Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Login or Register to make a submission.

Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in Microsoft Word format (or JPG/PNG for artwork submissions)
  • The submission has been typed up in VJTM's style template (see General Guidelines, below, for links to templates)
  • References are formatted in either Chicago 17th edition or APA 7th edition style.
  • SBL guidelines have been used for citing Scripture and abbreviating books of the Bible, biblical commentaries, names, places, etc.
  • If the submission is a book review, the book is not older than 5 years and is not currently a textbook for Vanguard College (email for a list of textbooks)
  • Author’s agreement is completed and ready to submit (upload the signed form to your submission library once the work has been submitted). Instructions:
  • All identifying information is removed from your manuscript, including acknowledgements, funding sources, and affiliations; self-citations are anonymized. Personal information has been removed from file properties. Instructions:

Author Guidelines

The VJTM welcomes original scholarship from students, alumni, school faculty, pastors, scholars, and other practitioners in the fields of theology and applied ministry. Categories of submission include both academic articles and creative/reflective pieces. To be reviewed by an editor, submissions must follow these guidelines:

If the submission does not follow these basic guidelines, it will be returned without being reviewed by an editor. For more guidelines specific to type of submission, see below.

NOTE: In academic culture, common courtesy is that writers contribute by both submitting their own work and doing peer review for others’ work. This helps keep the balance even, so there are enough peer reviewers to meet the need created by people submitting their work. If you’re an author with VJTM and you haven’t already, please consider registering as a peer reviewer with us!

Declined Submissions

Submissions may be declined based on the recommendation of peer-review. However, we also reserve the right to decline any submission that does not fit within the scope of VJTM or the stated theme for the upcoming issue. If we decline a submission because it does not fit the stated theme, it can be resubmitted when appropriate to an upcoming issue's theme. If we request revisions on a submission but they are not provided within the current issue's publication cycle, we will also decline the submission, but you are free to submit a revised copy if it fits with an upcoming issue's theme. 

Copyright Notice

Work published in VJTM is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The CC BY 4.0 liscense allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the Work, even commercially, as long as they credit the Author for the original creation. Authors retain copyright of their Work, with first publication rights granted to VJTM.

Authors will never be charged to submit or publish a manuscript through Vanguard Journal of Theology & Ministry.

Privacy Statement

Read our privacy policy here.



Journal article submissions are well-researched pieces of academic writing that argue an original thesis or present original research findings on a particular topic. They do not need to include original research studies in order to be published in this journal, but they must represent an original academic contribution to Christian thought on the topic. The maximum word count for articles is 8,000 words, but authors are encouraged to submit articles shorter than that length. Please include an abstract (50-150 words) at the top of your journal article submission.
There are three subtypes of journal article submissions, differentiated by author type and type of contribution: undergraduate, scholarly, and pastor/practitioner. Submitters are free to choose whatever category they feel suits their article best, but VJTM reserves the right to switch the submission to another category if they feel it fits better. For guidance according to article type, see below:

Students attending any undergraduate institution are encouraged to submit original articles applicable to this year’s theme. If desired, they may convert a paper previously submitted as coursework to the journal, provided that it has been adjusted from the original submission into journal article format. These adjustments include: updating the title (for attractiveness and relevance), removing any reference to the course name, providing a short 50-150 word abstract (or summary statement), and any other changes desired. If the paper was previously submitted for a course, please indicate this in your author’s publication agreement.

Scholars are invited to submit articles from their field of study that connect with this year’s theme. All submissions must fit within the scope of this journal and be related to Christian theology or practice, but integrations with other fields such as psychology, education, law, social work, etc. are both welcome and encouraged. This submission type has the highest level of scholastic criteria, and rigorous research is required to ensure the article meets academic standards.

Pastors and Christian practitioners working in fields outside the church are encouraged to submit articles related to their practice of ministry that are related to this year’s theme. Exceptional work will incorporate theological research and practices grounded in one’s life experiences inside or outside the church. As this is an academic article type, submissions must be well-researched, include sufficient citations and a thesis, and represent an original contribution to pastoral thought on the topic. Less scholarly reflections may be submitted under the Creative Non-Fiction submission category (see Creative Submissions section, above).

Book Reviews

Book review submissions are pieces of literary criticism that describe or analyze a book’s content and merit. More than simply summarizing the work, insert your well thought out criticism and praise with specific examples and references to other material that covers the same topic. The goal is to contribute to the academic discussion surrounding the book, as well as to help our readers determine if they want to read it for themselves. The chosen book must relate to the scope of the journal and be published within the last 5 years. Authors are also encouraged to submit reviews for books that relate to that issue’s theme, but this is not required. Vanguard College students may not submit a book review for a textbook currently used in a class offered at Vanguard College. Please include the book’s full bibliographic reference in your chosen citation style (APA or Chicago) at the top of your submission. The maximum word count for this type of submission is 1000 words.

Creative Submission

VJTM accepts submissions of creative pieces such as short stories, poetry, and art, which speak to the Christian community through non-academic expression. The submission should directly respond to the topic of the journal issue through creative means. The editor’s acceptance decision will be based on the depth and importance of the contribution the work makes to the topic, as well as other criteria.

Creative submissions must be produced in whole solely by the declared author(s)/artist(s). If a portion of the submission includes the copyrighted work of another author/artist, the submitter must be able to prove permission to use the original work, such as a Creative Commons license that permits derivatives or explicit written permission from the original author/artist.

The following types of creative submissions can be accepted:

Short Story

A short story is a piece of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting and focuses on a simple or self-contained narrative. The narrative or moral of the story must be directly related to the topic of the issue, or otherwise express the author’s thoughts on the topic through narrative means. A short story submission may be between 1000 and 3500 words, but flash fiction stories may be less than 1000 words. Each short story submission should contain only one story.

Creative Nonfiction

This category includes other prose forms of creative expression including but not limited to reflective narrative, personal essays, narrative nonfiction, biography, lyrical works, etc. See the Creative Nonfiction Collective Society’s definition herefor more explanation. Pastoral works that are more reflective in nature and do not fit the requirements for a pastor/practitioner journal article may be submitted in this category. The maximum word count for this category is 2800 words.


Authors are encouraged to submit pieces of original poetry that speak to the issue’s theme through non-prose means. VJTM welcomes these non-academic and more reflective perspectives that encourage us to think more deeply about contemporary issues and lived realities that we currently face. The requirements for poetry submission are flexible. Poetry submissions may be single-spaced instead of double-spaced and may have other stylistic deviations. The maximum word limit is 1000 words. Submitters are encouraged to use the full spectrum of literary expression when submitting poetry, without feeling limited to an academic format. If desired, an accompanying statement can be submitted alongside the poem that gives context to the work or helps readers understand how the poem addresses the topic of the journal issue.


VJTM also welcomes and encourages artwork submissions from both aspiring and professional artists. As this is a scholastic journal that aims to spark and provide space for dialogue, please make sure the artwork is reflective in nature and represents a contribution to the issue’s discussion and current theme. Artwork submissions should be accompanied by an explanatory paragraph that gives background to the piece, including artist background, media information, explanation of the piece, or any other elements deemed necessary to help readers understand how the artwork responds to the topic of the journal issue. Please submit artwork entries digitally in JPG or PNG format through OJS.


Due to the unique nature of creative submissions, it may be difficult to fit such a submission into the guidelines specified above. If this is the case, we encourage you to still reach out to us so we can talk about possibilities for including your contribution.