Central’s pre-ministry major prepares students for many types of Christian ministry and leading graduate programs. Our graduates have become pastors, church education directors, missionaries, teachers and have also entered such fields as law enforcement and political philosophy.

languages are taught by ministry faculty: Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic.
Central ministry faculty regularly lead study trips to Turkey and Israel to expand campus course offerings.
Pre-Ministry majors are encouraged to study abroad during their junior or senior years.

The Central Difference

Ministry Internships

We strongly encourage a ministry internship under a faculty ministry director. This allows students to learn about various types of ministry and how they can develop and refine their individual gifts.

Students also have opportunities to serve in leadership roles with Campus Ministries.

Central College student

Mission Trips

Winter, spring and summer mission trips offer opportunities in Mexico, Malawi, Kentucky, Arizona and the Gulf Coast . We stress critical reflection on the long-term impact of missions on local communities, and we encourage students to acquire wisdom and vision for long-term community development wherever their mission interests may lead.

Our Heritage

Although the pre-ministry program is rooted in Central’s Christian heritage, we have a strong comparative religion focus in the religion major, with special emphasis on Islamic studies and Muslim-Christian dialogue. We are proud of the special contribution that the Reformed Church in America has had and continues to have in both medical missions and education in the Middle East.


Central College is one of the most beautiful college campuses you will find. A perfect mix of old and new, our buildings reflect our history and our future. Central's distinctive library is a spacious and popular haven with more than 230,000 volumes, computer stations, a multimedia collection, and extensive online catalog.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Pastor, Forest Grove Reformed Church, Hudsonville, Mich.
  • Missionary to Madagascar, Africa Inland Mission
  • Religion and history teacher, The Pennington School, Pennington, New Jersey
  • Staff, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Pastor, Fairview Reformed Church, Fairview, Ill.
Central College student


  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Campus Ministries
  • Bread for the World

Graduate Placement

  • Western Theological Seminary
  • Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  • Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Aquinas Institute of Theology
  • University of London
  • University of Denver


  • Christian Education Leader, Second Reformed Church, Pella, Iowa
  • Youth missioner, St. James’s Episcopal Church, Oskaloosa, Iowa
  • Ministry internship, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Central College
  • Internship, Ruth Harbor Ministry, Des Moines
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Within the department of religion and philosophy, Central offers coursework in Biblical studies, Biblical archaeology, history of the Church, theology, Christian ethics, Christian worship and world religions. Specific seminary and graduate programs have their own requirements, and we advise each student accordingly to make sure he or she is eligible for acceptance.

Pre-ministry majors learn how to prepare materials for education in a local church parish, to preach their first sermons, to organize a complete worship service and to examine the philosophies and practices of various types of ministries.

Students also have opportunities to present their undergraduate scholarship at regional meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion, as well as attend national conferences of academic societies.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Terry Kleven, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Dr. Jacob and Gela Schnucker Sessler Chair in Philosophy and Religion and Professor of Religion

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Old Testament History and Religion
  • Introduction to the New Testament
  • The Christian Heritage

Sophomore Year

(several of these courses)
  • The Prophets
  • Jesus and the Gospels
  • The Reformation
  • Medieval Christendom
  • The Early Church
  • Islam
  • World Christianity
  • Biblical Archaeology
  • Any language courses offered in classical Hebrew, Greek, Arabic or Latin
  • Modern language study in French or German

Junior Year

(several of these courses)
  • Modern Christian Thought
  • Christian Worship
  • Christian Ethics
  • The Jewish Experience
  • Middle Eastern Civilization
  • Classical Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy
  • At least two readings courses in religion

Senior Year

  • Senior Thesis


Learn More

Want to find out more about Pre-Ministry at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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