African American Church Studies

Concentration in African American Church Studies

Since its inception in the hush harbors on slave plantations in North America, the African American church has been the primary context for shaping the black Christian experience. The life and ministry of the black church is concretized in its forms of fellowship, public presence and, most importantly, in its worship. Perkins School of Theology affirms the importance of the institution of the African American church and has committed itself to the preparation of church leaders with the knowledge and skills for effective ministry in and with the black church.

The Concentration in African American Church Studies is available to all students who are enrolled in the M.Div. degree program and who wish to broaden their understanding of African American religious experiences as well as prepare for leadership in the black church or related social agencies. Interested students can declare their intent to earn the certificate with their adviser and the registrar.


Students pursuing this Concentration will be expected to appreciate and analyze the complexity of black life and culture and how it shapes the African American church. It is intended that students will develop the following competencies:

  1. Acquire skills for assessing social, cultural, political and economic issues as these affect African American congregations in urban and rural settings
  2. Understand the history of the African American church in the North American context and in relationship to the continent of Africa
  3. Understand the biblical and theological underpinnings of the historical and contemporary black church
  4. Understand the role of the black church in forming black spirituality and the black worship experience
  5. Acquire effective pastoral and spiritual leadership, advocacy and relationship building skills within and beyond black congregational settings

Concentration Requirements

  1. Formally register for the certificate through the office of the registrar
  2. Complete MN 7320 Ministry in the Black Church (three term hours)
  3. Complete 12 additional term hours (four courses) in approved African American Church Studies courses (See the list of designated courses below.)
  4. Complete an internship (12 term hours) in an approved African American church or related setting. In lieu of the internship, M.T.S. students, in consultation with the adviser, must complete a major research project that addresses issues concerning the African American church.

Students pursuing the Concentrations in Urban Ministry and African American Church Studies may double-count those courses designated for both certificates.

Course Options

BB 8330 African American Perspectives on the Bible
CA 8015 The Pastor as Financial Leader
CA 7309 The Minister as Administrator
CA 8319 Dynamics of Pastoral Leadership
CE 8020, 8320 Ministry with Children
CE 8072, 8372 Multicultural and Global Dimensions of Educational Ministry
CE 8330 Youth Ministry
CE 8338 Emancipatory Educational Ministry with Adolescent Girls: Liberating Ophelia and LaTomika
CE 8340 Adult Ministry
CE 8362 Christian Education in an Urbanizing World
CM 8250, 8251 Music Ministry in the Black Church Experience
HH 8027 Christianity and Social Justice in the Southwest
HX 8341 Salvation and Social Justice in the Reformation
HX 8354 African American Christianity in the United States
MN 7342 Women In Ministry
MT 8345 African American Liberation Theology
MT 8381 Theology and Ethics of Ministry
MT 8385 Martin and Malcolm and Theological Ethics
PC 8333 Pastoral Care and Counseling of Women
PC 8335 Sexual and Domestic Violence: Theological and Pastoral Concerns
PC 8345 Justice Issues in Pastoral Care
PR 8332 Feminist Emancipatory Preaching
PR 8345 Preaching Public Issues: Biblical, Theological and Homiletical Perspectives
ST 8375 Feminist, Womanist and Mujerista Theologies
TC 8310 Theology, Religion and Cultural Studies
TC 8375 Advanced Feminist Theory
XS 7302 Issues in Urban Ministry
XS 8302 Race Relations and the Church
XS 8326 Broad-Based Community Organizing: Holiness and Politics in the Urban Church
XS 8332 Contemporary Issues in Urban Ministry
XS 8350 The Social Mission of the Church