Several years ago, the decreasing number of ministers graduating from Assemblies of God universities began to concern the fellowship. There were not enough credentialed ministers to take the responsibility from retiring AG pastors and missionaries," explained LeRoy Bartel.
In response, SAGU leadership prioritized promoting Bible degrees and ministerial credentials. Within the past five years, SAGU has graduated more than 730 Bible and church ministry students.
“Becoming a credentialed minister is more than just a title. It is accountability to behave ethically, to uphold sound doctrine and to represent Christ,” Dean for College of Bible & Church Ministries LeRoy Bartel said.
He continued, "SAGU's goal was to become the standard in Bible education for the AG. We fought hard, and eventually we created a solid 24-hour Bible-core curriculum."
Fall 2012 marked SAGU’s fifth annual Credentialing Day. Credentialing Day allows students to meet and network with district representatives about ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. In the past five years, more than 930 students have attended the event. More than 20 district representatives have attended each time.
SAGU remains committed to its core value of Bible-based education and the integration of biblical values in all academic disciplines by requiring every student to take the 24-hour Bible core. Students deepen their understanding of Scripture and develop well-founded theological convictions.
Bartel shared, “This event is an opportunity for students to network with the district leadership to know who to talk to when they want to become ministers in their home districts.”
“I dream of the day when there are just as many students from all of SAGU’s colleges—the College of Bible and Church Ministries as the College of Arts and Professions and the College of Business and Education—participating in Credentialing Day,” said Bartel.
SAGU integrates biblical values in all academic disciplines by requiring every student to take the 24-hour Bible core. Through these courses, students deepen their understanding of Scripture and develop well-founded theological convictions.
“More and more students with majors of education, business, history, media and other liberal arts majors are becoming involved in planting a church, serving as a volunteer, part-time staff member in a congregation, or going overseas in missionary activity. Everyone is a ‘minister.’”
SAGU guarantees districts as well as the General Council that every question that a student will see on the certified and licensing credentialing exams will be taught in the Bible core curriculum. Additionally, upper-level Bible/Theology courses will prepare students who are eligible for the ordination exam. The College of Bible and Church Ministries also assists students in their study and interview for the exam.
SAGU guarantees districts, as well as the General Council, that every question that a student will see on the certified and licensing credentialing exams will be taught in the Bible core curriculum. Additionally, upper-level Bible/theology courses will prepare students who are eligible for the ordination exam. The College of Bible and Church Ministries also assist students in their study and interview for the exam.
District Schools of Ministry
Many AG districts provide a district school of ministry (DSOM) to help those who are already involved in ministry obtain ministerial credentials. SAGU partnered with the Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kansas Districts to help students complete an academic degree from an accredited university while earning college credit from their credentialing preparation.
Students who are enrolled at partnering districts may earn up to 9 hours of college credit after completing their ministry courses and obtaining their ministerial credential.
Certified ministers earn credit for New Testament Literature, Authentic Christianity and Pentecostal Doctrine and History courses. Licensed ministers earn credit for Old Testament Literature, Foundations of Church Ministries and the Mission of the Church courses. Ordained ministers earn credit for Principles and Practices of Pastoral Ministry, three hours of elective Bible credit, and three hours of elective credit in a ministry-related course.