Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Youth ministry master’s program provides valuable practical experience

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“Basically, I create opportunities for Jr. High and Sr. High students learn to be a part of the bigger body of Christ.”

Nate Hultz is a Huntington University student pursuing an M.A. in Youth Ministry Leadership, and plans to graduate in 2013. At StoneBridge Church of God in Findlay, Ohio, he leads the young adult ministries and youth ministries, and works part-time as the Youth for Christ leader at Findlay High School.

“Basically, I create opportunities for Jr. High and Sr. High students learn to be a part of the bigger body of Christ,” says Hultz.

Hultz says that the biggest problem he experiences is making sure that he creates enough time to spend with his family. He says that on his day off he makes sure to spend it with his wife, getting things done for the family.

“I turn my phone off or put it in a place that I won’t hear it. If I know that I am spending too much time with my job, then I will take an extra day off to rest and be with my family,” Hultz says.

Hultz says that the most valuable part of his Huntington education was the Practical Research and Immersion for Ministry Effectiveness, or PRIME, program. He said that he learned more from that program than all of the class education he could have received. Hultz mentioned that HU was able to get him avoid mistakes that others were making and keep him a couple steps ahead right from the start.

“In schools that I had attended previously, I received good grades but was not learning how to do my job,” he says. At Huntington, Hultz is able to pursue depth in ministry and a relationship with Christ, rather than just gaining head knowledge.

Hultz speaks highly of the graduate program because he is able to further his education online without quitting his job, and because of the professors in the program and the knowledge they offer.

“The professors all come from different backgrounds. This is great for seeing youth ministry from a wide range of perspectives and understanding how to do youth ministry better,” Hultz says.

Hultz appreciates the graduate school staff, both because of their love for Jesus, and their commitment to helping each student.

“They want to help youth leaders from all over the nation succeed in what we do. It is an affordable choice and one of the best programs in the country,” says Hultz.

Hultz recommends Huntington for students considering youth ministry leadership who want to grow in knowledge and wisdom.In his search for graduate schools with counseling programs, Jeff Knutsondiscovered Huntington University. At first HU seemed like any other school, but when he decided that faith was an important factor in the matter, HU floated to the top in his list of choices.

His choice meant a significant sacrifice. Jeff and his wife moved from Oregon to Indiana so that he could enroll in the program. Soon after arriving at HU in August,Jeff realized he had made the right move.

After struggling with his faith for several years, Jeff considers his stay at HU a spiritual journey back into living right with God. He admires the passion for the growth of Christian counselors exhibited by Dr. Jerry Davis, director of HuntingtonUniversity’s graduate counseling program. Jeff appreciates the interest shown by his professors and staff members in his personal, spiritual and professional growth.

“What I find most beneficial is the devotional that many of the professors start with at the beginning of each class as well as the presentation of psychological theories from a Christian perspective,” Jeff said. “Psychology and spirituality do not have to disagree as most schools teach it.”

Jeff admits that most graduate programs are small and that allows them to offer a more personalized attention. However, he states that HU’s program goes “above and beyond.” Jeff describes his professors as accessible and devoted to their students. He believes they are truly concerned with their well-being.

“I am so very thankful for the support, love, discipleship and gentle correction that I have experienced from a wide range of sources since I arrived,” Jeff said. “I would not give this experience up for anything.”

Jeff has been challenged with finding balance between being a full-time student and a husband. The program requires 20 to 30 hours of reading per week and 10 hours in class per week. He is also expected to complete projects, papers and any other assignments.

“I appreciate the amount of work I put in because I know that the more work I put in, the better prepared I will be to enter the counseling field when I graduate,” Jeff said.

At the same time, Jeff admits that his family support has helped him through this journey as well.

“Fortunately I am blessed with a very patient and loving wife, and a very supportive family,” Jeff said. “I truly would not be successful in this program without all of them.”

Jeff encourages others, who may be considering the counseling program at HU to think of what they want to get from the program. In his experience in searching for a counseling program, he said most schools do not include faith as an important part of psychology—unlike HU. Other programs focus on the relation between the mind and the body, but the matter of spirituality is not as relevant.

“At HU, the emphasis is on the whole person’s mind, body and spiritual health in the way that God designed us as human beings in His image,” said Jeff. “That makes all the difference in the world.”

Jeff expects to graduate in the fall of 2011 with an M.A. in Counseling.