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Seminary Academics

Grow in Faith, Flourish in Ministry

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Ignite & Equip Cohorts

Earn your Master of Arts in Christian Formation in four years at North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS). Now open to Covenanters of any location, you can study through the Equip cohort (hosted by the Midwest Conference) or the Ignite cohort (hosted by the Pacific Southwest Conference). These collaborative, cohort-based pathways enable staff pastors and lay leaders serving at local Covenant churches to complete an affordable seminary degree with a consistent community of learners and develop friendships to sustain lifelong ministry.

Program Pathway

Students take three to seven credit hours of online coursework each fall, spring, and summer semester. In the fall (late August to mid-December) and spring (mid-January to mid-May) semesters, students meet virtually each Monday evening for 1.5 hours. One week of in-person time is required each fall and summer semester. First-year students also have a week of in-person classes at the Covenant’s Midwinter Conference in the spring semester. 

Requirements & Outcomes

Sample Pathway

Program Benefits

  • Gain biblical, theological, and practical foundations for ministry
  • Learn from scholars with academic expertise and pastoral vision
  • Meets educational requirement to seek Ordination to Word and Service in the Evangelical Covenant Church
  • Combine the benefits of an embodied learning community with the flexibility of online delivery
  • Gain exposure to the broader Covenant denomination, building relationships with conference leaders

Your Journey as a Student

Every fall and spring semester, students complete a three-credit course that meets virtually each Monday evening for 1.5 hours, 7:00 to 8:30p.m. Central Time.

Each fall during their program, Equip students meet at Carol Joy Holling Camp and Retreat Center in Ashland, Nebraska, for a week of in-person classes and cohort connection. Ignite students do the same at Mission Springs Camps and Conference Center in Scotts Valley, California. The nearest airport to Ashland is Omaha, Nebraska (40 min). The nearest airport to Mission Springs is San Jose, California (40 min). San Francisco and Oakland airports may also be cost-effective options for students traveling in from out of state.

In the first year of their program, Ignite and Equip students attend the Covenant Midwinter Conference for ECC pastors. This January event occurs over a week and is an opportunity to engage with the wider ECC pastoral community and the Covenant’s missional ethos. Midwinter’s location alternates between Chicago and other cities each year. Courses take place in hotel event space; students can attend conference events outside of class time.

For one week each summer of their program, Ignite and Equip students come together and stay at NPTS’s campus in Chicago for in-person classes, cohort connections, and engagement with students from other programs.

Intensive Dates for 2024–25 Academic Year  

  • September 9–13, 2024: Equip Fall intensive course and cohort connection at Carol Joy Holling
  • September 16–20, 2024: Ignite Fall intensive course and cohort connection at Mission Springs
  • January 20–24, 2025: Midwinter Conference in Denver, CO
  • June 2–7, 2025: Summer intensive course and cohort connection at NPTS’s Chicago, IL campus 

“It has been such a gift to walk through the Equip program with a cohort. We support each other, sharpen and learn from one another, and help each other through our classes. I wouldn’t want to earn my degree any other way.” – Laurie Larson, worship pastor at Clay Center Covenant Church

Partners & Funding

Equip and Ignite are collaborative partnerships between NPTS and the Midwest and Pacific Southwest Conferences. Cohort students receive a 50% North Park tuition discount and subsidized fall housing costs through the conference and Covenant denomination.

This unique funding model significantly reduces tuition and is possible due to the friendships and partnerships within the Covenant.

Ready to Begin?

1. Indicate your interest, and NPTS and conference staff will be in touch.
2. Talk with your church leadership and conference staff about their willingness to provide financial sponsorship.
3. Apply.
4. Submit all supplemental items by June 1 to complete your application.
5. Return completed contract(s) to your conference office.
6. If accepted, confirm your enrollment through the process outlined in your admissions letter.

Learn more about our admissions process here. For more information on church sponsorship, prospective Ignite students and congregations should contact the Pacific Southwest Conference Office; prospective Equip students and congregations should contact the Midwest Conference Office.