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B.A. in Pastoral Leadership & M.A. in Pastoral Studies

Program Overview

Program Overview

In today’s world, effective ministry involves more than just knowledge. The needs of those you serve are often complex and change over time. As a servant-minded, passionate individual eager to meet those needs, you can study at an accelerated pace under devoted scholar-practitioners across a variety of disciplines. They will give you the tools you need to act as a faithful participant for the cause of Christ.

Enter pastoral leadership with more training and experience than a standard ministry program. Through our Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, you will engage in biblical and theological study grounded in Scripture. Additionally, you will gain practical skills for pastoring, such as conflict management, partnering with civic organizations and nonprofits, and functioning within established systems, especially in urban contexts.

Program Outcomes

Partners with The Kern Family Foundation, Lipscomb offers this cost-effective and convenient pathway for you to earn both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees while in residence at Lipscomb University. You will graduate after four years with a bachelor’s in Pastoral Leadership. Then, you will continue your education an additional year to finish the program. Upon completion of this program, you will begin ministry with:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

Directed Electives

Students in the Pastoral Leadership program have the opportunity to tailor the undergraduate degree to a specific area of interest. The four directed elective paths allow students to be specialized in an additional field by taking the core classes within the area of study. Choose from the following focus areas: 

  • Business as Mission
  • Psychology
  • Theology & Ministry
  • Youth Ministry

Program Foundations



Students initially entering this program will follow the standard admissions requirements for all undergraduate programs. This includes an online application, which can be found here, in addition to submitting:

  • ACT and SAT test scores
  • Qualified reference letter
  • Official high school transcript

When you are almost through with the bachelor's degree portion of the program, you will apply for acceptance into the Hazelip School of Theology. This is necessary for the master's degree. Admissions requirements for Hazelip include:

  • Application with $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Three letters of recommendation: one from a college or university administrator or professor, one from a professional supervisor/employer and one from a church leader or minister
  • Official transcripts emailed to gradadmissions [at] lipscomb.edurel="noopener" target="_blank" or mailed to Graduate Admissions (One University Park Dr., Nashville, TN 37204)
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Undergraduate or graduate GPA of at least 2.75
  • 750-1,000-word essay discussing the applicant's religious heritage, career goals and how Hazelip School of Theology might contribute to the achievement of those pursuits


The Pastoral Leadership program requires an interdisciplinary mix of courses to prepare students for ministry. See the accordion below for bachelor's and master's requirements.

Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid

Tuition and costs vary based on degree, year and other factors. Linked below are the tuition and fees information pages for both undergraduate and graduate levels:

Why earn your degree at Lipscomb University?

Multiple Degrees at Lesser Cost

Earn a minor, bachelor's and master's through one program in an efficient, cost-effective way. This program is designed for you to earn a bachelor's degree with a minor in four years, then continue education to finish a master's degree through reduced credit options in one year!

Grow Your Network

Students of the College of Bible and Ministry have access to incredible networking and interviewing opportunities with local ministers and nonprofit leaders, through internship fairs, vocational discovery meals, and monthly lunches for local ministers.

Engage in Community

Students in this program move through the degrees as cohorts, giving them a built-in community to learn alongside. You'll grow close to your peers and faculty throughout your enrollment, as well as broaden your worldview through a global trip.

Integrated interdisciplinary curriculum

Follow a curriculum that incorporates faith, work and economics into the entirety of the program. Courses such as Principles in Business as Mission, Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy, and Conflict Management help train future ministers for situations you will routinely face.

Our Faculty

  • Deron Smith headshot

    Deron Smith

    Director of Accelerated Pastoral Leadership Program

    Deron came to Lipscomb as Dean of Vocation and Spiritual Formation in July 2020 to join the wider mission of Lipscomb to equip and educate students to reflect the character...

    Meet Deron Smith
  • JP Conway headshot

    Jp Conway

    Assistant Bible Professor of Christian Ministry

    J.P. grew up in Nashville. After high school at Ezell Harding Christian School, he studied at Abilene Christian University (BA in Youth and Family Ministry) and interned two summers at...

    Meet Jp Conway
  • Frank Guertin headshot

    Frank Guertin

    Assistant Dean and Associate Professor

    Frank Guertin is Assistant Dean for the Hazelip School of Theology at Lipscomb University and Assistant Professor of Theology. Guertin completed his bachelor's degree at Ohio Valley University and his...

    Meet Frank Guertin
  • Aaron Howard headshot

    Aaron Howard

    Assistant Professor

    Aaron teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in ethics. He holds a PhD in Ethics and Society from Vanderbilt University. an MA in Theology & Biblical Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary,...

    Meet Aaron Howard
  • Earl Lavender headshot

    Earl Lavender


    Earl was born to missionary parents in Trieste, Italy. He earned undergraduate degrees from Ohio Valley College and David Lipscomb College (Physical Education and Coaching).  He is married to the...

    Meet Earl Lavender
  • Paavo Tucker headshot

    Paavo Tucker

    Adjunct Faculty

    Paavo was born in Nashville, and grew up in Finland as a missionary kid before moving to the United States to go to college at Freed-Hardeman University. He attained his...

    Meet Paavo Tucker
  • Lauren White headshot

    Lauren White

    Assistant Professor

    Lauren Smelser White has served as Assistant Professor of Theology at Lipscomb since 2018 and teaches various undergraduate and graduate courses in Bible and systematic, historical, and contextual theology. She...

    Meet Lauren White

Career Paths

Pastoral Leadership

Use newly developed pastoral skills honed in the wisdom of faith, work, and economics to lead tomorrow's churches and engage in civic leadership.

Directors, religious activities and education

Plan, direct, or coordinate programs designed to promote the religious education or activities of a denominational group. May provide counseling and guidance relative to marital, health, financial, and religious problems.


Serve others in their seasons of need as a chaplain in a variety of settings, including the military, corporations, hospitals, hospice and universities.