Advising team

Thomas R. Thompson

Prof. Thompson ( is the coordinator of Calvin’s pre-ministry advising program. He teaches theology courses in the religion department. Prof. Thompson is the primary pre-seminary advisor.

Todd Cioffi

Prof. Cioffi ( is a professor in the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies and an adjunct member of the Religion Department. He is the director of the Jubilee Fellows program and is a coordinator and advisor for the Department’s Minstry Leadership Minor and supervises ministry internships.

Lynn Barger Elliott

Prof. Elliott ( teaches youth ministry in the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies. An ordained minister with extensive youth ministry experience, she is a coordinator and advisor for the Department’s Minstry Leadership Minor and supervises ministry internships.

Mary Hulst

Pastor Mary ( is the college chaplain and a faculty member of the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies. She has ministry experience as a pastor, a college and seminary professor, and now, a chaplain.

John Witvliet

Prof. Witvliet ( is the chair of the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies, the director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary, a member of the music department faculty at the college, and an adjunct member of the religion department. Prof. Witvliet is the advisor best suited to work with students interested in worship and music related ministry.


The academic concentrations chosen by Calvin pre-ministry students range across the whole breadth of the liberal arts curriculum, with many students majoring in the humanities (e.g., history, religion, philosophy, foreign or classical languages), but other students majoring in the social or natural sciences. The liberal arts core curriculum covers most of the admissions requirements of the majority of divinity schools and theological seminaries. Whatever your major, if you are intending to pursue seminary after college, you should construct a pre-seminary program or line of study that will prepare you for post-college theological study.

Seminary requirements

The Association of Theological Schools recommends that pre-seminary students develop the ability to think carefully, communicate clearly, and do independent research. Pre-seminary students should also learn about human culture and society, and may find it useful to develop proficiency in Biblical languages, Latin, and modern languages. Pre-seminary students should consult the catalogs of the particular seminaries that they are considering attending for the specific admission requirements of those schools.

Since the admissions requirements of various theological and divinity schools differ slightly from one another, there is no single one-size-fits-all pre-seminary program at Calvin. In consultation with the college’s pre-ministry advisors, students should develop a pre-seminary program that fits their particular vocational aspirations and is in line with the expectations of the seminaries they might attend. Direct any questions to one of Calvin’s pre-ministry advisors. This team of advisors is committed to guiding you through the process of discerning a call to ministry.


A library of information about various seminaries and divinity schools is available to students. This collection is housed in the conference room of the Religion Department and is accessible during normal working hours.

For more information, contact Professor Thompson or Laura Geelhoed.

Read the pre-ministry section of the college catalog.

Thomas Thompson

Thomas Thompson

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