With one of the best bachelor’s in ministry, you’ll become a strong communicator and leader with the biblical knowledge needed to teach and influence those under your care and guidance.
With a bachelor’s degree in ministry, you’ll be taught the skills and knowledge needed to serve your community in church settings or otherwise as a Christian leader. With a strong foundation in biblical teaching and theology, and other key skills like biblical counseling, you’ll become a confident leader and communicator. The best bachelor’s degrees in ministry can help you to take those first steps toward your new role.
What Is a Ministry Degree?
Ministry degree programs are highly specialized in that they are typically taught by religious institutions and integrate the Christian faith directly into the curriculum. Students enrolling in a ministry degree program usually do so because they aspire to spread the word of the gospel through their everyday work.
The term ‘ministry’ means of service to God and those who follow under his teachings and in his name. While we’d typically assume that to mean somebody who is working within a church or Christian organization, anybody is capable of practicing ministry. However, it does take a strong understanding of the bible and theology, and the right skill set.
This is why students enrolled in a ministry degree program will study topics that include scripture, biblical studies, Greek and Hebrew languages, the old and new testaments, the history of the church, and biblical counseling for example. These courses will prepare you to communicate God’s teachings effectively.
Careers for Ministry majors
Ministry graduates may follow one of a number of career paths. Many become pastors or biblical counselors for example, while others enter similar careers to graduates of humanities degree programs. Other popular choices include social and community service manager, high school teacher, or training and development specialist.
With a degree in ministry, there are other roles that you could work in too. Many graduates find a variety of roles in educational organizations, healthcare facilities, and community centers. After all, the professors under whom you study have likely already gained a degree in ministry or a related area too.
Some students choose to continue their studies and gain a master’s degree in ministry or a more specialized area such as biblical counseling. If you’re interested in this, then you should check out schools that offer an accelerated or ‘four-plus-one’ program such as Lancaster Bible College. This could see you earn your master’s degree in just five years.
Ministry Salary Potential
The best source of salary data is often the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who gather all religious worker occupations into one category on their website. According to this data, in 2019 these roles made a mean annual wage of around $35,860. However, the top 75% of those people made around $40,680 and the top 90% $58,320.
Some graduates choose to progress into education within a religious school. Early childhood educators made approximately $30,520 according to the BLS in 2019, while high school teachers made around $61,660. Of course, the greatest earning potential was seen for those teaching in a university, which requires further study to the doctoral level.
Keep in mind that while some of these occupations fall short of the U.S. national average salary for all occupations combined, which is around $40,000 annually, most students who enroll in a ministry degree program do not do so with money as the main motivator.
What Are the Best Ministry Degrees?
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The King’s University
Average Net Price
The King’s University (TKU) is located in Southlake, Texas. Teachings are merged with practical ministry experience using a network of local churches, so you’ll gain real-world experience as you study. TKU is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).
This program is a Bachelor of Christian Ministries, giving students a deeper understanding of biblical teachings. You’ll gain the needed skills and experience to apply these teachings in your work with communities. As an accepted student, you can choose to study on-campus or online.
Comprising 124 credit hours, your learning will focus more heavily on general education in the first year, covering topics such as humanities, communication, and leadership development; all critical qualities for your future career. Your major will focus more heavily on faith-centric subjects, including biblical counseling, old and new testament surveys, and healthy family dynamics. TKU prides itself as being one of the most affordable private colleges in the U.S. Undergraduates pay tuition of approximately $470 per credit hour, with additional fees detailed on this page. To get a more accurate picture of your cost of attendance, TKU also has a net price calculator that you can access here.
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Valparaiso University was founded in 1859 and is a Lutheran university in Valparaiso, Indiana. With a student body comprising around 4,500 students, the university has five undergraduate schools and colleges offering more than 70 majors. There’s also access to more than 50 study abroad programs across the world.
