Master of Christian Leadership



Who Should Consider the MCL Degree?

The Master of Christian Leadership (MCL) degree is a program of study designed to prepare students for competent leadership in congregations, where the calling is not to senior ordained pastoral leadership, or for other leadership positions outside the local church. It is ideal for persons pursuing education for specialized ministry (such as youth ministry or church planting) or for those who wish to complement their current career path with theological education by exploring the interaction between their faith and career. It is designed to be completed in 3-4 years part-time or 2-3 years full-time.


What Will I Study?

Ministry & Leadership Formation Studies
Spiritual Formation (3 hours)
  Covenant Group (3 hours – 6 semesters of .5 credits each)
  Theology & Practice of Leadership (3 hours)
  Modern Theories of Leadership (3 hours)
Biblical Studies Biblical Hermeneutics & Exegesis (3 hours)
  Interpreting the New Testament or Interpreting the Old Testament (3 hours)
Theological & Philosophical Studies Introduction to Theological Studies (3 hours)
  Introduction to Christian Ethics or In Search of Biblical Justice (3 hours)
Focused Leadership Studies  Leadership Electives (9 hours)
Leadership Experience/Internship
Leadership Practicum (3 hours)


*36 Total Credit Hours

*New curriculum requirements as of the 2019-20 Academic Catalog.

What is the Spiritual Formation Focus?

An essential aspect of fulfilling Leland’s mission to “equip transformational leaders for the global ministry of Jesus Christ” is nurturing spiritual growth in students. Leland seeks to provide a structure and atmosphere that helps students to have the support and accountability necessary for both individual and corporate spiritual growth. Like anything, building community that encourages this kind of growth takes time and intentionality. To this end, Leland has set in place specific requirements for our students.

Spiritual Formation Class – MCL students are required to take the Spiritual Formation class during their first semester at Leland. Besides acquainting students with basic aspects of the history and practice of Christian spiritual formation, this class will provide a model for practicing spiritual disciplines within the context of a covenanted small group.

Covenant Groups – For 6 subsequent semesters, MCL students are required to continue participating in a covenant group (.5 credits per semester) comprised of 4-7 other graduate students, which will meet seven times during the semester. The group typically reads a spiritual classic together and encourages one another in their spiritual practices. MCL students who wish to graduate in a shorter time period may register for extra credits per semester, with added course requirements.

Community Life Events – MCL students are also asked to contribute to and benefit from the broader Leland community by participating in at least two required community life events each semester (or four per year). These events include the all-school gatherings that inaugurate each semester, Advent and Lent worship services, Theological Society meetings, and the Graduation ceremony.


What are the Admissions Requirements?

The John Leland Center for Theological Studies is committed to providing equal opportunity for all student applicants without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability. The decision for admission rests with the Admissions Committee. Admission into the Master of Theological Studies program is based on the following considerations:Attested commitment to the Christian faith manifested by a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, membership and participation in a church and recommendation from Christian leaders.

  1. Attested commitment to the Christian faith manifested by a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, membership and participation in a church and recommendation from Christian leaders.
  2. Attested commitment to ministry indicated by a written statement of vocational or ministry objectives and church endorsement.
  3. Demonstrated academic ability by a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized institution with an overall grade point (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  4. Attested moral character evidenced by a life consistent with Christian principles and recommendations from Christian friends and leaders.

See Our Admissions Process for a more detailed description of the application process.


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MCL In A Nutshell

Credit Hours: 36

Vocational Focus: Leadership in church staff, parachurch or non-profit organizations, business and public service contexts.

Curricular Focus: Leadership and organizational studies in the context of solid biblical and theological understanding.

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1306 N. Highland St.
Arlington, VA 22201

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