Weyerhaeuser Center

Certificate in Lay Ministry (Online)

Sept. 2013-June 2014

Now offered online as well as on campus, the Certificate in Lay Ministry Program is designed to help train, equip, and support men and women to serve more effectively as commissioned lay pastors, Christian-education directors, lay-ministry coordinators, youth leaders, church administrators, church elders and deacons and church office managers, as well as in a variety of other paid and unpaid leadership positions in local congregations. Classes take place over a nine-month period, from September to June.

Courses are specifically designed to provide the following components:

  • a theoretical framework and foundation in leadership and ministry issues from a Christian perspective;

  • practical skills and tools to help participants lead and manage increasingly complex ministries;

  • support in ministry, and networking opportunities with other church professionals.

This non-degree program is open to all laypersons who are currently serving or exploring the possibility of serving in a church or other Christian organization.

Why Is This Program for You?

Have you ever wanted to facilitate a Bible study or teach a Sunday school class but felt that your understanding of basic theology, church history and the Bible was inadequte?  Despite feeling a call to some form of Christian service, are you hesitant to respond because you feel inadequately prepared in the "nuts and bolts" of ministry?  Do you sense that you have the spiritual gifts to serve God but lack confidence in how to lead and/or manage religious organizations? Have you put off serving the Lord due to fear, lack of training, or procrastination?  Are you a committed follower of Jesus Christ who feels called to sharpen your ministry skills so that God can use you in even greater ways?

If you find yourself answering "yes" to any of these questions, then the Certificate in Lay Ministry online program is for you! This program will give you a basic overview of Christian history, theology, and the major themes of the Old and New Testaments. You will learn about pastoral care, leadership and other practical topics that will help you equip others to be more active followers of Jesus Christ. You will also learn valuable skills that will enable you to serve in any ministry capacity in which God places you.      

What Our Students Say:

This informative class has enriched my life. My faith is deepened. Though I don't currently hold a position in my church, the class has given me tools that will be useful should I hold any position in the future.
Brenda Beliel, '11

I would recommend this course to any person of faith who wishes to grow in religious and spiritual understanding. The instructors have the academic and pastoral experience to guide your progress in your spiritual formation. Your fellow students will add to your growth as they come to exemplify Christian discipleship. If you are an elder, you and your church will benefit from your growth, which is nurtured throughout this course. The spiritual formation and growth of our church elders will harvest a crop of dedicated Christian disciples who will celebrate and spread the "GOOD NEWS."
Jim Kauth, '11

Course Format

Each session is divided into four sections that are spread over four weeks during the month the session is offered. Each student is asked to spend approximately two hours each week (eight hours/month total) engaged in the following learning activities:

and taking notes on the lecture/discussions provided on the webstream (up to 60 minutes). There is a corresponding lecture outline that is included with each of the lectures for students to take notes on.

Reflecting on the teaching covered on the webstream and/or on articles, links, questions, etc, provided by the instructor (approximately 20 minutes).

on the discussion board your answer to one of the questions that are given to you to reflect on and then responding to someone else’s posting.  These postings will be made by Wednesday evening of each week and a response to someone else’s posting will be made by Friday evening.  Each posting should be at least two or three paragraphs long.  You will be given at least three questions to choose from (approximately 35 minutes).  The session instructor will be available for comments and questions on-line during the month that the session is being offered.

what you learned from this part of the session. You will post on the discussion board the answer to this question: “The most important thing I learned in this session is…” This “takeaway” question does not need a response by other students (approximately five minutes). 

In addition to these required learning activities, students will be provided with required readings and resources for further study and reflection.


  • $750 (books are extra)
  • $100 non-refundable deposit required to register
  • Scholarships are available!

Payment Plans

  • Pay in full on or before the first day of class (10% discount if paid in full by Aug. 5) or;
  • Pay half on or before the first day of class, and the remaining half on or before Jan. 1, 2014. (A monthly finance charge of 1.5 percent applies.)

Cancellation Policy

  • Three weeks prior to first class - 100% refund (excluding deposit)
  • Less than three weeks prior to first class - loss of half of full tuition (which includes the deposit)
  • After session #5 - loss of full tuition
Course Dates and Topics

Sept. 2 – 27, 2013

Session #1
Biblical Foundations in Ministry 
Topics include biblical and theological foundations for the church and ministry as well as discovering and developing your spiritual gifts.

Instructor: Tim Dolan, Director, Institute for Clergy/Lay Leadership Development

Sept. 30 – Oct. 25, 2013

Session #2
The Biblical Story and Why Narrative Matters 
Topics include an overview of the Old and New Testaments; how the Bible came to be; basic principles of biblical interpretation.