With this theology major, you will gain a strong foundation in the beginnings of Christian and Jewish traditions. You’ll also look at how they have changed over time and interacted with the other major beliefs of the modern world. This will help to broaden your understanding of your own religion and carry that forward in your own work.
As a theology major, you will be required to complete a set of general education core requirements. This will provide you with much-needed grounding in critical skills that include communication, counseling, and critical thinking. There is also a theology and ministry dual major offered. At Valparaiso, the estimated cost of tuition for a full-time undergraduate student is around $43,400 annually. You’ll also pay general fees of around $1,396, room and board of around $7,956 and $4,916 respectively, plus other miscellaneous expenses. This makes for an approximate cost of attendance of around $51,116-$60,488.
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Focusing on the liberal arts, Criswell College is a Christian institution that’s based in Old East Dallas. The institution boasts some of the smallest class sizes around, with a student to faculty ratio of just 8:1. Criswell is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
With this degree program in ministry, you will be prepared to understand a range of practices and beliefs within different cultures. Your preexisting understanding of Christian evangelism and leadership will be examined and challenged, and you’ll complete the program with a better understanding of your faith and how to communicate it to others.
The program includes a degree of general education in key areas, including rhetoric and writing, algebra, humanities and fine arts, and the sciences. You’ll also complete around 33 credit hours in bible and theology studies, in addition to 45 hours as part of the Christian ministry major. Data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency List puts tuition rates at this university among the bottom 14% in the nation for private, non-profit colleges. Indeed, as an undergraduate student, you’ll pay tuition of just $6,275 or thereabouts. Room and board is around $3,893, with roughly $2,149 in personal expenses.
Lancaster Bible College
Average Net Price
Offering more than 50 majors across 9 academic departments, Lancaster Bible College is a bible college, seminary and graduate school that was founded in 1933. Around 2,000 students attend annually, participating in a range of 9 men’s and 11 women’s varsity and intramural sports.
At Lancaster Bible College, regardless of your future career choice, you’ll be trained to become a shepherd leader. You’ll spread the gospel through your work after graduation. The programs at Lancaster are, however, geared toward those who want to become pastors and lead successful churches. You’ll be taught key skills including pastoral counseling to help you support your church members too.
Comprising 125 credits, this degree program offers two tracks: either a Bachelor of Arts with majors in pastoral ministry and biblical studies, or a four-plus-one track that culminates in a master’s degree in ministry. You’ll also have the opportunity to complete an internship within a local church as a pastoral intern for example. At Lancaster Bible College, the estimated cost of tuition for undergraduates is around $26,690. The approximate cost of attendance is around $38,040, including $9,650 room and board, $1,000 books and supplies, and approximately $1,000 in fees. According to financial aid information for Lancaster Bible College, around 97% of undergraduates also receive financial aid.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Average Net Price
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is based in Louisville, Kentucky. Founded in 1859, it’s the oldest member of the Southern Baptist Convention, which comprises six seminaries. In total, around 6,200 students are in attendance, with around a third at the undergraduate level.
This bachelor’s degree in Christian leadership will prepare you to become a future leader in ministry and pastoral roles within a church. The program comprises 36 credits of general education and 15 credits of electives, with the remainder of your credits grounded in biblical and theological studies, ministry studies, and your major.
Comprising 129 credits, you’ll need to provide a number of additional documents alongside your application. These include a pastoral recommendation and spiritual autobiography, in addition to evidencing your official high school transcripts and ACT, SAT, or CLT scores. By the end of the program, you’ll be able to demonstrate the key learning outcomes detailed here. The undergraduate cost of tuition at this university varies. Members of SBC churches are eligible for a reduced rate of around $275 per credit hour, while non-SBC church members pay an increased rate of $475 per credit hour. If you need help working out your eligibility, then you can check out this page on the university’s website; there’s a handy calculator.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Kansas City, Missouri
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Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was founded in 1957, the sixth of its kind to be founded by the Southern Baptist Convention. Offering studies at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, students will receive a higher education that is aligned with the Bible’s teachings. Campus is located just minutes from the downtown area, creating ample opportunities for students both inside and outside of the classroom.
