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Certification in Youth Ministry

The Certification in Youth Ministry is designed for those who are involved in ministry to youth 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 Youth Ministry are designed to help participants gain knowledge and understanding of strategies/models necessary for developing a balanced and relevant youth ministry in the local church.

Ideal for those who:

  • Are interested in a life-time commitment to ministering to youth and their families.
  • Would not be able to attend seminary but desire the academic structure of the classroom to strengthen their knowledge of youth ministry.
  • Are already seminary graduates but would like to update their skills and knowledge in the area of youth ministry.
  • Are volunteers enlisted/charged with developing the ministry of reaching, teaching and growing of students, adult leaders and the parents of youth in the local church.

Register for Courses Online

Upcoming Courses

Contact our office for more information on upcoming events.

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.

Textbook:  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.

Youth Ministry Courses:

In addition to the four core courses, for certification, participants must complete pre and post work for any course as assigned by the instructor, the three required Youth Ministry courses, and one additional Youth 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.

  • Youth Ministry 101*

This course will cover some basic strategies for developing a balanced approach to youth ministry in the local church. We will address areas such as: models for youth ministry; developmental stages of teens; organizing and implementing an annual calendar and budget; building a team approach to youth ministry; and looking at the ministry of 3rd’s (youth, volunteers and parents).

  • Best Practices of Teaching Youth*

The good news is that fun and Bible study are not opposites–serious Bible study is the most engaging activity of all. We’ll cover a variety of Bible study methodologies during this course that can turn you from a teacher into a tour guide, leading youth on a journey of discovery through the Bible. Students don’t want you to tell them what to believe–they need to discover God’s revelation themselves, and to experience the delight of God’s daily guidance.


Dockrey, Karen. The Youth Worker’s Guide to Creative Bible Study. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. 1999.  ISBN  0805418377

  • Choosing/Evaluating Curriculum*

We’ve all had that letdown of needing to prepare a Bible study but the curriculum gives us nothing. We’ve also had the palpable relief of opening curriculum to find not only ideas that work but an approach that truly matches our students. Good curriculum is not authoritative or perfect; it’s a chat with a fellow teacher who truly gets students and the Bible. That curriculum writer shows you how to guide students through a particular passage. Bring plenty of questions and if you want to study ahead find a session of curriculum that created a matchless Bible study. We’ll find out why.

  • Youth Trips – Missions/Retreats/Fellowship

This is a best practices course on how to plan and implement youth trips that draw students closer together (koinonia), glorify God (doxazo), and introduce students to what it means to serve sacrificially (diakonia).

  • Youth Culture
  • Faith Formation in a Technological World

This three-hour course will explore learning styles, stages of faith development, and trends in technology.  We will use those discussion topics to guide us as we seek to best teach and serve youth in the church.  We will review Pew Research Data from 2015 on teenagers & use of technology.  We will also read Tim Elmore’s book, Generation iY, together.

  • Discipling Teens in a Digital World

Today’s teens are the most connected generation in history. Together we will figure out how we can connect with them when they’re disconnecting from so many spiritual things.

  • 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

Scholarship Available:

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.

Register for Courses Online

Upcoming Courses

Contact our office for more information on upcoming events.

We reserve the right to cancel a course if we do not have enough students to cover expenses of the course.


Karen Rackett : [staff-title] Karen Rackett
Congregational Field Staff Administrative Assistant
800.255.2428 or 804.915.5000, ext. 2243