People are hurting, and they often turn to their pastor to seek spiritual guidance and help. Many of our students have been called by God to shepherd the body of Christ in ways that bring healing and restoration. The M.Div. with the pastoral counseling concentration provides both a deep, theological foundation and skills for dealing with hurting people.
The Master of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling is designed for those who desire to be involved primarily in a counseling ministry, but who also want a solid biblical and theological foundation upon which to build their perspectives and practices of counseling. The counseling courses in this degree are provided by the excellent faculty in the Graduate Department of Counseling at Grace.
All five concentrations have a strong component of practical field experience, a 6-hour apprenticeship is required for the MDiv in Pastoral Counseling, which is built into the requirements.
Examples of courses in this major:
This course will examine the theological foundations as a basis for counseling, specifically as it pertains to personality, God’s design for proper functioning, what goes wrong, and possible solutions. Pertinent theological topics will also be discussed.
This course will examine the theoretical constructs inherent in proper functioning of both the marital relationship and for the family. Students will explore how the counselor can implement knowledge and skills necessary to aid in the mending of marriages and the restoration of proper family functioning. A major focus will be conflict resolution.
The legal, ethical, and professional issues in the delivery of mental health services are examined. Topics include ethical standards, privacy, confidentiality, and credentialing. Mental health codes and legislation are also discussed.
This course will examine the nature and practice of psychotherapy as it pertains to the topic of crises, disasters, and other trauma causing events. The nature of trauma, trauma resolution, and the standard of care in responding to trauma survivors will be explored.
This course will examine drug and alcohol counseling, other addictions, DSM-IV- TR criteria, the addictive process, and treatment issues.
The individuals who will challenge you to learn:
B.S. in Psychology, The Ohio State University; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Pastoral Studies, Denver Seminary
Dr. Jeffrey Gill was the senior pastor of the Delaware, Ohio Grace Brethren Church for 20 years (1982-2002). He started at the church when it was little more than a church plant. It experienced substantial growth over the years and is now well-known in the FGBC as a healthy and influential church body. He assumed the role of Dean of Grace Theological Seminary in July, 2002. In 2008, he was named Dean of the School of Ministry Studies, which includes both the Seminary and the undergraduate Biblical Studies Department at Grace. He was the National Moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches in 2002. He and his wife, Kathy, have two grown daughters.
B.S. in Communication, Ohio University; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Ph.D. in Biblical Theology (New Testament), Wheaton College
Dr. Matt Harmon brings a passion to equip people to encounter Christ through the Scriptures and lead others to do so as well. His research interests include the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, Biblical Theology, Pauline studies, and the life/ministry/theology of Jonathan Edwards. He served as full-time staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for eight years, doing evangelism and discipleship with college students. He taught courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College, as well in the local church. On a regular basis, Dr. Harmon also teaches for Campus Crusade for Christ, helping to train staff in interpreting and teaching Scripture. In his spare time, Dr. Harmon also teaches training workshops for Bibleworks. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society for Biblical Literature. Dr. Harmon is married to Kate and has two sons.
B.A. in Christian Education, Wheaton College; M.A. in Christian Education, Talbot School of Theology; Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Character Development and Spiritual Formation), Talbot School of Theology
Dr. Hill brings her passion and training in spiritual formation to facilitate the holistic development of students while at Grace. Her research interests include personal and interpersonal development with empirical work conducted in the area of adult attachment styles and relationship with God variables. She taught at Biola University and Talbot School of Theology before coming to Grace in 2006. While she focuses primarily in women's ministries, she has served in a variety of leadership roles cross-culturally, in the local church and in the parachurch context. Dr. Hill has developed a number of Bible study materials, published in the Christian Education Journal and presented research findings at the North American Professors of Christian Education Conference, a society of which she is a member.
B.A. in Pastoral Studies, Moody Bible Institute; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Th.M. in Practical Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; D.Min. in Preaching, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Dr. Rock LaGioia has been heavily involved in pastoral work since 1987. A member of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and the Evangelical Theological Society, he has authored numerous magazine articles and written book reviews. Dr. LaGioia has taught a wide variety of college courses such as spiritual formation, preaching, and theology at Moody Bible Institute and Taylor University. He has also taught graduate level homiletics and theology courses at Trinity International University and Huntington University Graduate School. Dr. LaGioia and his wife, Kathy, have been blessed with two sons.