This institution provides useful guidance on the most ideal program options depending on your desired path after graduation. On the program pages, you’ll be able to select your intended career path, including becoming pastor of a church, providing biblical counseling, or moving into business leadership or teaching roles. From here, you can see the programs most suited to your goals.
These include bachelor’s programs in biblical studies, Christian ministry, intercultural studies, biblical counseling, philosophy, and theology for example. There’s also an accelerated track that could see you gaining a master’s in divinity, biblical counseling, or Christian education within 5 years. Check out the college link in the title for more information. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is another institution offering discounted tuition rates for SBC members. Eligible students pay around $315 per credit hour for undergraduate study. Non-SBC members pay around $485 per credit hour. There’s a full breakdown of tuition and fees for both undergraduate and graduate studies on this page of the institution’s website.
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Located in Haviland, Kansas, Barclay College is a Quaker college that is perhaps best-known for its ministry degree programs. The college has more than a century’s experience in providing a Christian-centric higher education. For more than a decade, students have been receiving full tuition scholarships when opting to pay to live on-campus in residence halls.
At Barclay College, your professors are dedicated to supporting you with resources that include one-to-one mentorship. You’ll receive guidance in understanding your faith and the best use of your unique abilities. You’ll also have several opportunities to gain real-world experience in a ministry setting, something that’s often not possible to gain in a program at a larger institution.
As part of this program, you’ll learn, understand, and ultimately evidence the skills and qualifications needed by a pastor of a church. You’ll be able to explain the church’s purpose, and the role of the pastor, and you’ll be able to interpret scripture, create and deliver your own sermons, and perform unique ceremonies for weddings, funerals, and more. The approximate cost of attendance for undergraduate students at Barclay College is around $20,400, with around 84% of undergraduates receiving some form of financial aid. The university awards approximately $2.7 million each year in scholarships. For more information on financial aid, including the Barclay full tuition and off-campus tuition scholarships, check out this page.
Martin Luther College
New Ulm, Minnesota
Average Net Price
Based in New Ulm, Minnesota, Martin Luther College was founded in 1995. It is a private liberal arts college whose ownership belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Students are supported by 80 members of faculty, all of whom are Christians with real-world experience within a parish or school.
At Martin Luther College, students may enroll in the Bachelor of Arts pre-seminary program. This program prepares you to enter the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, with teachings focused heavily on the study of the foreign languages Greek and Hebrew. However, other programs are also available in the areas of education and other ministry or parish roles.
Education programs include early childhood, middle and secondary, and elementary education. Alternatively, there are also Bachelor of Science programs in parish music, staff ministry, and theology. All programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and you can see video introductions on this page. Full-time undergraduate students can expect to pay tuition of around $8,210 per semester ($16,420 annually). Room and board comes to approximately $6,480 annually. Part-time students taking fewer than 12 credits per semester pay around $375 per credit in tuition instead. You can find more information on tuition and fees on this page.
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Messiah University is a Christian university that attracts more than 3,300 learners annually. Based on a stunning 471-acre campus in Pennsylvania, the university was established in the early 1900s by the Brethren in Christ Church. There are more than 60 off-campus locations spread across the globe, and the student body comprises students from 39 of the U.S. states and nearly 30 countries worldwide.
The Christian ministries major at this institution will provide you with a foundational approach to theology and Bible courses. You’ll study numerous religious texts, historical texts, and other literature, including the Gospels, Pentateuch, and Paul and His Letter. There are also numerous courses focusing on missions training for students who are interested in pursuing this avenue.
As a student enrolled in the Christian ministries program, you’ll have a choice of three concentrations, including congregational ministries, cross-cultural ministries, and youth ministries. The university also boasts a nationally recognized internship program that could see you placed in one of over ten different locations for real-world experience. The approximate cost of attendance at Messiah University is a below-average $20,116 if you factor in the average first-year undergraduate student aid. Tuition costs around $36,340 before aid, with additional fees you can find here. Alternatively, use the net price calculator for a more personalized estimation.
