students reflect on the lives of significant leaders in various vocations as well as interviews, and self-discovery, they will ascertain their own vocations.
|RAPT 301||Nature and Work of Educational Ministry||F odd||3 SH|
A comprehensive introduction to educational ministry that apprises students of the varied services required to work with people of all ages in ministry contexts across the globe. Students ascertain the history of the profession of Christian Education as well as the many skills required to work in the field. They will know the critical role that education plays in the formation and transformation of persons in their relationships with the divine and the world. Students will understand the leadership, management, organizational ,and relationship skills needed to work with volunteers, staff members, agencies, and community leaders.
|RAPT 305||Teaching/ learning: Theories and Practices in Educational Ministry||S odd||3 SH|
Students explore various ways that people learn and demonstrate their ability to apply appropriate teaching strategies for various learning styles. They practice creative ways to teach Scripture and other relevant content in various educational ministry settings. They demonstrate their comprehension of appropriate teaching strategies for various learning styles.
|RAPT 307||Leadership and Administration in Educational Ministry||S odd||3 SH|
A study of the process required for healthy, effective organization in local church Christian Education and Youth Ministry programs. Students will learn how to work with volunteers and multiple-member staffs, build and supervise budgets, and organizational management strategies useful to administering church programs.
|RAPT 310 (WI)||Christianity and Culture||F odd||3 SH|
This course will explore how the Christian message interacts with culture. Utilizing historical, biblical, and theological models of Christianity, the course will examine appropriate involvement of the Christian message with culture. This is a writing intensive course.
|RAPT 312 (WI)||Theology and Contemporary Literature||S even||3 SH|
Theological motifs, biblical themes, and images of the person used in contemporary fiction. This is a writing intensive course.
|RAPT 315||Cultural Anthropology||S odd||3 SH|
An introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Cross-Cultural studies. The course will introduce the participant-observer approach to ethnography as a method of the study of culture. An emphasis will be made on anthropological tools for Christian ministry in cross-cultural settings. This is a writing intensive course.
|RAPT 318||History of Christianity||F even||3 SH|
A survey of the history of the Christian Church, beginning with its origin in the Jesus movement of the first century and concluding with the Protestant and Catholic reformations of the 16th- 17th centuries. The thought of specific church theologians will be highlighted.
|RAPT 321||Introduction to Christian Theology||F even||3 SH|
A study of the sources, tasks, and methods, of Christian theology, and a review of its basic doctrines: revelation, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, sin, salvation, church, and the kingdom of God. This course is intended for majors. Prerequisites: Any RAPT course and sophomore status or higher.
|RAPT 330||United Methodist History, Doctrine and Polity||F odd||3 SH|
An introduction to the history, organization and beliefs of the United Methodist Church. This course is required for those seeking certification in the various certification programs of the United Methodist Church including, youth ministries, Christian education and church music. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
|RAPT 334 (WI)||Jesus the Servant Leader||F even||3 SH|
This course explores the life and person of Jesus of Nazareth as presented through the Gospel Narratives of the New Testament. Connected with Pfeiffer University's emphasis upon "Servant Leadership" and in dialogue with recent academic discussions about the historical Jesus and the world in which he lived, students will explore the ethically significant dimensions of Jesus' life and ministry through a combination of academic study and service learning. The goal of the course will be to lead students to a deeper understanding of the identity of Jesus of Nazareth through study and practical engagement. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisites: RAPT 206 or permission of the instructor.
|RAPT 343 (WI)||C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien||S even||3 SH|
An exploration of major prose works of each writer including essays, short stories, and novels. The course will also examine the contributions made by Lewis and Tolkien to theological, philosophical, and literary discussions in the twentieth and twenty first centuries through their writings on faith, fantasy, science fiction and mythology. Special emphasis will be given to the role of friendship in the development of the writers' works and Lewis and Tolkien's enduring place in popular culture. This is a writing intensive course. (Crosslisted as ENGL 343.)
|RAPT 345||Introduction to Sports Ministry||F even||3 SH|
A study of Christian American Church History with special emphasis on the current state of American Christendom. This is a service-learning course.
|RAPT 350||American Christendom||S||3 SH|
A study of Christian American Church History with special emphasis on the current state of American Christendom. This is a service-learning course.
