It will enrich and deepen your knowledge of evangelical and baptistic theology and prepare you for a role of leadership.
The focus of the programme is on the formation of Christian leaders along three core tasks:
- Following: to live out your faith as a leader in authentic ways as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
- Interpreting: to gain the skills to interpret our lives, communities and culture in light of Scripture, theology and tradition, so as to voice fresh interpretations that engage the relevant questions of today.
- Leading: to lead by character, out of who you are, competent in the art of communication, open to the world around you and wise in the relational processes with others.
The programme is designed for students who have an affinity with an evangelical spirituality, and/or more specifically have an affinity with the baptistic tradition (although the latter is by no means a requirement). Throughout the modules, a continuous interaction is sought between the study of faith practices, the deepening of theological knowledge and the personal and professional formation of the student. It is coordinated by the Dutch Baptist Seminary and linked to the James Wm. McClendon Chair for Baptistic and Evangelical Theologies at the Vrije Universiteit.
During the programme – one year (fulltime) or two years (part-time) – Dutch-speaking students take part in the learning community of the Baptist Seminary, which involves sharing your life with peers, weekly times of prayer and three days annually set apart for exploring ‘doing theology’ around an actual topic. For international (English speaking) students, there are possibilities to become involved in the learning network of the International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS).
Contents of the programme
The Evangelical & Baptistic Leadership specialisation is structured along the VU’s Exploring a Discipline master. It consists of two specific courses:
- Applied Christology: Evangelical & Baptistic Perspectives (6 EC); a course that deeply engages with the theological field of Christology, starting from the way Christ is made present in ecclesial practices, in evangelical spirituality and in secular culture.
- Evangelical & Baptistic Ethics: Contemporary Issues (6 EC); a course in which contemporary ethical issues are explored and discussed, using particular lenses from the baptistic/evangelical tradition, such as the emphasis on personal experience, a Biblicist hermeneutics and the process of discerning the mind of Christ together and the centrality of the Sermon on the Mount.
Dutch students follow an Internship (12 EC) in the form of two masterclasses and a professional course on ethics and spirituality:
- Masterclass Interpretative Preaching, in which the student goes through the process of creating, practising and performing a good sermon, that is exegetically sound, timely, performed well and engages with one’s audience. Part of this masterclass is practising preaching in real life situations.
- Masterclass Ecclesial Practices, in which students walk alongside a particular church in a process of change or ethical reorientation. Together with practitioners and church leaders, students will help to design a process of change, coordinate part of the process – reflecting and adapting along the way – and thus learn the complexities of church development.
- Spirituality & Ethics of the pastor (3 EC), which is focused on personal and professional formation both in regard to the student’s spirituality and the practice of spiritual direction as well as the ethics of a professional pastoral ministry, such as dealing with issues of power, sex and money.
International students can shape the internship after their own preferences and possibilities, either in an international church or elsewhere.
Besides these specific courses, students enrolled in the programme also follow the general courses of the Theology and Religious Studies master’s programme of the VU, engaging with the interreligious environment the VU offers. These are Hermeneutics, Research Skills, and one or two elective courses. Also, a master’s thesis is written on a topic of choice relating to a research group at the faculty, of which some specifically relate to evangelical and baptistic theology (see Onderzoeksgroepen FRT - Meer over - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (vu.nl).
On graduation, you will have the skills to become a minister, leader and/or theologian in evangelical and baptistic churches or organisations. For those already involved in ministry, the master’s provides a unique opportunity to broaden your perspectives, to gain overview of what is going on in actual church life and to grow in practical skills and qualifications.
For those pursuing ordination in a particular church, it is important to note that the specific educational requirements and qualifications may differ per church denomination. It is advised to fully inform yourself about this, as additional education may be required. As such, this programme can be followed as part of the route towards ordination of pastors in Dutch Baptist and CAMA churches, as is the minor ‘Missionair Leiderschap’ (Dutch, Minor Missionair Leiderschap - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (vu.nl)).
In addition to leadership possibilities in church, having a master’s degree in theology from the Vrije Universiteit provides a qualification to work in a range of different settings, such as the academy, schools, governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as corporate environments. If you finish your first four courses with an 8 or higher on average, you may also switch to the Research Master.
Prior Knowledge: The entry requirements of Exploring a Discipline apply to this specific specialisation (see Master's Theology and Religious Studies - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (vu.nl)). For students without any prior theological education, we recommend that you consult with us to discuss the possibilities.
Language? The master’s programme is offered in English. For Dutch students, the specific internship offered as two masterclasses is followed in Dutch; international students follow a generic internship.
Location: Some of the programme specific courses are offered in the Baptist House, Postjesweg 150, 1061 AX in Amsterdam (a 15-minute journey from the VU), general courses take place at the VU. In consultation some courses might also be available online, through distance learning.