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Williamson College (WC) is a non-profit, Christian institution that provides associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Founded in 1998, it is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). As a new institution, it has small class sizes and highly flexible class schedules for working adults.
The intention of this program is to give graduates sufficient skills and experience in leadership to become confident leaders within a ministry or other Christian pursuit. These teachings will cover both Christian and secular sources, including real-world case studies and historical examples of Christian leadership.
Comprising 44 credit hours of general education courses, 57 credit hours of major courses, and 21 credits of electives, this ministry leadership program has the option of a concentration. Concentrations include Bible and theology, missions, or worship studies. You can see a full list of major courses here. According to the Financial Aid Office, the rough cost of attendance for a new undergraduate student is around $26,735 or $20,135 if living with parents. This includes tuition of around $12,000 and fees of around $850. You can see a detailed breakdown of estimates on the financial aid office’s website.
Clarks Summit University
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
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Providing higher education programs for more than 85 years, Clarks Summit University (CSU) is an accredited Bible college. Every student enrolled in an undergraduate degree program earns a double major that includes biblical studies. What’s more, the student body benefits from nationally recognized speakers and an on-campus chapel.
In every bachelor’s program taught at CSU, students receive tuition from well-versed professors in small class sizes. You’ll understand how to apply your Bible study skills as you look back to the origins of the faith, studying Greek, and understanding and communicating scripture. Tuition will come from professors who either have served or are currently serving in local church ministries.
In your first year, you’ll cover core soft skills that include academic and research writing, effective verbal communication, and history. You’ll also study foundational skills like theology survey, biblical lifestyle, and general psychology. As the program progresses, you’ll focus in greater depth on topics including ministry leadership, pastoral counseling, and pastoral ministries. At Clarks Summit University, your tuition rate is locked as soon as you start your program, meaning that it will not rise before you graduate. For current undergraduates, tuition is charged at a rate of around $27,200 annually, with around $6,800 also due for room and board. See this page for more information.
Lincoln Christian University
Average Net Price
As the name suggests, Lincoln Christian University integrates the Christian faith into all of its teachings. Based in Lincoln, Illinois, the institution was founded in 1944. Class sizes are small with a 14:1 student to faculty ratio, and more than 70% of undergraduates are residents on the 130-acre campus.
This BA in Christian ministry provides a broad approach to the faith; it’s suited to students who haven’t yet decided whether their calling is in mission work, pastoral ministry, or Christian education. And graduates have previously gone onto roles including associate pastor, small groups leader, and administrative pastor.
Your curriculum will cover a broad range of ministerial positions at a high level. By graduation, you’ll be capable of crafting and delivering your own sermons, teaching your own Sunday school class, and communicating your own philosophy of ministry. Professors teaching in this program come from a range of ministerial positions themselves, giving you advice that’s based on real world experience in the classroom, the pulpit, and from missions.
LCU estimates that as an undergraduate student enrolled full-time, you’ll pay annual tuition of around $14,520. Inclusive of fees and other expenses, the cost of attendance is around $22,310. LCU also provides an estimate of scholarship and financial aid awards, which is around $14,881; you can see this information here.
Oral Roberts University
Average Net Price
Oral Roberts University is an evangelical university that was founded in the early 1960s. Located in Tulsa, OK, it was recently named No.1 on a ranking of the best value regional colleges according to U.S. News & World Report. Students benefit from small class sizes, with a student to faculty ratio of around 15:1, one of the best in the U.S.
Under the Oral Roberts University College of Theology, students have access to a number of majors in ministry. Any one of these programs will give you a solid grounding in Bible studies and a strong knowledge of theology. You’ll have a choice of numerous concentrations in church administration, youth and family ministry, evangelism and outreach, and missions.
