Central College continues the emphasis of the ecumenical Christian tradition in general, and the Reformed tradition in particular, to prepare students for a life of service to God and community, as well as to prepare some students for a professional vocation in the ministry.
The chaplaincy and the religion faculty work together to provide a period of reflection and discernment for students who are considering ministry, whether this be lay ministry (such as missions, church-related teaching, or para-church service) or ordained ministry that requires further graduate or seminary study. Pastoral and vocational counseling is offered by the chaplain, the director of the Christian ministries emphasis of the religion major, and other faculty members. In addition, pre-ministerial students usually complete either a major or a minor in religion in order to give them adequate grounding in scriptural studies, in church history, theology, and ethics, and in at least one world religion other than Christianity. The students also have an opportunity to complete ministry internships in churches and church-related organizations either locally or through Central’s off-campus programs. Students may also choose to receive spiritual formation from a designated mentor.
The variety of denominations represented by the faculty, students, and staff at Central College provides student with a rich exposure to various formulations of Christian teachings and practices. Although our aim is to provide students with an opportunity to study various church teachings besides their own, we also focus a particular student’s study on the Church teaching to which he or she is most accustomed. As parts of an educational institution, the chaplaincy, the Christian ministries emphasis, and the religion major encourage students to develop a strong sense of the centrality of education to ministry. We foster an integration of faith with training of intellectual qualities of mind in order to establish a student’s vocation on the best that is thought and known in Christian teaching and ministry.