B.A. in Elementary Education, Grace College; M.A. in Counseling, Grace College; Psy.D. in Clinical Pyschology, Adler School of Professional Pyschology
Dr. Deb Musser has been a full-time/core faculty member in the Graduate Department of Counseling and Interpersonal Relations since 2007, having taught as a part-time instructor in the department for five years previous to that. Prof. Musser has a passion for instilling hope to hurting people and is especially interested in women's issues and social justice. Before joining the full-time faculty, she worked for twelve years in the Student Affairs Department at Grace College.
Diploma in Advanced German, Goethe Institute; B.A. in History, Grace College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Intercultural Studies, Grace Theological Seminary
Dr. Roger Peugh came to Grace in the fall of 1989 with three years of pastoral experience followed by 20 years of missionary experience as a church planter in Germany. While at Grace, he was involved as an elder in a church plant for 13 years. He is an active Bible conference speaker as well as guest-lecturer in several German Bible schools. In addition to his role as Professor in the School of Ministry Studies, Dr. Peugh serves Grace College as Campus Prayer Coordinator and is serving as the Interim Dean of Chapel. Dr. Peugh, who has authored on the topic of prayer, is married to Nancy and they have four children and eight grandchildren.
B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; M.Div. in Biblical Languages, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Theological Studies (Old Testament), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Dr. Rata came to Grace Theological Seminary from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he served as Assistant Professor of Divinity. Before that he taught at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and Emmanuel Baptist University in Oradea, Romania. He has also pastored churches in California and Alabama, and served as an interim pastor in Michigan and Indiana. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Institute for Biblical Research and has presented papers at the national conventions of the Evangelical Theological Society. Dr. Rata is chair of the undergraduate Department of Biblical Studies. He and his wife, Carmen, have two sons.
B.A. in Bible, Appalachian Bible College; Th.B. in Bible and Theology, Appalachian Bible College; M.A. in Religion, Liberty University; M.Div., Th.M. in Theology, D.Min. in Pastoral Theology, Grace Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Preparation, Capella University
Dr. Mark Soto teaches in the School of Ministry Studies and is the program director for the M.A. in Ministry Program. His background in curriculum design enables him to provide faculty development and training in this area. He works extensively with the institution's hybrid-online programs while also completing a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning at Capella University. Prior to coming to Grace College, he had 12 years of experience in the pastoral ministry and was a counselor for a Christian residential childcare facility. He continues to serve as an interim pastor for two churches. He served as a part of the Grace College Student Life staff as the Associate Dean of Men before assuming a full-time faculty position. Dr. Soto and his wife, Carol, have two grown daughters.
B.A. in Communications, Grace College; Th.M. in Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Miss., Western Baptist Seminary
Dr. Tom Stallter has 18 years of missionary experience in the Central African Republic and Chad in the areas of church planting and development, leadership training, mission administration, and famine and economic relief. In addition to his teaching in the School of Ministry Studies, Dr. Stallter is the Executive Director of the institution's GTS Center for Korean Studies. Areas of research for Dr. Stallter include, cultural intelligence, business as mission, multicultural worship, ethics in missions, cultural values, cultural identity assessment, culture discovery, and matching missionary candidates to contexts. He is a member of the Evangelical Missiological Society and the National Ministerium of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Dr. Stallter and his wife, Sharon, have three grown children and one granddaughter.
Some of the positions you can obtain:
Be responsible for creating a safe, supportive, therapeutic environment for young people at-risk through positive role modeling, implementing behavioral management techniques, and teaching relational boundaries.
Provide individual, marital, and family counseling services to adults and children, to assist clients in identifying and working through personal and interactive problems.
Provide support to ensure that both the psychiatric and physical care needs of patients are met. Promote and maintain a healthy, safe, and therapeutic treatment setting that allows the recovery process to occur within the individual. This may involve evaluating or intervening and providing therapeutic one to one interaction with patients.
A military chaplain accompanies soldiers as they perform their missions around the world, acting as the spiritual leader. He ministers to the soldiers and also acts as a preacher, teacher, counselor and citizen soldier. A military chaplain is often accompanied with a chaplain assistant who is an enlisted soldier and they both form a Unit Ministry Team (UMT).
Typically as a member of the pastoral staff, provide counseling services within a church setting that integrates biblical values in the restoration process with clients.