More information about each of these concentrations can be found on the linked program page. As part of the degree program, you will gain experience in preparing and preaching sermons, in addition to undertaking a ministry practicum to gain valuable real-world experience. Depending on your chosen concentration, there will be many more opportunities too.
The approximate cost of attendance for a new undergraduate student at Oral Roberts University is $20,204 per semester, or $40,408 annually. This includes annual tuition of around $30,300, with the remainder comprising room and board, technology fees, general fees, and student services fees. This is based on a full-time course load of 12-18.5 credits per semester.
Grand Rapids Charter Township, Michigan
Average Net Price
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone University is a non-denominational Christian institution that offers more than 60 undergraduate programs. You’ll be well-prepared for life after graduation, with every student participating in some form of internship or practicum. The university also boasts of a 96% placement rate for undergraduates.
Running for around 20 to 22 months and comprising 48 credit hours, this major in ministry leadership is available both on-campus and online. It has grounding in biblical studies and Christian worldview, preparing you to become a leader of the Christian faith with strong communication and decision-making skills.
The program has also been ranked No. 2 in a list of the best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report. For admission, you will need to evidence past college transcripts and have gained at least two years of full-time work experience prior to application.
As a new student, you’ll be reassured to know that Cornerstone University provides financial aid to nearly all of its incoming, first-time undergraduates. In terms of tuition, you can expect to pay a below-average estimate of $27,040 annually, plus $10,310 for room and board. Other expenses apply, including around $1,230 for books, personal expenses, and transport.
South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Average Net Price
Ranked within the top 10 most affordable Christian Bible colleges, SFBC offers programs at every level, from associate degrees through to doctoral programs. What’s more, you can choose to study on-campus or online. This is also a top 40 Christian Bible college according to study.com, and the institution boasts other benefits including small class sizes and credit transfer policies.
This bachelor’s degree in ministry and leadership – pastoral ministry comprises 120 credits and can be completed on-campus or via distance learning. The program will produce adaptable graduates who can work across numerous ministry roles and handle varied challenges with confidence. Whether you’re already a practicing pastor or looking to change your direction, the program will cover everything you need to succeed.
SFBC has been providing a Christ-centric education since 1985, and with this program, they provide a broad understanding of the responsibilities of a pastor, pastoral leadership, church planting, homiletics, and pastoral mentoring. For a full list of the courses in this program, check out this link. Tuition is charged on a per-credit basis, and undergraduate students can expect to pay around $285.00 per credit hour. If you choose to study online, you should add an additional online fee of around $150.00 to this total. Check out this page for more information on scholarships, financial aid, and military benefits.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Average Net Price
Originally called Marion College when it was founded in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University today attracts more than 8,000 adult learners. Located in Marion, Indiana, around 3,000 of the university’s students are based on-campus on a 350-acre campus that comprises modern buildings built within the last few decades. The student body represents around 80 Christian denominations, the same number of undergraduate programs offered.
Indiana Wesleyan provides a BS with a major in Christian ministries. As a graduate of this program, you’ll be prepared to take up a role as a staff minister or pastor in numerous church positions. Your curriculum will cover theology, the history of the church, and other skills key to ministry activities, including counseling and leadership.
Students can choose to complete this program as either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts, though the latter includes additional courses in ancient languages. What’s more, as a graduate, you’ll meet the requirements to be ordained in certain denominations. Undergraduate students will pay tuition of around $28,960 annually at this university. Room and board is approximately $9,574, while indirect expenses total around $3,468. For a more accurate idea of what you’ll be paying to study here, you can always check out the Net Price Calculator on the university website.
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Located in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University is an interdenominational Christian university offering study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Over 3,000 students attend and represent almost every state in the nation, in addition to 35 countries worldwide, and around 50 different denominations. The university has been consistently ranked among the nation’s best colleges by U.S. News & World Report.
