The Certification in Children’s Ministry is designed for those involved in ministry to children and their families. The program is offered through the BGAV Ministry Equipping Network and includes four Core Courses that provide a foundation for biblical teaching and developing a discipleship ministry to reach across age groups. In addition, concentration courses in Children’s Ministry are designed to help participants gain a deeper understanding of how children develop and learn so that the church can better engage them and help them to become life-long followers of Christ.
Ideal for those who:
- Are interested in a life-time commitment to ministering to children and their families
- Lead the children’s ministry in local congregations
- Are seminary graduates who now want to specialize in children’s ministry
- Are considering a seminary degree
- Are not seminary graduates
Core Certification Courses:
- The Family of God
This course is a historical overview of the family from the 1st Century to the present in order to inform our ministry with families in the present day church. This understanding will explore the important foundation of a healthy marriage, evaluate the family as redeemed and not broken in God’s Big Story, and develop practical approaches to ministry with families.
Garland, Diana. Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide, 2nd edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-83083-971-1
Hellerman, Joseph. When the Church Was a Family: Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian Community. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0-80544-779-8
- Developmental Ages and Stages
How does our mental, emotional, social, and spiritual development begin and take root? How does faith grow throughout our lives? How should what we know about each stage shape how we can best teach people at each stage? Participants in this course will begin to explore answers to these questions and will consider how to apply what they discover to the ministries to which they are called.
Stonehouse, Catherine. Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey: Nurturing a Life of Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998. ISBN 9780801058073
- Teaching Techniques/Approaches
Those of us who teach really desire to make an impact on our students. We love it when the class understands a concept or principle we are presenting. In order to create an engaging, dynamic learning environment, we need to be creative, passionate, and insightful in our techniques. This 3-hour seminar will explore how to connect with various types of learners, and how to utilize creative approaches to have a more engaging class and increase class participation.
- Bible Study Basics
There are more resources available to help a teacher understand passages of scriptures than ever before in history. However, even with the surplus of information, it can still be overwhelming to decipher what tools are best to use and how to really engage with the Bible both on a personal level and for purposes of teaching. This 3-hour course will look at some of the basics of developing good Bible study habits, as well as how to incorporate resources from the internet and other venues into our teaching plans.
Children’s Ministry Courses:
In addition to the four core courses, for certification, students must complete pre and post work for any course as assigned by the instructor, the three required Children’s Ministry courses, and one additional Children’s Ministry course as an elective.
Participants may take a single course or enroll in a Certification program. If, after taking individual courses, the participant decides to pursue certification, he/she must complete the assigned pre/post work for those courses and pay the additional costs of certification.
- Children’s Ministry 101*
This course is a study of the call and work of ministers who have major responsibilities related to preschool and children education in local churches. Vocational expectations are explored, gifts for ministry are evaluated, and practical approaches to various tasks are developed.
Kids Ministry 101: Practical Answers to Questions About Kids Ministry. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2009. ISBN 1415867380
Csinos, David M. and Ivy Beckwith. Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2013. ISBN 9780830841080
- Best Practices of Teaching Children*
This interactive course will explore the practical applications of developmental theory, various avenues of learning, and the characteristics and needs of children from kindergarten through the pre-teen years. Students will consider how to apply effective methodologies and organizational and structural guidelines to their ministries. Prior participation in the Developmental Stages and Ages course is highly recommended.
Price, Max B. Help! I Teach Children’s Sunday School. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc., 2003.
- Best Practices of Teaching Preschoolers
This interactive course will explore the practical applications of developmental theory, various avenues of learning, and the characteristics and needs of children from birth through the early childhood years. Students will consider how to apply effective methodologies and organizational and structural guidelines to their ministries. Prior participation in the Developmental Stages and Ages course is highly recommended.
Bradberry, Mary Ann and Thomas Sanders. Teaching Preschoolers: First Steps Toward Faith, Revised. Nashville, TN: Lifeway Press, 2016. ISBN 9781415869215
- Choosing and Evaluating Curriculum*
Curriculum provides a game plan or a map for lay leaders who disciple children and we need to be purposeful in what we choose to provide. Participants in this course will review curriculum and teaching materials offered by various Christian publishing houses. Class members will practice the process of applying what they have learned about biblical truth, age group characteristics, and learning avenues to the selection of curriculum and possible adaptations to the materials for their ministry to preschoolers and/or children.
- Inclusive and Supportive Children’s Ministry: Serving Children and Families with Special Needs
This course will provide ministry team members with an opportunity to learn ways to support children with special needs in their ministries. This course will include an overview of special needs that you may encounter in ministry. Strategies for supporting your ministry that will meet learning, social, and behavioral needs will be presented. Biblical principles for building inclusive churches and ministries will bolster this experience.
- Children and Worship
Explore how children learn to Worship and take a look at different avenues of incorporating children into Worship in your own congregation. Participants will engage in discussions about Worship, Children’s Sermons, and Children’s Worship while learning new ways to provide children with developmental support as they Worship in different environments.
Ng, David and Virginia Thomas. Children in the Worshiping Community. Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1981.
Stonehouse, Catherine. Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey: Nurturing a Life of Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998. ISBN 9780801058073 (Chapters 1, 2, 8 & 9)
- Integrating Children into the Life of the Congregation
How can children lead the way in the ministry they provide to the congregation and the support they give to the mission of the church? Discussions will include: Intergenerational activities; Exploring what it means to be a missionary when you are a child in a church; How the least of these can lead us.
- Leading and Caring for Others
Volunteers in any church are important. In fact, they are essential. They have skills, wisdom, experience, and the desire to do something significant. This course is designed help leaders of churches design a culture that is irresistibly attractive and values your volunteers above your programs so that together, you can accomplish the mission of your church.
*required for certification
BGAV Non-traditional Ministry Education Scholarships assist BGAV church leaders in accessing training and continuing education opportunities provided by the Baptist General Association of Virginia and its ministry partners. These scholarships are intended to assist non-traditional students, who are defined as: part-time students who are in non-degree programs of study with an emphasis in continuing education for ministry in the local church. Clergy and lay leaders who have a financial need and are active members of a cooperating church of the BGAV may apply for a scholarship for up to one-third the cost of an educational offering sponsored by the BGAV or a ministry partner. Click here for more information.