Students in YTI's inaugural MDiv class, fall 2017

Inaugural Master of Divinity Class Launches above The Belt

Admin, YTI

October 24, 2017


Yellowstone Theological Institute Begins Master of Divinity Degree Program in Bozeman, Montana

Yellowstone Theological Institute (YTI), a new graduate-level theological school located in Bozeman, Mont., began offering a residential Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree to its first class of graduate students in August 2017.

YTI’s uniqueness includes it being a new seminary or divinity school located in Montana, far north of the Bible Belt, and being the first program to offer an inaugural M.Div. class in the last two years, according to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

As a Christian theological school that crosses denominational and sectarian barriers to provide a generous and meaningful theological education for students from all backgrounds, YTI is actively seeking accreditation from the ATS.

The school’s M.Div. students are being guided by YTI’s experienced faculty to use critical thinking, interdisciplinary scholarship, artistic expression and intentional service as they look to meet the needs of their communities and care for the natural world.

“This program is not for the weak of heart, nor for those who simply want to gain a credential,” explained Jay Smith, President of YTI. “It is for men and women, called to ministry, who want the challenge of a unique education, and who want the knowledge and tools to pursue ministry in a creative and critical fashion.”

YTI’s M.Div. provides training in key biblical, theological, and cultural topics, as well as in practical skills for ministry. The content is being delivered within integrated seminars rather than compartmentalized courses; and the program consists of four interrelated tracks: Scriptures (biblical studies, languages), Faith and Life (theology, ethics, spirituality), World Religions and Culture (world religions, cultures), and Practicum (worship, counseling, leadership, adventure studies, arts).

YTI is also intentionally structured to be a residential study program. As noted by Smith, “We earnestly believe that meaningful education occurs in the community with professors, staff, laypersons, and other students. This does not minimize the use of computers or the necessity of online resources; it simply prioritizes human contact in the educational process.”

About Yellowstone Theological Institute

YTI was formed through conversations between two Bozeman, Mont. residents: Dr. Klein Gilhousen, co-founder of Qualcomm Corporation, and Dr. Jay Smith, a former professor at Howard Payne University and pastor of First Baptist Church of Bozeman, Mont. Gilhousen, who passed away in 2016, brought a passion for new ideas and a desire to see graduate-level theological education in Bozeman, Mont. Smith brought a passion for creative and relevant theological education with a desire to bring people together who might not always have the same beliefs.

Together they realized there was an opportunity to form not only a graduate-level theological school, but to also create a space to address polarizing and real-life topics with the goal of finding commonalities among people and providing a platform for a peaceful world. In addition to its Master of Divinity degree, YTI also offers a Master of Applied Theology degree as well as community classes to encourage dialogue and discussion about how to be better humans to each other and to the world.

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