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.

The first level of the program is the “Foundations for Service.” Participants will encounter religion classes on the Old and New Testament, biblical theology, religion in America, and Christians through the ages. With that foundation, Rev. Taylor says, “They can be the most theologically knowledgeable person in the church besides the pastor.”  

What is the curriculum like?

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.” Here participants learn about Christian caregiving, family and youth ministry, youth and adult religious education communicating Bible messages and missions. We believe learning and theology are about the whole person so we integrate that concept into our program.

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 program consists of traditional students eager to dedicate their lives to the Church to retirees wanting professional church work. In a time when the question of survival hangs in the balance for the Church, Rev. Taylor remains 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.”

Our Director of Church Ministries Certificate is a non-degree program that is offered 100% online. The first and final course, each of which consists of a three-day residency at the Mequon campus. The online theology certificate program follows a cohort model. A new cohort starts 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. 

Finishing up the program

Finishing 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 wish to receive certification from the program but lack a bachelor’s degree you still can. You can take additional courses to earn your bachelor’s degree through our online adult learning theology major. This can be done alongside the certification program.

The Director of Church Ministries Certificate program is also open to any layperson curious about theology with a desire to learn more at a collegiate level. Lay people are invited to take as many 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.

This blog was originally published on April 8, 2019. It has been updated to reflect current information.