Pastoral caregivers and missionary caregivers are those who work for a church, Christian ministry or missionary organization in which they help a person look at a life situation from God's perspective. They use primarily the Bible with counseling, spiritual development diagnoses, limited testing and assessment skills. The pastoral caregiver has the advantage of bringing the church as a body and organization to the benefit of the person in need. She or he can have a personal discipling relationship in and out of the counseling office with the person in need.
The clinical counselor, on the other hand, works more with diagnosis from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, intensive therapy of serious issues and pathology using the Bible, counseling, research and clinical testing tools. The clinical counseling student will need under-graduate psychology counseling coursework, must pass the National Counselors Exam and complete a post-graduate internship at least two-years long. They come under state and legal and ethical guidelines. They are not allowed to have an ongoing relationship with the client outside of the counseling office. The clinical counselor may qualify for insurance reimbursement for his or her services.
While we rely primarily on the Bible and a sound understanding of theology as our ultimate authority over what we do, we are not a Biblical Counseling program as the term is generally used. Biblical counseling programs usually do not use counseling skills that are derived from resources outside of Scripture such as secular research and scholarship. CIU students are trained to use Christian and non-Christian research and scholarship that support the Scriptures as the stage is set for God to heal and protect.
While the programs are different in much of the content and course material, some of the coursework may transfer between programs. Please see your academic advisor for details.
The typical ministry care student (based upon statistics from the ministry care program predecessor) is in his or her mid-thirties, active in a local church, has an interest of experience in what God is doing in the world. They often have spiritual gifts such as mercy, shepherding, leadership, wisdom, teaching and have a passion to be a part of the healing process to set people free to be effective for Christ. The student often seeks out a faculty member for spiritual and professional mentoring while at CIU.
The MA in Ministry Care is designed for those who plan to lead and disciple people in ministry as well as address people's pain and difficulties, issues that can hold a person back from knowing and enjoying God and all that He has promised. Depending upon the track chosen, Ministry Care graduates may take on ministry roles such as Associate Pastor, Small Groups Ministry/Pastor, Shepherding Pastor, Pastor of Spiritual Formation, Pastoral Counselor, Lay Counseling pastor, care giver to ministry or missionary staff, member care, marriage and pre-marital and recovery/restoration ministries pastor. These positions are increasingly needed in today's Christian organizations both in the States and overseas.