Want to explore seminary study without applying?
At AMBS, students may take up to two courses without having been admitted to one of the seminary's degree or certificate programs, with a limit of one course per term. A nonadmitted student's first AMBS course is 50 percent off of regular tuition rates.
The Semester Two courses listed below are well suited to students who are exploring seminary studies. Please contact the registrar's office with questions.
|On-campus courses||Online courses||Hybrid courses|
Duration: 14 weeks
Face-to-face courses meet on the AMBS campus in Elkhart. Classroom sessions have accompanying assignments outside of each class session. While these courses have online requirements, classroom learning is a central element of the course.
Duration: 14 weeks
Over the 14 weeks, students can do their online coursework at different times that suit their individual schedules and needs. (Some courses may require occasional sessions during which students need to be online at the same time.) All course activities are mediated through an online course management system. Students interact with professors and peers through course discussion boards, email, video chats, Google hangouts or other means.
Duration: 14 weeks
Hybrid courses combine learning on the student's own time and scheduled times during which students learn face to face. The courses begin and end with online assignments and interactions. Students are expected to be on campus for one scheduled week during the course for face-to-face interactions with other students and faculty; this allows students to meet the residency requirements of AMBS's accrediting agencies.
Semester Two • 2017–18
We haven’t always known quite what to do with the relationship between peace and justice. The biblical texts bear witness to both the Holy Warrior God and the prophet who decries peace without justice, to the Jesus who came not to bring peace but a sword and to the Jesus who weeps over Jerusalem because it did not recognize “the things that make for peace.” In this course we study pertinent biblical passages in order to gain a perspective and to provide a basis for reflecting on peace and justice praxis today. We look at some hard topics: patriarchy, the so-called violence of God, empire and colonization. We also look at some topics that are more pleasant but also contain their own complexities, such as hospitality and migration, our relationships with each other and with the earth, and eschatological hope, among others.
Three hours — Safwat Marzouk, PhD
Recent waves of migration and the political discourse about building walls have raised many vital questions about the church’s theology and witness during these critical times. This course will explore biblical and theological questions such as: What are the implications for calling the church a community of sojourners? What should the church’s witness look like in a context that is dominated by fear of the other, economic injustices and military violence? What are the biblical visions that the church could rely on for embodying an alternative to the politics of multiculturalism, segregation and assimilation that dominate North American societal models for dealing with the relationship between migrant and host communities?
Three hours — Loren Johns, PhD
Encounter Paul’s most comprehensive presentation of his gospel, using historical, literary, social-world and rhetorical-analytical methods. We will seek to discern Paul’s theology and explore ways in which this letter relates to the congregational circumstances in Rome and to Paul’s ongoing missionary agenda. We will also discuss the theological, ethical and pastoral implications of this letter’s message for the life of the church today.
Three hours — Malinda Berry, PhD
This course is about listening carefully and deeply as creation groans in travail. Beginning with environmental ethics, students will be oriented to a paradigm of Anabaptist ecotheology that includes Earthkeeping, eco-justice, watershed discipleship and environmental justice. From this foundation, our practice of faithful listening involves spending time with four major themes: the intersection of place and spirituality, the theological context of environmental stewardship, the ethical and economic frameworks of eco-justice, and creation care practices in the church.
Three hours — Janna Hunter-Bowman, PhD
This course introduces students to the growing discipline of peace studies through the lens of peacebuilding, an integrated framework of academic study and practice. It guides students through key texts from peace research as well as cultural studies, religious studies, interventions from peacebuilding practice, and theologies that shape transformative approaches to peacebuilding. Students will have the opportunity to do substantial research in the areas covered by the course or to devise multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary peacebuilding approaches through case study.
Three hours — David Miller, DMin
This course begins with an examination of the biblical concept of shalom as seen in creation, covenant, prophetic vision and renewal; the ministry, witness and teaching of Jesus; and the life of the early church. The course then examines how the church’s changing social location has influenced the way it has sought to bear witness to God’s intended shalom at various times in history. The past is queried with an aim toward strengthening contemporary discernment of the “things that make for peace” and how the church may more faithfully bear witness to God’s shalom in our moment in time.
