Palmer Seminary of Eastern University’s ESCM program equips men and women for effective Christian leadership and service by providing academically challenging, practical, faith-affirming theological education. In essence, Eastern's School of Christian Ministry makes high quality theological education accessible to those who are not eligible for—or who choose not to pursue—a graduate theological degree.
The program was begun in 1982 at the initiative of Seminary professors Dr. Orlando Costas (Missiology) and Dr. Tom McDaniel (Old Testament). Since then, it has equipped men and women—including lay leaders, bi-vocational pastors, chaplains, church-based community development leaders, Bible teachers, neighborhood evangelists, and church administrators—for leadership and service in a variety of urban, suburban, and rural ministry settings. Many over the years have valued ESCM simply for its contribution to their own spiritual and intellectual growth.
ESCM is not intended to replace the traditional seminary degree for those who are called to full-time professional ministry. However, though not as rigorous as graduate degree programs, ESCM programs uphold high academic standards. In addition, the quality and credentials of ESCM faculty make it comparable in many ways to a degree program, though with much lower tuition. Agreements with Eastern University and Geneva College (Center for Urban Theological Studies) allow ESCM students to apply some courses toward an Associates or Baccalaureate degree. Many other colleges and universities have granted ESCM students degree credits on a case-by-case basis. Some ESCM graduates have gone on to pursue a theological degree.
ESCM offers two diploma programs (in Pastoral Studies and Biblical and Theological Studies) and four certificate programs (Biblical Studies, Christian Leadership, Christian Studies, and Youth Ministry.) Students typically complete the diploma program in two years and the certificate program in one.
ESCM partnering organizations include the School of Management Studies at Eastern University; the Center for Urban Theological Studies (CUTS), Geneva College in Philadelphia; the Christian Leadership Institute of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ); American Baptist Churches Church Leadership Institute of the Pennsylvania and Delaware; Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia; Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia; and the Philadelphia Baptist Association.
ESCM students may take classes at the Palmer Seminary campus in King of Prussia or the satellite location of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church (Philadelphia). (Korean students may take classes at the main campus in King of Prussia).
If you are interested in applying for the ESCM program, please consult admissions information/prerequisites. You may apply to ESCM online or download a hard copy application. For online applications, the $30 application fee is waived.