M.A. Family Ministries

The Master of Arts in Family Ministries (MAFM) combines Biblical theology and practical understanding about families with a strong emphasis on personal growth and reflection.

What will I learn with a Family Ministries Degree?

The Master of Arts in Family Ministries (MAFM) combines Biblical theology and practical understanding about families with a strong emphasis on personal growth and reflection.

Families, both good and bad, are in the business of reproducing themselves. Many individuals recognize the brokenness that is passed down through their family and yet feel helpless to remedy that pain. Even healthy families have their challenges, but God’s promise is that individuals and families can endure, strengthen each other, and achieve the health and longevity that we all believe a family should experience.

Come join us as we work together to move beyond the facades and pretenses of our culture and explore how personal health leads to the healthy relationships we seek with our spouses, children, and others in our lives.

Additional Benefits of the MA in Family Ministries:

  • Complete program in only 2 years (4 semesters), a total of 36 credit hours!
  • 100% online – so students can further their education wherever they go!
  • Affordably priced – with Graduate Leadership Scholarships available!
  • Accredited – by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

Family Ministries Course Requirements

Master of Arts in Family Ministries (12 credit hours)

MAFM512: Ministry of Self (3) – This class will examine the personal life of the minister and the motives and beliefs that drive each individual’s decisions, relationships, and personal goals. Becoming healthy in our own life is necessary if an individual hopes to help others find health in their life, relationships and ministry. Emphasis is given to personal responsibility and respectful boundaries among those we love and serve.

MAFM522: Ministry of Marriage (3) – This class explores the dynamics of marriage and the balance that is necessary with the demands of life, including: family, ministry, vocation, avocation, and calling. The individual’s responsibility as a husband or wife is viewed through the respectful and supportive interplay of health and growth for ourselves and also our spouse.

MAFM532: Ministry of Family (3) – This class examines the circle of family dynamics through the lens of family systems theory. Beginning with the nuclear family, healthy relationships are analyzed with an eye to the larger extended family, family themes, family myths, cultural and ethnic influences, and a host of other dynamics that shape the family unit.

MAFM542: Ministry of Community (3) – This class begins to shape the student’s belief about the intersection of individual and family health and a sustainable culture of ministry to families that bring change and healing. Ministry models are examined with an emphasis on the individual health of the minister while, at the same time, enabling families to heal and grow.

Master's Course Requirements

MAO501: Orientation (0) – This is a one-week course designed to introduce students to the graduate program at Barclay College, including: classmates, course instructors, the mechanics of the online portal and discussion forum, and the academic rigors of graduate studies.

Theology Core (15 credit hours)

MABI511: Old Testament Hermeneutics (3) – God’s revelation through the Old Testament illuminates His timely message and timeless story for His people, while also providing the context and foundation for the New Testament. In this class, students will investigate the richness of the Old Testament and its relevance for today, including the principles and procedures for its interpretation, application, and exposition.

MABI521: New Testament Hermeneutics (3) – The narrative of Christ and His Church, foreshadowed in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament, provides the framework for Christian faith and practice. This class in Biblical interpretation and exegesis focuses on the life and teachings of Christ, the experience of believers, and the eternal hope of the Church as recorded in the gospels, epistles, and apocalyptic literature.

MATH531: Christian Theology (3) – This class investigates the essential teachings of the evangelical Christian faith, with special attention given to the person and work of Christ, sin and salvation, the role of the Holy Spirit, the life of the Church, and contemporary theological issues. Students will become better equipped to apply and articulate theological convictions in ministry settings.

MATH541: The History of Christianity (3) – This course addresses the major events, issues, personalities, and movements that shape and define the story of the Christian Church. Topics such as the birth and growth of the Early Church, the threat of persecution, the rise of monasticism, the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon, the Reformation, the Great Awakenings, ecumenical efforts, and the globalization of the gospel provide a deeper understanding of the Church and a relevant perspective for ministry today.

