Paul Basham Institute (PBI)


Paul Basham served as an associate pastor at South Portland from 1980 to 2000, when he retired. During that time—and long after he retired—he was an integral part of the district’s education arm, known as the Maine Education Resource Center (MERC), until he moved to NJ, where he currently lives. Many clergy on our district have been blessed not only by his leadership in this ministry, but by his investment of time and energy in them personally. Thank you, Paul!

Upcoming Classes


Fall 2022

Exploring Christian Heritage 1

Instructor: Tim George

(7 weeks) Sept. 13th-Oct 25

Tuesdays 6:00-9:00pm

@South Portland First Light Naz



Systematic Theology II

Instructor: Christina Couch

(9 weeks) Sept 6-Nov 1

Tuesdays 6-8:30pm

Via Zoom


Preaching I

Instructor: Dr. Paul MacPherson

(7 weeks) Nov 7-Dec 19

Mondays 6:00-9:00pm

@South Portland First Light Naz & Zoom


Spring 2023


Church Admin & Finance

Instructor: Christina Couch


Preaching II

Instructor: TJ Torgerson


Exploring Christian Heritage II

Instructor: Tim George

Nazarene Course of Study

The Nazarene Course of Study (CoS) is any approved program that enables ministerial students to meet all the learning objectives or Ability Statements (see below) for ministers set by the church. These Ability Statements fall into four categories—Content (basic knowledge in the areas of Bible, theology, doctrine, and church history), Competency (ministry skills such as communication, administration, care and counseling, leading worship), Character (personal growth in areas such as personal awareness, ethics, and spiritual formation), and Context (ability to analyze, engage, and reach local communities for the sake of the gospel). Completion of the Ability Statements can take 24 or more classes, depending on the program or mix of programs chosen by the student. Furthermore, the goal of the CoS is not the completion of the classes, but the meeting of the objectives. Students may take classes, but if upon examination, the student has not met the objectives, additional studies may be required.

Educational Options for Completing the Course of Study


Students seeking to complete the CoS can choose to attend any Nazarene college or university. Nazarene Bible College (NBC) [] offers both degree-earning and non-degree-earning online programs. Students also can opt to take classes on the Maine district or through the Williamson Institute on the Mid-Atlantic District [].


Classes on the district currently fall into three categories. The first category is composed of classes from the “modular” program. This program is being phased out, and these classes will no longer be available after 2023. The second category is composed of classes in the Alliance program. These are the same classes that NBC offers, but that have been modified to suit the needs of the district’s students. These classes cost $150 each. It is the goal of the district to provide three classes a semester, so that the complete CoS is offered every four years.





























The third category is composed of non-degree-earning classes in the Church-Based Ministry Training (CBMT) program, designed and overseen by NBC. The limited number of classes (16) offered in this program are practical and hands-on, such as worship, preaching, and leadership, and are focused on learning competency through mentoring, observation, experimentation, and retrospection. Students work at their own pace, and can complete each class in as little as four weeks. Those who complete the CBMT fulfill the requirements for Supervised Ministry Experience and receive the High Capacity Leader Training certificate from NBC. These classes are also $150, but there are additional fees--$100 Student Initiation fee (which includes access to NBC’s library), a $20 per course portfolio fee, and a $100 graduation fee. Students who complete the CBMT program will still need 12-15 additional content-based classes.

Classes in CBMT and additional Modular or Alliance (content-based) classes required:

Course of Study Ability Statements


CONTENT: 14 Ability Statements 

CN1 Ability to identify the literary structure, the theological concepts and main storyline of the Old Testament.
CN2 Ability to describe the historical and cultural contexts of the major sections of the Old Testament.


CN3 Ability to identify the literary structure, theological concepts and main storyline of the New Testament.
CN4 Ability to describe the historical and cultural contexts of the New Testament including an ability to Biblically affirm pastoral leadership of men and women within the Church.


CN5 Ability to describe the development of the canon and the historical and theological influences resulting in contemporary translations.
CN6 Ability to exegete a passage of Scripture using contextual, literary, and theological analysis.

THEOLOGY (General)
CN7 Ability to articulate the Nazarene Articles of Faith.
CN8 Ability to demonstrate an understanding of theological reflection, including its sources, its historical development, and its Wesleyan contemporary expressions. 


CN9 Ability to articulate the doctrine of holiness from a Wesleyan perspective. 

CN10 Ability to tell the story of Christian history and the development of creeds and major doctrines.
CN11 Ability to describe the mission and practice of the Church throughout its history. 

