There is currently no empirically supported consensus on what children’s ministers need to know in order to effectively serve the children in their local congregations. To shed light on this question, this paper presents a qualitative content analysis of undergraduate children’s ministry degree programs in the United States (N = 30). Findings revealed a strong emphasis on theology and general ministry preparation, with most programs drawing from the related academic disciplines of psychology and education. Children’s ministry specific courses included philosophical, programming, and administrative topics. Commonly assigned textbooks included both philosophical and practical content. Implications for practice and research are discussed.
Keywords: higher education, training, clergy, children’s pastors, family ministry, religious education