The Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College offers certifications in several ministry-related areas. Certifications require just four courses of $125 each — a total of $500. These courses will give you both a solid theological understanding to support your work, as well as practical knowledge from experts. All courses are taught by instructors who have years of on-the-ground experience in their particular ministry area.
Gain the tools to make a big impact in your ministry area and interact with other Christians from around the country who do the same kind of ministry you do!
Cost and Dates
You can complete all the courses you need for certification in just one year.
Each $125 course is 6 weeks long, although some programs include a 12-week practicum component in place of the 4th course. Courses and practicums will be taught on a yearly rotation.
2019 course cycle schedule:
January 21 – March 1, 2019
March 11 – April 26, 2019 (No class during Holy Week, April 15-19)
August 26 – October 4, 2019
October 14 – November 22, 2019
Practicums will generally begin every January & August
Jump to an overview of:
Certification in Children’s Ministry – Jan. 2019-start cohort is full!
- IFDC110 – Teaching Biblical Faith to Children | January 21 – March 1, 2019
A consideration of pedagogical methods for the church as it encounters the biblical message of the Old and New Testaments with special emphasis on understanding theological implications for children.
- IFDC120 – Teaching Theology to Children | March 11 – April 26, 2019 (No class during Holy Week)
A survey of issues in theology and their implications for teaching and learning in the church, with special emphasis on understanding theological implications for children.
- IFDC130 – Nurturing Spiritual Development in the Lives of Children | August 26 – October 4, 2019
Historical, theological, and philosophical foundations of Christian education with attention to ways people develop and learn across the age span and how teaching takes place in the church.
Then choose one of the following two courses to complete the certification:
- IFDC140 – Children’s Ministries in the Church | October 14 – November 22, 2019
An examination of the role of the educator in supporting the faith development of children in the congregation including pedagogies, administrative and leadership issues, and a theology of childhood.
- IFDC150 – Leading Volunteers Beyond 2025 | October 14 – November 22, 2019
An exploration of theologically based theories and applicable tools in recruiting, nurturing, and maintaining healthy volunteer teams of all sizes.
Certification in Evangelism
- IFDC310 – Teaching Biblical Faith: Evangelism | January 21 – March 1, 2019
A study of the biblical message of the Old and New Testaments and the relation of the Bible to teaching Evangelism.
- IFDC320 – Teaching Theology: Evangelism | March 11 – April 26, 2019 (No class during Holy Week)
Theological foundations for the ministry of Evangelism, empowering laity as theologians and exploring Christian doctrines.
- IFDC330 – Evangelism as Congregational Outreach and Growth | August 26 – October 4, 2019
Examination of the role of the specialist in Evangelism in equipping the congregation to tell the Christian story to those outside the church, to seek a response to the Christian message and to assimilate newcomers into the life and ministry of the church. Areas of concern will include communication theory and skills, outreach methods and approaches, and models for the assimilation of new members.
- IFDC340 – Evangelism as Congregational Care and Nurture | October 14 – November 22, 2019
Consideration of the ministry of evangelism through the care of members by such means as pastoral care, visitation, support and self-help groups, and the growth and empowerment of laypeople in faith and discipleship.
Certification in Spiritual Formation – Jan. 2019-start cohort is full!
- IFDC220 – Spiritual Disciplines for Personal and Parish Renewal |
January 21 – March 1, 2019Full! | Now enrolling August session
Defining and affirming prayer as the “spirit” of all the spiritual disciplines, this survey-orientation seeks: 1) an understanding of the spiritual life as a journey, 2) the nature and goal of this journey, and 3) the role of the traditional (and not so traditional) means of grace (including contemplation, spiritual direction, and the formation of a “rule” for faithful living) in this journey. Emphasis will be given to both the importance of affirming this journey and the spiritual disciplines in the renewal of individual believers and faith communities.
- IFDC210 – Teaching for Biblical Faith for Spiritual Formation | March 11 – April 26, 2019 (No class during Holy Week)
This course explores the nature and authority of the Bible as the Church’s book of faith and life. It also discusses the Bible’s role in congregational contexts and processes, which nurture Christian spiritual formation and discipleship. By the end of this course, students will understand the multiple elements that surround Biblical hermeneutics, be able to articulate their understanding of “Biblical Faith,” and be able to critically and effectively teach the Bible in parish settings.
- IFDC230 – The Ministry of Spiritual Direction and Companionship | June 3 – July 15, 2019
Affirming the role of authentic community and companionship in discipleship and spiritual formation, this course will work to define “spiritual direction and companionship” – in both its one-on-one form as well as “group” expressions. A variety of resources (including readings from Christian classics) will serve to illuminate key elements of and considerations surrounding such relationships, including: listening skills, psychological awareness, historical background (including formative Wesleyan spirituality), the differences between direction and counseling and coaching, and ethical considerations. Upon completion of the course, participants should have a clear understanding of the nature of this means of spiritual guidance as well as the formal processes involved in becoming a certified spiritual director.
- IFDC250 – Practicum in Spiritual Formation | October 14 – November 22, 2019
Supervised field education in a project related to “spiritual formation” in the setting of a local congregation. Successful completion of this [12-week] course will demand that participants demonstrate an understanding of project management and bring that understanding to bear in the definition, defense, execution, and critical evaluation of a short-term program/activity to be conducted in a local church or small group setting. (Prerequisites: IFDC210, 220, 230)