M.A. in Church Planting

The Master of Arts in Church Planting will train students in the theological, theoretical, and practical literatures of church planting. Students who complete this course of study will be equipped to plant churches in whatever culture to which God calls them.

Why a Master’s Degree in Church Planting?

New churches are a vital evangelism tool. As the global church continues to grow, there is a desperate need for trained church planters with skills in personal evangelism, leadership, and organizational theory.  Churches still need to be planted in North America, and because of  the changing demographics of communities, church planting has become a cross-cultural task. The Master of Arts in Church Planting will train students in the theological, theoretical ,and practical literatures of church planting.  Students will receive practical experience in planting churches through experiential learning, and will learn the art of intercultural understanding and contextualization. Students who complete this course of study will be equipped to plant churches in various cultures to which God calls them.


Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary:

Church planting involves a lot of networking, peer learning and gleaning insights from people with years of experience planting churches.  The MA in church planting at Asbury brings all of these together by networking a cohort of church planters who are being guided and taught by seasoned church planters!

Download the free Seedbed info-graphic, The Global Church: Shift in the Christian Landscape. You may also want to learn more about a 100% tuition scholarship for eligible students.

What Does an Asbury Seminary Church Planter Look Like?

God has been at work through our curriculum throughout our 90 year history to birth many powerful church planters and prevailing churches. In studying our graduates we discovered a major strength, and the Master of Arts in Church Planting is a strategic way of building on that strength – by placing a more intensive emphasis on something that God has done at Asbury for a very long time. Here are just a few of the stories of our alumni church planters.

Program Level Outcomes

Master of Arts in Church Planting graduates will be able to:

  1. Articulate a biblical-theological, historical, and logical rationale for disciple-making and church planting.
  2. Explain and evaluate contemporary disciple-making and church planting practices, theories, and discoveries.
  3. Analyze and conceptualize sound disciple-making and church planting practices for diverse socio-cultural situations and contexts.
  4. Develop disciple-making and church planting knowhow through case study analyses, field observation and applying developing skills in a new church.

Who Will Be My Teachers?

Dr. Art McPhee was a pastor for 23 years, more than half of those years in churches where he was also the founding pastor.  In the early 1980s, he gave a fourth time to the church planting and development department of Mennonite Board of Missions and served, as well, as a conference overseer in South Florida. Dr. McPhee has been a professor of evangelism and church planting since the mid-1990s. In addition, he has edited the Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education and been an officer and board member in two professional organizations.


When we speak of church planting today, what we are really talking about is a systemic approach to making disciples, in which our strategies for sowing, watering, harvesting, and equipping in certain settings make necessary our anticipation of, and planning for, new Christian communities. Or, to put it another way, church planting involves proleptic preparation for a new community of faith wherever no suitable church exists.

Dr. Bryan Sims is just one of several faculty members in the new MACP degree program.  Bryan received his M.Div from Asbury Seminary in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University in Virginia in 2009.  He has coached local churches for the last ten years in developing mission teams, many of which were church plants.  He has also served in several church plants and launched mission and ministry among young adults.


“The MACP and M.Div Specialization in Church Planting will provide the kind of tools, resources, and environment for students who are interested in church planting so they may take this out into the field  and become generative, and build teams with others.   We know it is critical that we revitalize existing congregations, but when you have the opportunity to start with something fresh, to build a team of people who know one another deeply, who live the great commission together well, that can multiply without barriers in ways that are incarnationational, indigenous, and move people’s lives in powerful ways.  This degree is one of the ways we can turn around the  downward trend that we see with the church, and we can find ways to raise up a new generation of apostles, a new generation of evangelists, a new generation of church planters that will take the Gospel to those who need it most.”

How Will I Afford It?

God has placed a calling on your life and you have chosen to go to Asbury Seminary. Because we want you to be able to focus on wholeness and holiness while you prepare for a ministry in the Master of Arts in Church Planting, Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies, or Master of Divinity, with a church planting specialization, Asbury Seminary has created a unique partnership opportunity that includes a full tuition scholarship and participation in co-curricular activities. 

Degree Map

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Hrs Course ID Course Name
3 CD501 Vocation of Ministry (must be taken in initial 21 hours at ATS)
3 MS501 Missional Formation (must be taken in initial 21 hours at ATS)
3 BT501 Biblical Narrative
3 NT(IBS)510/511 NT(IBS)510 Matthew -or- NT(IBS)511 Mark
3 MS730 Congregations and Social Change (FA semesters odd years)
3 MS705 Urban Church Planting and Global Culture (J-term travel course*)
3 CH501 Church History—One
3 MS634 21st Century Church Planting (SP semesters even years)
3 MS715 Immigration and Diaspora Mission (SP semesters even years)
3 TH501 Basic Christian Doctrine
3 CS601 Christian Ethics
3 TH601 Theology of John Wesley
3 MS671 Anthropology for Mission Practice (FA semesters)
3 MS717 / CL717 Apostolic Leadership (formerly CL616) (SU terms)
3 MS700 History of the Christian Mission (FA semesters) [PRQ: CH501]
3 MS702 Mission and Biblical Theology (SP semesters) [PRQ: MS501; BT501]
6 MS798 Practicum in Christian Mission: Church Planting (SU terms)
As Needed
3   Elective Course
3   Elective Course

* MS705 J-term travel course alternates between domestic and international locations each year. Travel costs in addition to tuition.