The VSB Master of Science in Church Administration is the school’s main academic program, and the Church Management Center, according to Matthew Magnon, director of the center’s faculty and professor of management and operations at VSB, is the only center of this guy in business school. He also completed the course in 2011.
The 30-credit online degree is delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students come from all over. During a recent virtual session in Manion, the two priests from Rwanda entered the system with the head of parish affairs in the North Pole, Alaska. Because Vilanova is a university in the Augustan Catholic tradition, 75 to 80 percent of students in the program are Catholic, Magnon says, but he accepts students from any tradition.
The Master of Science (MSc) in Online Center, which is based on the MBA Business School curriculum, focuses on the essential principles of business education within the framework of church leadership in the Christian tradition. Other institutions may provide church management as an add-on to the MBA, but Vilanov’s is fully integrated, according to Magnon. Leadership Ethics and Catholic Social Thought, for example, is an introductory course that teaches business leadership skills through the lens of faith.
The Church Administration Center was established in 2004 under the leadership of Professor Chuck Zach. The idea has been floated many times, but after the Boston sexual violence scandal, “there was a recognition that we need to do better and as an institution of higher education – and especially as a school of commerce – to contribute not only to the Catholic Church but also to what the churches in general need,” says Magnon.
Churches that do not manage their organizational resources and face failures divert people from their message. On the other hand, those who do it well amplify it in the world. For example, the VSB center encourages churches and leaders to undergo financial audits. Certainly not to catch anything on board, but to save the mission. A sound budget can show how the church uses resources to, for example, feed the poor, provide education, and serve society.
“Many church leaders are prepared for the ministerial aspects of their role, but as doctors, lawyers and other professionals, they are not trained in running a business.”
In general, there are two types of students entering the master’s program: first, professionals who come from successful careers in business, who are looking for ways to give and continue to give to their faith or church community. And second, church leaders and administrators are looking for skills to better manage church resources.
Instructors emphasize that the church is not a business. It’s a mission. You can’t come in and tell the pastor he has to treat his people as customers. But the church is an organization. He has the human resources, the finances, the strategy and the communication that must be managed to accomplish this mission.
“We are responsible for the proper stewardship of the organization’s resources,” says Magnon. “If these things are done wrong, they can block or hinder the transmission of the gospel.”
Summary of news:
- A new master’s degree that combines business principles with church management is now available
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