MAMM513: The Missional Church (3) – We may not all be called to serve Christ as missionaries in a foreign land, but we are all called to be “on mission with God” wherever He may lead us. In this course, students are challenged to examine their purpose and calling in life, maximize their capacity to build bridges, and bear faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ both at home and around the world.

Research and Application (9 credit hours)

MARA523: Research Methods (3) – This course is an introduction to the research methods that are applicable in a variety of academic and organizational settings, including both quantitative and qualitative strategies that are commonly used in a graduate Capstone project.

MARA533: Applied Research I (3) – In this research and application course, students will identify and begin to investigate a potential Capstone project that relates to their chosen concentration of graduate studies. Through practical examination, each student will focus on their field of study using a variety of potential methods, some of which may include: field experience, literature review, and other forms of data collection.

MARA543: Applied Research II – Capstone Project (3) – This course involves the completion of a written Capstone project that serves as the culmination of a student’s research and their graduate school experience. Students will integrate their research findings with their chosen area of concentration, making application to life, service, and leadership today. In addition, each student will demonstrate their acquisition of scholarship, critical thinking, creativity, and written communication skills.

David Mabry, D.Min.

Director of Family Ministries

David Mabry serves as the Director of the M.A. in Family Ministries, and as a Professor of Bible, Theology, and Ministry. Before coming to Barclay College, he had been involved with pastoral and para-church ministry since 1990, serving as a youth pastor, sports & rec pastor, senior pastor, an Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and as a marriage and family educator and advocate. He has an earned doctorate with a published dissertation entitled Impacting Marital Health in the Local Church Context through the Prepare-Enrich Group Program. Presently, he and his wife, Theresa, lead One Another Marriage. OAM is a marriage coaching and training ministry that is focused on marital health and equipping the church.

Have questions about Family Ministries?

Meet The MAFM Teaching Faculty

Rev. Paul Hoffman, Ph.D.

Professor, Ministry of Community

Paul Hoffman has served as the lead pastor of Evangelical Friends Church of Newport, Rhode Island, since 2007. He completed his Ph.D. in Practical Theology at the University of Manchester, UK. He is the author of Reconciling Places (Cascade Books), forthcoming in 2020, and contributed three chapters to The Big Idea Companion to Preaching and Teaching (Baker Academic), forthcoming in 2021. Paul has been married to his lovely wife for over twenty-one years and has two wonderful sons, Landon and Kelan. 

Marva Hoopes, Ed.D.

Professor, Ministry of Family

Marva Hoopes serves as Christian Education Specialist at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, where she teaches classes in educational ministry and theology. She received her doctoral degree from Talbot School of Theology and both her Master’s degree and undergraduate degree from Malone University. Marva is ordained in the Evangelical Friends Church and previously held the position of Children’s Pastor for 26 years as well as Missions Pastor at Canton First Friends Church. She has written Christian education material for four different curriculum companies and has participated in leadership on the regional and national Christian education boards of Evangelical Friends. Marva is married to Clark, a computer technician for the Probate Court of Stark County in Canton. They have three grown children and 11 grandchildren.

Rev. Clifford T. Winters, Ph.D.

Professor, Ministry of Community

Cliff Winters received his doctorate in New Testament from Asbury Theological Seminary. He pastored for twenty years and is presently Teaching Pastor at New England Chapel in Franklin, Massachusetts. Cliff is the author of the groundbreaking Argument is War: Relevance-Theoretic Comprehension of the Conceptual Metaphor of War in the Apocalypse, a cognitive-linguistic approach to the violence in Revelation, published by Brill in the Linguistic Biblical Studies series. He has also authored several scholarly articles, including “A Strange Death: Cosmic Conflagration as Conceptual Metaphor in 2 Peter 3:6–13” in Conversations with the Biblical World and “Gaza,” “Sea Peoples,” and “Gehenna” in the Lexham Bible Dictionary. Cliff likes to spend his summers digging some of the most iconic archaeological sites in Israel, including Jerusalem (Mount Zion), Ashkelon, Tel Rehov, and Tel Dor.