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.
2019-2020 course schedule:
August 26 – October 4, 2019
October 14 – November 22, 2019
June 3 – July 22, 2019 (Spiritual Formation only)
January 20 – February 28, 2020
March 16 – May 1, 2020 (no class during Holy Week)
June 1 – July 10, 2010 (Spiritual Formation only)
August 24 – October 2, 2020
October 12 – November 20, 2020
Jump to an overview of:
Certification in Children’s Ministry –
- IFDC110 – Teaching Biblical Faith to Children | August 26 – October 4, 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 | October 14 – November 22, 2019
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 20 – March 1, 2020
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 | Not currently enrolling
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 –
- IFDC220 – Spiritual Disciplines for Personal and Parish Renewal | August 26 – October 4, 2019
The main focus of this course is spiritual formation and the ways that spiritual temperament and personality inform engagement of the spiritual disciplines for personal and parish renewal. Participants will define an initial plan for spiritual formation in a congregational setting.
- IFDC210 – Teaching for Biblical Faith for Spiritual Formation | October 14 – November 22, 2019
The focus of this class is on ways that we might promote a formational engagement of the Scriptures for personal and parish enrichment through the ways that we teach our Biblical faith. In this course, you’ll learn how to engage the Christian meta-narrative and its key themes and motifs in ways that facilitate spiritual formation in our churches.
- IFDC230 – The Ministry of Spiritual Direction and Companionship | June 3 – July 22, 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 | August 26 – 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)