Instructor: Keith Beebe, Ph.D., Professor, Theology Department, Whitworth University

Oct. 28 – Nov. 22, 2013

Session #3
Beliefs: What Christians Believe and Why
Topics include themes in Christian theology and an introduction to Reformed theology.

Instructor: Karen Petersen Finch, Asst. Professor, Theology, Whitworth University

Nov. 25 – Dec. 20, 2013

Session #4
Story: How the Church has Grown and Changed Over the Centuries
Topics include major themes in church history; ministry from an historical perspective.

Instructor: Bruce Gore, Adjunct Professor, Theology, Whitworth University

Jan. 27 – Feb. 21, 2014

Session #6
Biblical Guidance for Spiritual Practices
Topics include models of Christian spirituality; developing healthy spiritual disciplines.

Instructor: Terry McGonigal, Dean of Spiritual Life, Whitworth University

Feb. 24 - Mar. 21, 2014

Session #7
Missional Mentality: Leadership in Church and MarketplaceTopics include adaptive and transformational leadership; discovering leadership styles.

Instructor: Tim Dolan, Director, Institute for Clergy/Lay Leadership Development

March 24 – April 18, 2014

Session #8
Facilitating Small Groups
Topics include basic principles on how to facilitate small groups and how to use the Bible in small groups. 

Instructor: Ron Pyle, Professor, Communication Studies, Whitworth University

April 21 - May 16, 2014

Session #9
Preaching the Bible 
Topics include effective ways to teach and preach the Bible in church and Sunday School.

Instructor: Ron Pyle, Professor, Communication Studies, Whitworth University

May 19 - June 13, 2014

Session #10
Pastoral Care and Ministry
Topics include grief and crisis care; home and hospital visitation.

Instructor: Sheryl Kinder Pyle, Transitional Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of the Inland Northwest

Hardware, Software & Internet Requirements

Minimum Hardware:
You are required to have a computer capable of running the software listed below as well as the following:

  • 20 or more gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard drive for your coursework after all required and personal software has been installed
  • At the very minimum two gigabytes (GB) of RAM (more is recommended)
  • Sound capabilities: Sound card and speakers or headset
  • DVD drive
  • Administrative access to the computer
  • An installed Internet/network connection device with broadband capabilities

Minimum Software:

  • Operating System: Windows XP SP3 (Home or Pro), Vista (32 bit or 64 bit), Windows 7 or Windows 8 with all updates; Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with all updates; LinuxOS with the latest Windows or MacOS emulator installed which would allow you to run the programs or the equivalent of the programs listed below:
    • All OS security and critical updates must be installed and up to date.
    • Microsoft Office
    • PC: Microsoft Office 2007 Suite including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint or higher
    • Mac: Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint or higher
    • All Office security and critical updates installed and up to date
  • A current and updated antivirus software (See Whitworth's website for approved software.)
  • A current and updated malware/spyware removal program
  • RealPlayer, current version (free download)
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 11 or higher (free download)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader, current version (free download)
  • Adobe Flash, current version (free download)
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Sun Systems JAVA Plugin, current version (free download)
  • A zipping/unzipping program to email or download large files
  • Other software per your instructor and course requirements


  • You will be expected to have a reliable high-speed/broadband Internet service provider (ISP). If you use AOL or an ISP with its own browser, you should have an alternate browser installed on your computer.
      • For Windows OS: Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 8 or higher
      • For Mac OS: Safari 2 or higher, although Safari users may find they face some limitations in Blackboard.
      • Mozilla Firefox 3.6 or higher (This is the most highly recommended browser for Blackboard.)
      • Google Chrome Browser, although Chrome users may find they face some limitations in Blackboard due to rapid release changes.
      • Javascript and cookies must be enabled, and pop-up blockers must be disabled for Blackboard, Whitworth e-mail, and WhitNet on all browsers and in all toolbars. You may need to enable Active X controls for the above websites.

Whitworth University provides all current students with a Whitworth e-mail address and a Blackboard account. Students are required to check their Whitworth e-mail accounts; all Whitworth communication is through the Whitworth e-mail address. For assistance related to your specific equipment, contact Judy Dehle at 509.777.4387, or e-mail jdehle@whitworth.edu.

Registration: Registration for Fall, 2014 will be open in May

For further information about the Certificate in Lay Ministry (online) course, contact Michelle Pace at mpace@whitworth.edu or 509.777.3275.



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