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Pastoral Leadership Certificate

The Pastoral Leadership Certificate is designed for those providing Pastoral leadership in a wide variety of ministry contexts. The course of study includes four Core Courses, four Required Courses, and two Electives. The Core Courses provide a foundation for biblical teaching and developing discipleship ministry to reach across all age groups. Required courses focus on the essential elements of pastoral care, sermon preparation, making disciples, and leading change. Electives are designed to meet the specific callings of pastoral and other ministry leaders. While there are only six courses required for the Pastoral Leadership Certificate, students are encouraged to take all courses that will contribute towards their effectiveness as church leaders.

Ideal for those who:

· Serve as pastors of smaller churches

· Provide leadership in any Christian ministry

· Serve as lay leaders

· Who are not planning to attend seminary

· Who are seeking foundational training in preparation for seminary

· Who are seminary graduates interested in refreshing ministry skills

  • Tuition for Core Courses (1 session courses): $150 per course x 4 = $600
  • Tuition for Required & Electives (2 session courses): $250 per course x 6 = $1500
  • Total Tuition for Pastoral Leadership Certificate: $2100
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Core Courses (1 three-hour session per course):

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. Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian Community. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0-80544-779-8

· Banks, Robert J. Paul’s Idea of Community, 3rd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2020. ISBN-978-1-5409-6175-4

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.

Required Courses (2 three-hour sessions per course):

Pastoral Care

Pastoral care is a particular and unique form of care that is rooted in the love of God, the ministry of Jesus, and the presence of the Spirit. This course will explore the theological foundation and the practical expression of pastoral care in the midst of a broken and hurting world.

Equipping and Empowering Disciples

Making disciples is the essential mandate of Jesus to the church. Discipleship is a lifelong process rather than a church program. This course will focus on how we equip disciple and empower them for ministry in today’s world.

Leading Change

Wondering how you can lead change without blowing your church up? This course will help you develop some practical tools to help your church wake up to the mission of God while uncovering the reasons why you became stuck in the first place. We will explore the spiritual, emotional, and leadership opportunities that can spark transformation in your church.

Sermon Preparation

An essential part of pastoral ministry is the development and delivery of sermons that are biblically rooted and contextually relevant to the congregation. This course focuses on the basic elements and skills necessary for preparing a biblically based sermon. It will also explore the art of sermon delivery.

Electives (2 three hour sessions per course/choose two from following):

Team Building

An essential component of leadership is the ability to build teams and foster a culture of collaboration. This course will explore necessary skills and effective ways in which leaders can invest in team building and through collaboration expand ministry impact. This course will be helpful for ministry leaders who are using or seeking to use team approaches to ministry.

Church and Cultural Contexts

Looking for a way to create a bridge between your church and the community? This course will help you to explore the hopes, dreams, fears, relationships and rituals that often go unexamined which make proclaiming and living out the gospel a challenge for churches today. If you are interested in helping your church to live on mission for the sake of your neighbors, this course will help you develop practical skills to assess your cultural and church context with greater clarity.

Financial Stewardship

Churches have a responsibility to faithfully steward their financial resources. This course will give attention to stewardship as a spiritual practice that impacts the well being and witness of the church. It will also offer guidance in the area of creating a budget that reflects the mission of the church. This course will be especially helpful for leaders who manage or have oversight of ministry budgets.

Leveraging Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of human relationships. Every church faces the reality of conflict at some level. This course will focus on gaining an understanding pf the nature of congregational conflict and how conflict can be leveraged to advance the health and mission of the church. Course will be helpful for all ministry leaders.

Story of God

The Bible tells the story of God’s redemptive activity in human history. The Old Testament narrative takes the story from Creation through the Babylonian Exile. The New Testament tells the story from Jesus to the Consummation of the Kingdom. This course focuses on the complete narrative of God as a continuous story from Genesis to Revelation. This course will be helpful for any ministry leader.

Ordinances, Rituals, and Ceremonies

Church leaders must give attention to numerous practical matters. This course will focus on the nuts and bolts of an array of issues such as baptisms, communion, ordination, weddings, funerals, worship planning and meetings. This course will be especially helpful for those serving in the role of pastor.

Pastoral Leadership Certificate Summary

4 Core Courses (1 session / 3 hours per course)

4 Required Courses (2 sessions / 3 hours per course)

2 Electives from Ministry Leader Track (2 sessions / 3 hours per course)

Total – 10 courses

Scholarship Assistance 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, for at least the past year, 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, with a limit of 3 courses in any one session. Each month that BMEN courses are offered us considered a separate “session” and requires a new application. Click here for more information.

Truett Seminary Partnership

Participants interested in receiving the Advanced Certificate of Ministry may complete an additional six courses offered online by Truett Seminary:

Orientation & formation

Biblical Interpretation

Survey of the Old Testament

Survey of the New Testament

Introduction to Theology

Introduction to Church History

For further information about Truett’s certificate program see www.baylor.edu/truett/certificate.








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