Certificate in Pastoral Ministry

Join the conversations that will expose you to new ideas, deepen your commitments, and give insights on how to minister in a changing world. The Center for Ministry and Lay Training's online program allows you to explore your call to ministry or even earn a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry. Click here to apply.

Phillips is the only Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) seminary offering this Certificate in Pastoral Ministry. Since 1906, Phillips has been educating those who serve the church and is pleased to continue the 120-year legacy of the Bible College of Missouri through the Center for Ministry and Lay Training.

As a student, you’ll not only learn from our top-notch faculty, but you’ll also build a network of others engaged in ministry. The Center for Ministry and Lay Training is not designed for those who want to do ministry the way it’s always been done. If you want to make a difference in this changing world, we’ll help you push beyond your comfort zone.

Center for Ministry and Lay Training Highlights:

  • Affordable at $75 per course
  • Entire program online
  • Fits into your schedule
  • Each course lasts eight weeks
  • High-quality instructors (Master’s degree minimum with significant pastoral experience)
  • Program fully supported by Phillips Seminary

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I afford this program?
We’ve lowered the price to $75 per course. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Phillips now provides tuition aid scholarships that cover most of the course costs. You will need to either purchase or borrow books for your course.

Am I too old?
We have participants of all ages. Nearly 40 percent of our students are over the age of 51.

Do I have time?
Our students are balancing work, school, and personal lives. If you’re unsure, contact our director about auditing a course.

Do I have to complete the certificate program?
No. If you just want to take one course to deepen your understanding of a topic, you can. Our courses are open to all who have a desire to learn.

Do I need a bachelor’s degree?
Ours is a certificate program and does not have a minimum degree requirement. This is part of our commitment to educate the whole church.

Is Phillips too liberal?
The seminary identifies as progressive and welcomes students and faculty from many walks of life. We believe respectful conversations in these courses will lead to a deeper understanding of faith that will better prepare our students for ministry in a changing world.

Course Organization

Unless a prerequisite is listed, each course can be taken in any order. Students who take one class at a time may finish the program in about three and a half years.

Center for Ministry and Lay Training courses are organized as follows:

1.     Biblical Knowledge (three courses)

1A.   Biblical Knowledge:  Overview of the Bible

1B.   Biblical Knowledge:  Intro to the Old Testament (prerequisite: Overview of the Bible)

1C.   Biblical Knowledge:  Intro to the New Testament (prerequisite:  Overview of the Bible)

2.    Church Administration and Planning (three courses)

2A.  Church Administration & Planning: Admin & Planning  (prerequisite: Pastoral Leadership)

2B.  Church Administration & Planning:  Pastoral Leadership

2C.  Church Administration & Planning: Utilizing Conflict

3.    Communication

4.    Cross Cultural and Anti-Racism Experience

Cross Cultural:  World Religions

(Please note that Anti-Racism training is to be obtained in one’s home region)

5.    Ecumenism

6.    Education and Leader Development

7.    Ethics

8.    Evangelism

9.    Mission of the Church in the World

10.  Pastoral Care

11.  Proclamation of the Word (prerequisite:  Overview of the Bible and either Introduction to the Old or New Testament)

12.  Spiritual Development

13.  Stewardship

14.  Theology

15.  Understanding of Heritage (two courses)

15A.   Understanding of Heritage A:  Church History

15B.  Understanding of Heritage B:  Disciples History & Polity

16.  Worship

Course Schedule

21/22 Session 3: October 11-December 12, 2021

*Please note this session provides Thanksgiving week off


Dr. Andy Mangum

Disciples History and Polity

Dr. John Imbler


Rev. Dr. Bruce Barkhauer

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible 

Dr. Lisa Davison


21/22 Session 4: January 10-March 6, 2022


Rev. Geoff Mitchell

Education and Leader Development 

Dr. Kris Tenny-Brittian

Pastoral Leadership 

Dr. Bill Tenny-Brittian

UCC History and Polity 

Rev. Margot Pickett


21/22 Session 5: March 7-May 1, 2022

Overview of the Bible

Rev. Dr. Alex Ruth

Introduction to the New Testament 

Dr. Kris Tenny-Brittian

Christian Ethics 

Rev. Dr. George Flanagan


Kurt Gwartney

Disciples History and Polity 

Dr. John Imbler


21/22 Session 6: May 2-June 26, 2022


Rev. Dr. Bruce Barkhauer

Church History 

Rev. Jerry Albright

Church Administration and Planning 

Dr. John Bracke

Pastoral Care 

CMLT Adjunct Faculty


22/23 Session 1: June 27-August 21, 2022

Mission of the Church in the World 

Rev. David Avery

Proclamation of the Word 

Dr. Bill Tenny-Brittian

Spiritual Development 

Dr. Kris Tenny-Brittian

Disciples History and Polity 

Dr. John Imbler


22/23 Session 2: August 22-October 16, 2022


Dr. Andy Mangum

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible 

Dr. Lisa Davison


Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr.

UCC History and Polity 

Rev. Margot Pickett

Conflict Utilization 

Dr. Kris Tenny-Brittian


22/23 Session 3: October 17-December 11, 2022

Overview of the Bible 

Rev. Dr. Alex Ruth


Dr. Bill Tenny-Brittian

World Religions 

Rev. Clement Graham

Disciples History and Polity 

Dr. John Imbler

How to Apply

Center for Ministry and Lay Training registration is available at the link below. The link will take you to a secure, external registration site. Please send any inquiries to Leslie LeSieur, director of the program. CLICK TO REGISTER

Payment is due at the time of registration. Credit cards are the only current accepted form of payment.

What is the tuition cost?

Thanks to generous support from our donors and Board of Trustees, Center for Ministry and Lay Training courses are available for $75 per course beginning July 1, 2018, a reduction from the standard $350 amount. We are pleased that these tuition aid scholarships will make it possible to open ministry training to more people.

Whether you are interested in obtaining the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry or are a lay leader within a congregation looking to gain relevant training and insight into the Bible, theology, church history, or pastoral care, you can be a part of the Center for Ministry and Lay Training.

  • Books are an additional cost. Students are responsible for ordering their own text books, which are readily available from online booksellers or can be borrowed from a library.

When choosing a seminary, many factors matter: community, affordability, faculty, and more. Visiting will allow you to see the value PTS offers in these areas. Enjoy the experience by visiting us today.

For questions, please contact Leslie LeSieur at 918.270.6471.