|RAPT 401||Foundations of Christian Worship||S even||3 SH|
Students explore the meanings, history, various expressions and elements of worship, including the arts, technology, and resources for worship. The course experiences planning and leading worship.
|RAPT 405||Critical Issues in Practical Theology||F odd
In this course students continue to explore the field and methodology of Practical Theology by exploring critical issues which emerge in contemporary ministry contexts. In particular, students will explore methods for ministering effectively in diverse contexts and for addressing social justice concerns. This course will also explore an array of responses and approaches.
|RAPT 410||Mission in the 21st Century||F even||3 SH|
Building on the modern missionary movement, this course reflects critically on the past while building for the future through the exploration of new opportunities, trends and challenges in local, national and international mission contexts. Attention will be paid to missiological themes of the 21st century.
|RAPT 424||Contemporary Theology||S odd||3 SH|
This course explores theological methods, scholarship and issues which have emerged since the mid-twentieth century. This course pays particular attention to the contextual nature of theology and the implications of theological doctrines for contemporary communities. The course includes an introduction to Feminist, Womanist, Mujerista, Asian, Liberation, and Black Theologies, among others. Prerequisite: RAPT 321.
|RAPT 450||Internship||F;S;SUM||3 SH|
One semester of work (150 hours) in a local ministry setting which provides the student opportunities to observe and participate in the many facets of service/learning and ministries related to Religion, Christian Missions, Christian Education, or Youth Ministries. Students will focus on the specific area of ministry related to their degree. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior status or permission of instructor.
|RAPT 460||Ministries with Children and Families||S odd||3 SH|
This course prepares students for ministries with children and families. Students learn prevalent theories and philosophies about accompanying children, parents, siblings, and other significant mentors in their spiritual journeys. They examine resources, programs, weekday education, policies, supervision, and methodologies for effective ways that they church can meet the needs of contemporary families.
|RAPT 462||Ministries with Youth||S even||3 SH|
This service-learning course will examine how to carry out youth ministry in congregations. Special emphasis will be placed on the history of congregational youth ministry while considering current practices in youth ministry and the relationship between congregational youth ministry and other youth serving agencies.
|RAPT 464||Ministies with Adults||S even||3 SH|
This course acquaints students with theories, methods and resources for working with adults. It explores the pedagogical and theological bases for ministries with younger, middle, and older adults, and for equipping them to serve throughout their lives.
|RAPT 470 (WI)||Interpreting Bible & World||S odd||3 SH|
An exploration of the relationship between biblical interpretation and contemporary social issues. Special attention will be paid to the way presuppositions and life experiences influence how one understands the meaning of both biblical texts and human cultures. A service-learning component will aid students in placing the Bible in conversation with a current social issue that challenges their view of the world in which they live. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: RAPT 205 or RAPT 206 or permission of the instructor.
|RAPT 473 (WI)||The Letters of Paul||F odd||3 SH|
This course will study the seven major letters of Paul and the "Pauline School" that built upon Paul's legacy. It will also focus on the distinctive historical and theological components of each correspondence while also addressing the possibility of an overarching Pauline theology. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: RAPT 206.
|RAPT 500||United Methodist General Conference||S even(every 4 yrs)||3 SH|
General Conference is the governing body for all things connectional in the worldwide United Methodist denomination, including doctrine, polity, and stands on social principals. This seminar course includes two weeks intensive study off campus at General Conference where students will attend all plenaries, legislative committees, subcommittees, worship services, and other events related to General Conference. Conflicts with the final exam schedule may preclude participation in this class. Prerequisites: School of Religion major or permission of instructor.
|RAPT 510||Special Topics in Religion and Practical Theology||UD||3 SH|
Courses will be offered to respond to special interests or needs, as noted by the faculty or requested by students. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
|RAPT 512||Topics in Religion and Intercultural Studies||UD||3 SH|
Each time this course is offered it will feature a special aspect either of Biblical Study or Intercultural studies such as: an in-depth look at a particular biblical book; a review of work by selected scholars; consideration of new understandings of Scripture, historical studies related to missiology, cultural anthropology, or other topics. Prerequisite: RAPT 205 or 206.
|RAPT 514||Topics in Practical Theology||UD||3 SH|
Courses are offered to respond to special interests or needs identified by students or faculty. Topics change accordingly. Academic credits vary according to the work required by the particular topics. Prerequisite: permission from instructor.
|RAPT 550||Research in Practical Theology and Religion I||F (start 2012)||3 SH|
Students engage in intensive research in a topic of personal interest. Discussions of methodology, oral presentations, peer evaluations and extensive work with primary and secondary materials prepare students 1) to write a prospectus for an article-length paper worthy of publication or presentation at an undergraduate conference; or 2) prepare a context specific field study in practical theology that could be used towards the development of a program, or published as a curriculum. Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission from instructor.
|RAPT 552||Research in Practical Theory and Religion II||S
Students complete and present an article-length paper, or field study write-up or curriculum/ program plan based on original research conducted in RAPT 550. Prerequisite: Completion of RAPT 550.