Students may choose from a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Christian ministry, each comprising 122 credits, while the latter program is delivered entirely online. Alternatively, a 120-credit on-campus option is available. At the core of the curriculum are biblical and theological studies, with a focus on the activities of ministry.
You will also have the opportunity to practice the skills and knowledge you have acquired thanks to the Christian Service Assignment and Christian Ministry Internship. Throughout the program, you’ll be supported by professors who have served in a variety of ministry roles within the U.S., most of whom have terminal degrees too.
The approximate cost of tuition for an undergraduate studying on-campus is around $31,740, with a rough cost of attendance being $43,360 after housing, meal plan, and fees. However, online study is also offered, with undergraduates paying around $9,585-$12,825 in yearly tuition. These figures are based on a full-time program of study.
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Founded in 1933, Newman University specializes in the liberal arts and welcomes students of the Catholic faith, while being respectful of all religions and beliefs. With a main campus that’s based in Wichita, there are further locations in areas including Colorado, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. Named after St. John Henry Newman, it was founded by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
This bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry is geared toward a number of roles in ministry. You’ll gain practical experience either locally or abroad working in faith-based settings. Courses cover topics including creeds and faith, sacramental theology, and church theology, with the pastoral ministry major comprising 30-40 credit hours in total.
To fulfill the requirements of the major, you will study the new and old testament, Christian morality and social problems, and other core courses. You will also have the chance to choose 6 credit hours of electives and tailor your degree path to the path you choose in ministry. The flat rate of tuition for a full-time student enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, and taking between 12-18 credits per semester, is around $15,725. Details on fees can be found on this page. You’ll also find information on the various types of financial aid that may be available to you.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Average Net Price
Founded in 1871 and located in Arden Hills, Minnesota, Bethel University is an evangelical Christian institution. The university attracts a total of around 4,500 students, making it the biggest institution within the Christian College Consortium, which comprises 13 institutions. Overall, the student body represents learners from almost every state in the U.S. and 22 countries worldwide.
Whether you are already serving in a ministry position or want to take your first steps on this path, the BA in Christian ministries program at Bethel University will give you the knowledge and skills you need. You will study not only the history of the faith and the church, but also examine your own spiritual development and your own understanding of Christianity.
The Christian ministries major comprises 48 hours of major requirements and can be studied face to face or online via distance learning. Courses cover biblical studies, theology, and one’s self, with some students finishing the program in as few as 18 to 20 months. A full course list can be found here.
The estimated cost of tuition for a full-time undergraduate student taking between 12-18 credits per semester is around $38,870. When you factor in accomodation and meal plans, plus a mandatory student fee, the rough cost of attendance is around $49,990. Provided that you remain in campus housing, your room rate as a new student is fixed during your four years of study.
World Mission University
Los Angeles, California
Average Net Price
World Mission University is dedicated to biblical education as a Christ-centered institution. As long as you’re a student of Christian denomination and meet the admissions requirement, you’re eligible to apply. WMU is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and Commission on Accredited of the Association of Theological Schools for a number of its advanced programs.
This degree program in biblical studies comprises 126 credit hours and spans four years. You’ll gain a solid foundation in general education first, before progressing into topics that prepare you for communication of the gospel. Courses cover topics that include theology, church history, missions, both the New and Old Testaments, and more.
The main learning outcomes for students enrolled in this program are to demonstrate a strong knowledge of scripture, be able to communicate the gospel, and understand ideas underpinning Christian theology. You’ll be prepared for further study at the graduate level in a Christ-centric program, or to become pastors or assistant ministers in Christian organizations or the church.
Tuition for undergraduate degree programs is charged on a per-credit basis, though rates are very affordable. For the bachelor’s degree in Christian ministries, you’ll pay around $260 per credit, which is around the same value as the discounted rate that military veterans receive at most other institutions.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out The 35 Most Beautiful College Churches and Chapels and The Top 20 Online Bachelor of Theology Degree Programs!