Curious about theology? Wish you had the credentials necessary to be eligible for a call in The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod?


That’s what the Director of Church Ministries Certificate program is for—to train and prepare individuals just like you for work alongside pastors throughout the LCMS network.

According to Rev. Dr. Kurt Taylor, the goal of the program is twofold: to help individuals gain a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and become better equipped to serve in the Church. Achieving this goal starts with a deep dive into theology.

In level one of the program—“Foundations for Service”—participants will encounter religion classes on the Old Testament, the New Testament, biblical theology, religion in America, and Christ’s people through the ages. With that foundation securely in place, Rev. Taylor says, “They can be the most theologically knowledgeable person in the church beside the pastor.”  

But preparation for church ministry in this program doesn’t stop at theology. The course curriculum also includes an entire level dedicated to “Practice in Serving” where participants learn about Christian caregiving, family and youth ministry, religious education of youth and adults, how to communicate Bible messages, and missions.

Rev. Taylor uses a baseball analogy to describe the outcome for graduates of the Director of Church Ministries Certificate program.

“We’re creating utility infielders,” Rev. Taylor said, referring to the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience program participants receive. “We want to give the widest variety of exposure to what goes on in parish ministry.”

The participants who make up the program range from traditional students who are eager to dedicate their lives to service in the Church all the way to retirees who are taking a turn later in life to trade career for professional church work. In a time when the question of survival hangs in the balance for the Church, Rev. Taylor remains steadfastly optimistic, even hopeful.

“I get excited when I see these young people and their love for the Lord,” Rev. Taylor said. “The future of our Church is in good hands.”

The Director of Church Ministries Certificate is a non-degree program that is offered 100% online save for the first and final course, each of which consists of a three-day residency at the Mequon campus. The certificate program follows a cohort model with a new cohort starting every June, made up of courses that run for eight weeks at a time. On-campus students working on their Bachelor of Arts at Concordia can also take advantage of the certificate as a degree program. 

Following the completion of the program, participants who receive certification can be rostered in the LCMS with the designation: Minister of Religion Commissioned — Lay Minister. Meanwhile, progress is being made toward this designation changing to Minister of Religion Commissioned — Director of Church Ministries.

Participants without a Bachelor of Arts degree will be unable to receive certification. If you do wish to receive certification from the program but lack a bachelor’s degree, you can take additional courses through our online adult learning theology major to earn your bachelor’s degree alongside the certification program.

The Director of Church Ministries Certificate program is also open to any lay person who is curious about theology and has a desire to learn more at a collegiate level. Lay people are invited to take as many of the courses as they want.

To learn more about the certificate, visit the program page. You can also explore the admissions process and get started on your application.

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