Three hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin
With communal worship at its center, this course has one goal: to strengthen students’ capacity to integrate worship theory and practice so that they can plan and lead worship with increasing competence in order to enrich a congregation’s experience of God, foster unity in the body of Christ and strengthen the church’s witness in the world. Focused on developing and refining both a working theology and practices of worship, the course explores key biblical, theological and historical foundations for Christian worship; teaches contextual analysis skills and practices; and introduces skills for studying biblical texts, crafting words for worship and leading old and new rituals. Students will also explore their identity and embodiment as worship leaders and formulate a set of principles for training and leading a worship planning group, including strategies for evaluating and assessing worship.
One hour — Janeen Bertsche Johnson, MDiv
This colloquium focuses on the structure, organization, governance, foundational documents, vision and goals, decision-making processes, leadership and identity markers of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. Special attention will be given to the integration process (1995–2001) and recent developments, as well as to the relationship of area conferences and churches to the denominations.
Two hours — Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD
This course seeks to reclaim focused, intentional living by developing a pattern for daily life modeled after the life and practices of Jesus Christ, including regular practices of prayer, fellowship and hospitality, work and reflection, Sabbath and rest, and holy play. We will develop language, concepts and habits by which to evaluate the role that technology plays in permeating and distorting our relationships with God, with community and with creation. The course requires commitment to daily Christian practices, moderate reading and writing, and weekly group reflection.
One hour — Allan Rudy-Froese, PhD
Students will practice playing and resting in community with a view to a deeper understanding of themselves, their relationships and the wider world. We will consider recent theologies of play and Sabbath and ponder how the church might play its way into God’s mission in the world.
Three hours — Gary Yamasaki
In this course, students will learn the Greek and Hebrew alphabets and how to use study aids and research tools. They also will be oriented to basic exegetical methodologies using the original biblical languages. Using print resources and computer-assisted Bible study programs, students will cultivate skills needed when studying the Bible in preparation for preaching and teaching in the congregation.
Three hours — Lois Barrett, PhD
A descriptive and analytic study of the settings, ideas and personalities that shaped Anabaptism within the context of the early 16th-century church and society. Bearing in mind the social and political setting, the course will highlight doctrine, ethics, mission, sacramental life and spirituality in various streams of Anabaptism, noting their common and contrasting characteristics. The relevance of this heritage for contemporary ecumenical, doctrinal, congregational and personal life will be assessed.
Two hours — Rachel Miller Jacobs, DMin
This course on the ministry of Christian formation in congregational life examines two central questions: How is faith nurtured to maturity in congregational life? And how are leaders equipped to guide the congregation in its growth? Focusing on three essential and interrelated arenas of congregational life — worship, community and mission — the course explores key biblical and theological foundations for Christian formation, provides guidance for a variety of formation ministries and introduces practical tools for nurturing growth in faith for leaders and for groups.
Two hours — Daniel Schipani, PhD
This course begins with a biblical and historical survey of pastoral care. It explores theory and practice and encourages students to develop their own theological understandings of this field and a model of pastoral care. Pastoral care is considered in various circumstances and contexts. Attention is paid to communication and listening skills, interpersonal relationships, helping relationships and interventions that facilitate healing and growth.
Three hours — Malinda Berry, PhD
Beginning with the Pentecost moment of Acts 2, we will trace human migration patterns and the development of racial pseudoscience to deepen students’ awareness of the impact of systemic and interpersonal racism on the history and current life of the Christian church. Historical and contemporary stories of racial cooperation and crisis will help us frame our primary question: From the perspective of Christian social ethics, how do we articulate a more just vision of the church that includes forms of nonviolent resistance to racism?
Three hours — Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD
Leaders in a missional church need to be able to read and interpret the cultural contexts in which we live and share the gospel message. This course will place cultural hermeneutics in context with, but distinct from, biblical and theological hermeneutics. It will focus primarily on late-modern and postmodern Western culture with special attention to themes such as consumption, spectacle and desire, but will also include early church and non-Western perspectives.
Three hours — Betty Pries
This course explores approaches to conflict management and conciliation skills from the perspective of communication theory and the dynamics of interpersonal and intragroup conflict. Training in basic mediation skills is included.
Two or three hours — Delores Friesen, PhD
This course focuses on helping students understand themselves, their families and their families of origin in the light of their personal spiritual heritage, their church heritage and systems theory. The aim is to assist students to become better-equipped agents of God’s care as they minister to persons, families and church groups.
Nonadmitted students wishing to take one course should use the One-course registration form.
You may only use this form if you are not an admitted student at AMBS or not enrolled at another seminary, college or university. (Students who are enrolled elsewhere: please contact the registrar's office if you have questions.)