Religion and Practical Theology-Degree Requirements
|Religion and Practical Theology|
|60 Semester Hours Minimum|
|Core Requirements (42 SH)|
|PHIL 205||Philosophical & Christian Faith||RAPT 230||Vocation & Servant Leadership|
|RAPT 201||Spiritual Formation and Faith Dev.||RAPT 321||Intro. to Christian Theology|
|RAPT 205||Old Testament||RAPT 424||Contemporary Theology|
|RAPT 206||New Testament||RAPT 450||Internship|
|RAPT 215||World Religions||RAPT 550||Research in Practical Theology I|
|RAPT 218||History of Christianity||RAPT 552||Research in Practical Theology II|
|RAPT 220||Intro. to Relig. & Practical Theology||6 Hrs. Foreign Language in Sequence|
|Ares of Concentration:|
|In addition to the above required courses for all majors, each student majoring in RAPT will complete one (1) or the following two (2) concentrations.|
|Concentration in Religion and Intercultural Studies (18 SH):|
|RAPT 310||Christianity & Culture||RAPT 334||Jesus the Servant Leader|
|RAPT 315||Cultural Anthropology||RAPT 473||Letters of Paul|
|An additional two (2) electives from among the following courses:|
|RAPT 330||United Methodist History, Doctrine||RAPT 470||Interpreting Bible and World|
|& Polity||RAPT 512||Topics in Relg. & Intercult. Studies|
|RAPT 410||Mission in the 21st Century||RAPT 514||Topics in Practical Theology|
|Concentration in Christian Education/ Age Related Ministries (18 SH):|
|RAPT 301||Nature & Work of Ed. Ministries||RAPT 405||Critical Issues in Practical Theology|
|RAPT 305||Teaching & Learning Theories||RAPT 514||Topics in Practical Theology|
|An (1) Additional elective from the following three (3) courses:|
|RAPT 460||Ministries with Children and Families||RAPT 464||Ministries with Adults|
|RAPT 462||Ministries with Youth|
|An additional elective from any RAPT course at 300 level or above|
Religion and Intercultural Studies (18 SH + 3 Foreign Language)
|RAPT 205||Old Testament OR||OR RAPT 310 Christianity and Culture OR|
|RAPT 206 New Testament||RAPT 512 Topics in Religion & Intercultural
|RAPT 215||World Religions||RAPT 410||Mission in the 21st Century|
|RAPT 220||Introduction to Religion & Practical Theology||3 SH of a foreign language or approved travel seminar|
|RAPT 334||Jesus the Servant Leader OR|
|RAPT 470 Interpreting Bible and World|
Philosophical and Christian Ethics-Courses Offered
|PHIL 203 (WI)||Introduction to Philosophy||F;S||3 SH|
|An introduction to a range of philosophers, ancient and modern. This course will cover theories of knowledge, metaphysics, philosophy of science, ethical theory, social and political philosophy, philosophy of art, and philosophy of religion. This is a writing intensive course.|
|PHIL 205 (WI)||Philosophical and Christian Ethics||S||3 SH|
|An exploration of various theories and approaches in philosophical and Christian ethics and their application to current social issues. This course gives students a knowledge of theory and method in both philosophical and Christian ethics and assists them in developing their own analytical and critical skills in doing ethical assessment. This is a writing intensive course.|
|PHIL 301 (WI)||Founders of Ancient Philosophy||UD||3 SH|
|Readings from a selection of ancient and medieval western philosophers, namely Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. this course will give students a knowledge of the philosophical thought of several philosophers and assist them in developing their own skills of philosophical reflection in dialogue with the philosophers' ideas. This is a writing intensive course.|
|PHIL 304||Critical Thinking||S even||3 SH|
|An introduction to the study and practice of reasoning. This course assists students in analyzing various types of arguments by identifying stated and unstated assumptions, evaluating the use of, recognizing the ambiguity in language, and spotty faulty reasoning.|
|PHIL 307 (WI)||Environmental Philosophy and Ethics||F odd||3 SH|
|An exploration of various ecophilosophies and how they apply to environmental issues. This course will give students a knowledge of research, environmental philosophy and assists them in developing their own analytic and critical skills for ethical assessments of environmental issues. This is a writing intensive course.|
|PHIL 308 (WI)||Social Justice and the Common Good||S even||3 SH|
|A philosophical examination of social injustice, namely racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and ableism, as well as a philosophical exploration of both theoretical and practical approached to social justice and the common good. This is a writing intensive course.|
