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Children’s ministry spotlight: offering students both certification and degree options

Oklahoma Christian University students interested in going into children’s ministry are now one step closer to achieving their career goals with the addition of the certification program, added in fall 2017, alongside the option of majoring in Children’s Ministry.

“[Children’s ministry is the] church of today—a church without children’s ministry is a dying church,” Children’s Ministry Instructor Barbara Price said. “I always tell my students that being a children’s minister grants you the ability of telling a bible story to a child for the first time.”

Oklahoma Christian now offers both a degree in children’s ministry and the certification. The degree includes all general education classes, while the certificate is only the core children’s ministry classes. Price said the certification program recently broadened to including international students working in missions.

“The [certificate program] seems to be for people who are already on the job and wanting to increase their education, especially since the children’s ministry major hasn’t been available very long,” Price said. “A lot of people in the workforce would like this knowledge, and that is why we have added the certificate program.”

Price has worked in children’s ministry since she was 12 and encourages students focused on early childhood education or ministry to consider obtaining the two-year certificate.

“It’s a great job,” Price said. “If you are going into youth, it’s good to have a background in children as well. Family ministries are grown from the children up, so right now, it is a very important job in our fellowship.

According to Price, working in children’s ministry is not a typical day-to-day job, because with children’s ministry, teachers have the opportunity to watch and help children develop. She said she constantly has churches ask her about the program she offers.

“Right now, the churches that are coming to me want people with a degree, since the degree is available,” Price said. “This is where the [two year] certification degree is coming in—the leadership is available—so some ministries are asking their teachers to come and get the certification.”

Children’s ministry alumna Amanda Smith said she originally came to Oklahoma Christian for a degree in music, but switched to children’s ministry after she thrived in the Bible department.

“As an alum, I would encourage students to do well in all of their classes, not just the specifically Children’s Ministry geared ones,” Smith said. “There is so much information I learned in my intensive Bible classes that I use now, as well as my family studies classes I took. I would also encourage you to intentionally spend time with your professors and allow them to be mentors to you. The best thing OC gave me was my mentor.”

Smith said her favorite part of children’s ministry is the chance to love and care for children. She currently works at Contact Mission Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK as a children’s minister.

Evynn Alexander graduated in 2015 with a degree in missions, but returned to Oklahoma Christina to obtain the certification degree in children’s ministry. Alexander currently works at Capitol Hill Church of Christ as a Helpers in Missions worker.

“God is leading me more and more toward children’s ministry,” Alexander said. “The relationships I have developed with the kids make everything worth it—even if I don’t have as close of relationships with the coworkers, I still have the kids.”

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