How do we develop curriculum for ministers in the Church of the Nazarene? Here are the steps that every educational provider can follow. The focus of these steps is on pastoral ministry, but these can be adapted for other types of ministries:
- Gather Input into the expectations for the Course of Study
- Survey laypeople (and some clergy) in our churches to find out their felt needs and expectations of a pastor. What kind of person should a pastor BE? What should a pastor KNOW? What should a pastor be able to DO?
- From the input from our laypeople we form ability statements in these three categories: Be, Know, and Do. When our curriculum is finished, laypersons should be able to recognize that the pastor meets their (reasonable) expectations for beginning ministry in these three ways, they should know the things that a congregation normally expects from a pastor, they should have the right kind of holy character, and they should be able to do the duties that a normal church expects from a pastor.
- Consult with the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene. The Manual gives expectations about the core duties of an ordained minister or licensed minister (500-502.6, 505-526.1, especially 513-522). These abilities and duties must also inform the curriculum so that when students graduates, they are able to fulfill all these duties at a basic level.
- Determine if there are other inputs from the culture or legal context in which the student will be working that should be reflected in a course of study curriculum.
- Determine the Regional expectations for a course of study. These are listed in the Asia-Pacific Region Sourcebook on Ordination & Ministerial Development.
- Write exit outcome statements that show how a student will be evaluated in four areas: Content (knowledge), Competency (capability), Character, and Context.
- An exit outcome is a broader statement that is measurable by observable interactions with the student. These can contain words like demonstrate, list, explain, show, perform, and other action verbs as necessary. They would not contain hopeful or emotional goals like understand, know, feel, appreciate, exist and other verbs that are not observable in the student.
- The Regional Sourcebook contains a good set of minimum exit outcomes for each of the four categories. These can be added to as necessary to meet the full expectations of a local context.
- For each exit outcome, list the steps or sequential abilities and classroom outcomes that will lead a student to achieve the exit outcomes.
- Note that for the example Regional Course of Study, the exit outcomes are the list of activities that a pastor will do. These were defined and then sub-outcomes written for each.
- Form courses that will achieve these outcomes.
- These may or may not be a traditional list of courses.
- It is more important what and whether a student learns than when and how they learn.
- It is more important that the students can do the outcomes than if they take a course with a specific name.
- Lessons should show clearly how that lesson will achieve a set of outcomes for the student.
- The student should know from the beginning of their enrollment in the COS what their expected outcomes will be.
- The student should know in each class what they will be expected to master.
- A teacher should use a wide range of teaching methods to help all students achieve at least a basic mastery of the outcomes.
- Produce a syllabus for each course.
- These will introduce the course with a course definition.
- They will include the outcomes for the class.
- They will include the balance of the class in the percentage of each of the 4 C’s.
- They will include the graded activities for the class.
- They will include the session outlines and show links to the outcomes achieved in each lesson.
- Define the other aspects of the Course of Study that will impact the way students will learn.
- Ways that the educational provider will cooperate with local churches.
- The use of mentors, cohorts, and long term activities outside the classroom setting.
- Other environmental aspects that will positively impact the student’s learning.
- Submit these documents to the RCOSAC for review.
- When approved at the regional level, the RCOSAC will submit the documents to the ICOSAC for their approval. The ICOSAC will send the documents to the General Superintendents and General Board for the final approval.
- When approved internationally, the course of study will be considered validated.
- This is normally for 10 years, with a midterm review after 5 years.
- Graduation from a COS that has been validated is necessary to be ordained in the Church of the Nazarene.
- Validation is not accreditation but the confirmation that this COS meets the minimum requirements of the Church of the Nazarene for ordination.