|PHIL 317 (WI)||Christian Servant Leadership||F odd||3 SH|
|This course connects Pfeiffer University's emphasis on its Christian roots and servant leadership, illustrated in its vision statements. We will do an in-depth exploration of what the concept of "servant leadership" means from a Christian theological lens. This is a writing intensive course.|
|PHIL 327||Ethics of Globalization||F even||3 SH|
|An exploration of the ethical issues that arise with increasing globalization, with emphasis on economic globalization. This course will clarify what globalization is and how it is affecting communities around the world.|
|PHIL 598 (WI)
||Special Topics in Ethics||UD||3 SH|
|Courses will be offered to respond to special interests or needs, as noted by the faculty or requested by students. This is a writing intensive course.|
Philosophical and Christian Ethics-Minor Requirements
|18 Semester Hours Minimum|
|Required Core-6 SH|
|PHIL 203||Introduction to Philosophy||PHIL 205||Philosophical and Christian Ethics|
|Four (4) courses selected from the following:|
|PHIL 301||Founders of Ancient Philosophy||PHIL 308||Social Justice and the Common Good|
|PHIL 304||Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking||PHIL 317||Christian Servant Leadership|
|PHIL 307||Environmental Philosophy and||PHIL 327||Ethics of Globalization|
|Ethics||PHIL 598||Special Topics in Ethics|
|SOCY 408||Social Theory|
The minor in Sports Ministry is designed for students who love sports, who want to serve God and their communities and seek to combine them. Those who study Sports Ministry may pursue job opportunities with:
- Retreat centers
- Non-profit organizations, such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs of America
- Youth Ministries
Philosophical and Christian Ethics (PHIL)
Philosophical and Christian Ethics is an interdisciplinary minor that offers students the theoretical resources and practical engagement that will assist them in critically assessing and responding to the ethical dimensions of various social issues in our local communities and broader world. The aim of the minor is to engage students in disciplined and imaginative thinking about their roles as servant leaders and the ways in which they may support social and environmental justice in the world. An integral part of the minor is a connection between philosophical and theological reflection and service in the community.
Students study ethics as a minor along with a major in another subject. Courses within the minor may be taken to fulfill the General Education requirement in philosophy.
Majors and Minors
The School of Religion offers a number of majors and minors.
Religion and Practical Theology
Pfeiffer University offers a proud tradition of excellence in preparing students for a life of servant leadership in a variety of Christian vocations. Students interested in church work, missions, seminary, or graduate study in Religion find that Pfeiffer is a great place to start their journey. After completing our program, graduates serve as youth ministers, Christian educators, missionaries, music ministers, camp leaders and conference workers. Others study at some of the nation's premier seminaries and graduate programs, including Yale, Duke and Emory.
Comprehensive Learning and Experiences
The School of Religion's program is structured for students to build a foundation needed for pursuing the Bible, theology, history and cultural studies. Students interested in Christian education and/or youth ministry specialize in advanced courses related to age-related ministries; those preferring missions and/or graduate/seminary studies specialize in advanced courses related to intercultural studies, Bible, and religion.
All students in the School of Religion complete a semester-long internship as part of their degree requirements. Many students work in churches throughout their undergraduate career. Pfeiffer has connections to a number of churches seeking youth ministers and Christian educators.
An Active Faith Community
As a model church-related University, Pfeiffer offers a way for students to be the church. The Village Church at Pfeiffer is a congregation operated entirely by students on campus. At Pfeiffer, you are surrounded by a worshipping community of friends who are involved in community service, travel regularly for domestic and international missions, and work in agencies in the community.