Ministry Leadership Certificates

For Youth and Children Ministry Leaders like YOU!

Our Ministry Leadership Certificates connect the dots between the classroom and the congregation with instructional cohorts that combine theological education with practical ministry training. Our students are church leaders from various backgrounds, including recent college graduates, those starting a second career, and experienced practitioners. Our commissioned graduates typically double their ministry attendance.

Two-Year Instructional Cohorts

The Ministry Leadership Instructional Cohort Program is a two-year youth and children’s ministry course of study that develops authentic, intentional, proficient, and theologically informed ministers, church staff, and lay leaders who serve in a variety of congregational settings. We adapt the instruction to each church by providing the student with on-site consulting support and individualized mentoring and StrengthsFinders coaching.

The program is designed to pair monthly learning opportunities with follow-up coaching conversations, so newly instructed material will be immediately applied in each ministry setting. Learn about adolescent development, youth culture, training volunteers, counseling foundations, Biblical studies, soul-tending, and teaching Scripture to your young people.

Because classes meet monthly and coaches interact with cohort participants on their own schedule, participants have the ability to balance classwork with family and ministry responsibilities. If desired, classwork also offers a degree pathway with participating undergraduate schools.

Anyone who can get by car or air to Kansas City four times a year and set aside 2-3 days a month for education and training are invited to participate in our Ministry Leadership Certificates. Please take a look at our sample schedule and format below.

Who You’ll Learn From:

Our teaching faculty are highly trained in their fields and dedicated to your success in ministry with young people.

A core of expert instructors, composed of pastors, counselors, educators, and experienced children & youth ministers provide practical ministry training. A robust team of theology professors and instructors teach theological education. Experienced coaches and mentors help individualize the instructional material for your church setting. Participating youth and children’s ministers enrich the lives of young people, contributing to the life and vitality of partnering congregations. 

Children & Youth Ministry Certificate Course of Study

  • Introduction to Youth and Children’s Ministry (six units)

  • Human Development and Social Values (four units)

  • Studies in Church and Culture for Young People (four units)

  • Adaptive Leadership in Ministry (four units)

  • Communicating the Gospel to Young People (four units)

  • Counseling Foundations and Pastoral Care Principles (four units)

  • Applications of Historical Christianity (five units)

  • Christian Theology for Ministry with Young People (five units)

  • Intensive: Study of the Old Testament (twelve units)

  • Intensive: Study of the New Testament (twelve units)

  • Program Design: Ministry in the Local Church (four units)

  • Practicum: Application of Ministry and Soul-Tending (five units per year, totaling 10 units)

Online and In-Person Academic Schedule & Format

Our schedule for 2023 and 2024 will include both in-person and online instruction. Typically, instructional sessions will meet in Prairie Village, Kansas. For in-person gatherings, the two-day retreat schedule begins with lunch on Monday. Instruction is offered on Monday afternoon, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, and Tuesday afternoon, adjourning by 5:00 on Tuesday. Restaurant or catered meals are provided. MLI provides hotel accommodations for out-of-town students (the cost is included with enrollment and breakfast is offered on Tuesday). Online instruction is scheduled in the Winter, and to accommodate for unforeseen health reasons (such as COVID-19), as directed by the MLI Board of Directors.

SEPTEMBER 15–16: Two-day Fundamentals of Ministry Retreat, often in partnership with various denominations. This is a yearly event for new enrollees and those interested in learning more about MLI programming. Interested participants who are not enrolled in the two-year Instructional Cohort Program may register for this retreat as a continuing education experience.

OCTOBER 10–12: Optional participation in a Kansas Leadership Center training event in Wichita, Kansas. Your Leadership Edge is a program designed to equip participants with adaptive leadership skills. Registration, lodging, and meals are included.

NOVEMBER 9–11: Two-day Instructional Retreat, with an introductory session for the Bible intensive. Lodging and meals are included.

DECEMBER: Online instruction is provided in December. In-person retreats are not typically scheduled in Early Winter to accommodate for weather and health changes, common in the Midwest.

JANUARY 18–20: Gathering in Nashville for MLI cohort participants and residents from the Center for Youth Ministry Training. Registration, lodging in Nashville, and meals are included. Special travel accommodations will be provided for those farther than 350 miles from Nashville.

EARLY FEBRUARY: DECEMBER: Online instruction is provided in early February. In-person retreats are not typically scheduled in Early Winter to accommodate for weather and health changes, common in the Midwest.

FEBRUARY 22–24: Three-day Instructional Retreat, including a second session in the Bible intensive (this event is typically held late in the month to avoid Winter travel). Lodging and meals are included.

APRIL: Online instruction is provided in April. Topic and schedule will be announced in Spring 2024.

MAY 2–4: Three-day Final Instructional Retreat. Lodging and meals are included. This is the final retreat of the academic year and includes a certification event for second-year cohort participants. First-year cohort participants will return in the Fall.

SUMMER: Coaching and additional consulting support continues through the summer. The academic calendar begins again in September.

Learn More

Exploratory Weekend

Our CYMT ‘Exploratory Weekends’ are exciting opportunities for interested individuals to learn more about CYMT and Austin Seminary by experiencing the residency in real-time during one of our academic intensives. These weekends help individuals discern whether CYMT is the right next step in their journey and connect with current residents, professors, and alumni. Click below to explore the upcoming dates and schedules, and sign up!

Virtual Visits (Info call)

If you want the inside scoop on the Graduate Residency or Certificate program, join us for a free Virtual Visit! We host free informational Virtual Visits over Zoom twice a month, where you can hear from current residents, staff, professors, or alumni. You can ask questions about their experience in the program and speak with our admissions staff.

Talk to someone on our Admissions Team

Interested, but you have questions? We would be glad to answer any of your questions. Click the button below to schedule a phone call with our Admissions Team, or call Nick Guerra at 1-800-811-8159.

Exploratory Weekend

Our CYMT ‘Exploratory Weekends’ are exciting opportunities for interested individuals to learn more about CYMT and Austin Seminary by experiencing the residency in real-time during one of our academic intensives. These weekends help individuals discern whether CYMT is the right next step in their journey and connect with current residents, professors, and alumni. Click below to explore the upcoming dates and schedules, and sign up!

Virtual Visits (Info call)

If you want the inside scoop on the Graduate Residency or Certificate program, join us for a free Virtual Visit! We host free informational Virtual Visits over Zoom twice a month, where you can hear from current residents, staff, professors, or alumni. You can ask questions about their experience in the program and speak with our admissions staff.

Talk to someone on our Admissions Team

Interested, but you have questions? We would be glad to answer any of your questions. Click the button below to schedule a phone call with our Admissions Team, or call Nick Guerra at 1-800-811-8159.

Testimonials