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Certification in Family Ministry

The Certification in Family Ministry is designed for those who desire to build a strong discipleship ministry which will have a powerful impact on children (birth through college) and their families. The goal of Family Ministry is to intentionally align age-related ministries, enabling them to work collaboratively and strategically to influence the next generation for Jesus Christ.

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 Family Ministry, and Youth and/or Children’s Ministry are designed to help students gain knowledge and a deeper understanding of strategies/models for developing a Family Ministry Model that fits the discipleship mission and vision for families in the local church

Ideal for those who:

  • Are interested in a life-time commitment to ministering to children (birth to college) and their families
  • Lead the family ministry in local congregations
  • Are seminary graduates who now want to specialize in family ministry
  • Are considering a seminary degree
  • Are not seminary graduates

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Upcoming Course(s)

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.

Family Ministry Courses:

In addition to the four core courses for Certification, students must complete pre and post work for any courses as assigned by the instructor, the four required Family Ministry courses, plus two electives in Children’s Ministry or Youth Ministry.

  • Family Ministry 101*

This is interactive course will explore practical applications of the call and work of the ministers who have major educational responsibilities related to children, birth through college, and their families in the local church. Students will consider the vision of ministry with families, develop a strategy, and consider structures and systems for organizing and implementing the vision.


Garland, Diana. Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide, 2nd edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-83083-971-1

Jones, Timothy Paul. Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-89827-457-8

  • Models of Family Ministry*  

Effective Family Ministry begins when the church embraces her role to engage and equip parents to be the primary faith shapers of their children and when families began to understand they were created for a purpose and are on mission.  In this course, students will analyze and evaluate four different models for Family Ministry and consider the model that most closely identifies with their current context and make recommendations based on their evaluations for keeping, modifying or changing the model for their context.

  • Building Faith at Home*  

In this course participants will discuss spiritual formation strategies that create disciples for a lifetime, discover equipping and empowering strategies to enable parents to be the primary faith shapers in their home, and evaluate different family rituals and church celebrations that promote a church and home partnership

  • 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.

  • Youth or Children’s Ministry Electives (two electives from Youth or Children or one from each)

*required for Certification

Churches, Associations, or other groups may arrange for onsite training for a group of students. All costs involved in travel including meals, hotel and honorarium for the instructor will be covered by the organization providing the onsite training.

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 Course(s)

Contact our office for more information on upcoming events.


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