CN12 Ability to identify the formative influences of the American Holiness Movement and the Church of the Nazarene.
CN13 Ability to identify and explain the significance of the major events, and male and female figures in the Church of the Nazarene.
CN14 Ability to identify the directives of the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene that pertain to the organization and ministry of the local, district, and general church. 



COMPETENCY: 22 Ability Statements


CP1 Ability to communicate publicly through multiple methods (oral, written, media, etc.) with clarity, and creativity, utilizing gender inclusive language.


CP2 Ability to oversee ministry using management skills including servant leadership, conflict resolution, administration, and team building.
CP3 Ability to cultivate, cast, and strategically implement vision.
CP4 Ability to lead congregations in the biblical stewardship of life resources. 


CP5 Ability to reason logically for discernment, assessment, and problem solving.


CP6 Ability to provide pastoral and spiritual care for individuals and families, discerning when referral to professional counseling is required. 


CP7 Ability to lead evangelistically through preaching, modeling and equipping others.
CP8 Ability to lead in discipling and assimilating new converts into the Church.


CP9 Ability to describe and apply knowledge of human development in leading people to Christian maturity.
CP10 Ability to envision and implement Christian education in the local church.

CP11 Ability to envision, order, and participate in contextualized, theologically grounded worship and to develop and lead appropriate services for special occasions (i.e. wedding, funeral, baptism, and Lord's Supper).


MINISTRY EMPHASIS (Preaching/Chaplain)
CP12 Ability to prepare, and deliver biblically sound sermons using appropriate techniques and skills demonstrating cultural sensitivity.
CP13 Ability to develop sermons in various forms (evangelistic, pastoral care, doctrinal teaching, lectionary, etc.).
CP14 Ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current homiletical models in light of enduring theological and contextual perspectives. 

MINISTRY EMPHASIS (Christian Education/Children/Youth/Adults)
CP15 Ability to prepare and lead discipleship ministries that are biblically sound, age-appropriate, intergenerational, and culturally sensitive.
CP16 Ability to assess contemporary approaches to ministry in light of enduring theological and contextual perspectives.


MINISTRY EMPHASIS (Compassionate Ministry)
CP17 Ability to prepare and lead compassionate ministries that are biblically sound and culturally sensitive.
CP18 Ability to exegete a community utilizing a Wesleyan paradigm for hospitable engagement.

CP19 Ability to prepare and lead a music ministry that is biblically sound, utilizing appropriate techniques and skills demonstrating cultural sensitivity.
CP20 Ability to assess contemporary approaches to church music in light of enduring theological and contextual perspectives.


MINISTRY EMPHASIS (Administration)
CP21 Ability to manage and implement biblically sound church administration utilizing appropriate techniques and skills demonstrating cultural sensitivity.
CP22 Ability to assess and implement contemporary approaches to administration in light of enduring theological and contextual perspectives. 



CHARACTER: 8 Ability Statements 


CH1 Ability to apply theological and philosophical ethics to nurture faithful living in the Christian community.
CH2 Ability to discern and make ethical decisions in the midst of a complex and/or paradoxical context within a Wesleyan framework.
CH3 Ability to practice a moral pastoral leadership, informed by philosophical and theological ethics.


CH4 Ability to pursue holy character (Christlikeness) by practicing faith formation and the classic Christian disciplines as means of grace.
CH5 Ability to locate, understand, and use resources for individual and corporate spiritual formation.


CH6 Ability to articulate his or her call from God to ministry as affirmed by the Church.
CH7 Ability to demonstrate a realistic self-understanding including personal strengths, gifts, weaknesses, and areas of needed growth.
CH8 Ability to practice holistic stewardship (mutual submission in gender relationships, sexual purity, marriage and family, personal finance, professional conduct, practicing Sabbath, etc.).

CONTEXT: 8 Ability Statements 

CX1 Ability to understand, appreciate, and work sensitively with cultures and sub-cultures.
CX2 Ability to identify and apply the principles of cross-cultural communications.

CX3 Ability to discern sociological dynamics, (including the power dynamics of gender, age and ethnicity) and to apply that information to specific ministry settings.
CX4 Ability to analyze and describe congregations and communities.

CX5 Ability to place the ministry context in light of the large schemes of world and national history.
CX6 Ability to analyze and describe the ministry context in light of its local history.

CX7 Ability to understand and articulate the biblical, historical, and theological bases for Christian mission.
CX8 Ability to describe basic missiological principles and to apply them to the development of ministry in the local church.