As a Missiology major you’ll explore the biblical basis for Christian missions and the historical development of Christianity as a Global Religion. You’ll investigate the impact of the major world religions on the contemporary global social and political landscape. You’ll learn about current strategies and methods used by mission organizations today and those that might emerge in the future. You’ll take coursework in contemporary religious movements, global Christianity, growth and renewal in the Christian church, and missiology. You may even have the opportunity to serve as an intern in an international setting.
Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom; you’ll also have opportunities for real-life learning through Gardner-Webb’s mission programs throughout the world. When you graduate, you’ll be prepared to take on meaningful challenges in mission work, ministry, and spiritual services.
As a community we feel called to spread the message of God’s love to the world, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for mission work both locally and overseas. We believe mission experiences are an important part of what makes an education at Gardner-Webb valuable: we provide opportunities for cultural understanding, international perspective, foreign language practice, and personal growth.
GWU’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy promotes an environment of supportive discussion, respectful debate, and increasing self-awareness. The professors in the Department are committed believers with an openly confessional stance. Yet they will challenge you to think for yourself and to examine many points of view. Raising questions, engaging in discussion and participatory learning are central to the classroom experience. You will be encouraged to gain understanding of your own culture, values, and faith and to develop practical plans for lifelong learning and service.
Our faculty members are dedicated to lives of scholarly exploration of our Christian heritage and living lives reflecting these ideals. We’re passionate about communicating these ideals to our students, our campus, and our community.
As a student in the GWU Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, you will benefit from enriching and challenging extracurricular experiences such as study abroad or travel to regions of historical and religious significance, supervised ministry experiences in settings such as churches, hospitals, and service organizations, and local, national, and international mission opportunities.
Gardner-Webb is one of the nation’s top 10 schools for mobilizing student missionaries through the North American Mission Board. Over spring break 2012, GWU’s Office of Christian Life and Service mobilized 71 student missionaries to places like Fortaleza, Brazil; Jinotega, Nicaragua; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Shelby, North Carolina; Bucharest, Romania; and Lake Providence, Louisiana. Additional opportunities are available through the Student Summer Missions Program of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Christian Service Organization
Gardner-Webb's Christian Service Organization provides scholarships for deserving, financially needy students who are preparing for full-time Christian vocational service.
Religious Studies Association
Religious Studies Association is a peer organization for Religious Studies majors and minors but is open to students of any major. It is student-led and provides opportunities for fellowship, learning and service. Religion majors and minors are required to attend four out of six yearly meetings.
Theta Alpha Kappa
Our campus chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honors society for religious studies and theology, recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement and offers opportunities for professional advancement.
Philosophy Reading Group
The Philosophy Ready Group provides students with opportunities for learning and community outside the classroom. Led by Dr. Perry Hildreth, Professor of Philosophy, students have recently read and discussed the writings of Wendell Berry, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Saint Augustine.
Campus Ministries United (CMU)
Through the Office of Christian Life and Service, Campus Ministries United (CMU) sponsors a number of organizations offering student opportunities for fellowship and service. These include: Verge (student worship service), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Fellowship of Christians United in Service (FOCUS), Missions Possible, Prison Fellowship, prayer ministry, small groups, and Celebration Week.
GWU Missiology majors are required to complete a practicum course or summer internship course. These hands-on learning experiences provide practical benefits, intensive learning, and community connections. Internship opportunities have included:
- Local churches, hospitals, hospice
- Campus ministries
- Christian radio stations
- Diocese organizations
- Missionary organizations
- Service and support organizations for homeless people and youth offenders
A degree in Missiology offers you excellent training for many careers in service and ministry. You will develop valuable skills in communication, critical thinking, research, and interpersonal relationships. Possible career choices include, among others: counselor, community organizer, educator, minister, youth pastor, nonprofit administrator, missionary, and social worker. You will also be well prepared for further studies at the graduate level.
GWU Religious Studies and Philosophy alumni have pursued or are pursuing graduate degrees at universities such as Gardner-Webb University, Baylor University, Duke University, Harvard University, Mercer University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and Wake Forest University. Others are serving as ministers at local churches, chaplains in the military, missionaries, or are working with non-profit or para-church organizations.