The courses in this section may be contextualized to meet the needs of specific learners for achieving competency. There are no “one size fits all” courses in the non-formal education category, although many courses will be similar from participant to participant depending upon participant needs and course content.

Courses are to be taught with a normative and applied understanding of a subject area as it is experienced in church ministry settings. It is understood that course descriptions are not fully understood apart from the context of the teaching-learning situation in which they occur. Descriptions are viewed as statements of intentionality for the achievement of competencies within an identified context. Core courses include the following: Discipleship, Bible Survey, Theology, Church History, Denominational Standards, Polity, and Liturgy, Preaching, Worship and Music, Church Ministry, and Pastoral Care.

Seminary and college course work is recommended and viewed as the normal and recommended for ministry preparation. Transcripts for courses (residence or online) are accepted as evidence of competency. Ministry leaders should see themselves as lifelong learners and actively participate in learning opportunities that are available through residence and online courses, seminars, and library resources.


The courses that are listed below are representative.

Non-Formal Education Course Descriptions

Biblical Literature I – Old Testament

The Bible is the foundational document for all of Christian theology. It offers a worldview through which to understand life and values and humankind and God. It presents God’s creative and redemptive acts on earth. It documents the history and religious perspectives of Israel, and shows how these provided a context into which Jesus, the…


Church Government and Ecclesiology

A study of basic models of church government that have developed over the course of church history and biblical principles of church government. The course will also explore the role and function of the church in New Testament redemptive history, the nature, structure, leadership and marks of the church, the relationship between church and state,…


Church History

The participant will review Church History using an approved syllabus and related textbook with the guidance of a facilitator. He or she writes an eight page paper or develops eight pages of notes about major doctrines, themes, and individuals as described in Introduction to the History of Christianity (Dowley), one page for each of the…


Church Leadership and Ministry

The nature of biblical leadership, theories of leadership, and styles of leadership are explored. Principles are analyzed and applied to church leadership situations. Issues of leadership style and organizational theory are examined and applied. Leadership styles, strategic planning, setting goals, establishing time lines for planning, budgeting, directing programs, and evaluating results are included. Participation includes…



A 10-15 page credo (or “I believe statement) is to be written using program guidelines and integrating main headings in theology with the individual’s statements of faith and commitment. The credo is also to reflect an understanding of the nature and administration of the sacraments. The document is written toward the end of the training…


Creeds, Confessions, and Denominational Beliefs

A study of creeds, confessions, and faith statements that are particular to the candidates church, denomination, or fellowship group. Historic as well as contemporary documents are reviewed with application to the candidate’s ministry context. Candidates also participate in a guided study of whatever book of church order or government relates to their denomination or group.…


Disciple-Making and Multiplication

As disciple-making and multiplication are at the heart of the gospel, this course helps the planter craft a strategy and process to weave disciple-making and multiplication into the very fabric of the church plant.

How to Parent a New Church

This course is intended for parent church pastors and leaders who may be exploring a church-planting or multiplication project. It is designed to help the potential parent church be effective in its role of parenting a new church.

Introduction to Biblical Literature II – New Testament

The Bible is the foundational document for all of Christian theology. It offers a worldview through which to understand life and values and humankind and God. It presents God’s creative and redemptive acts on earth. It documents the history and religious perspectives of Israel, and shows how these provided a context into which Jesus, the…


Ministry Experience for Church Planting

This course is intended for those who may be exploring a path of church planting or multiplication and want hands-on experience in church planting practice and function.  Each person is connected to a church plant for specific experience, mentoring and learning.

Missional Engagement

This course will demonstrate how to approach one’s surrounding context with the same love and attitude that was manifest in Jesus. Candidates will deepen their commitment and ability to bring about God’s redemption in the world by working to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, meet physical needs, as well as working for reconciliation…


Missional Engagement and Vision

This course helps church planters identify and understand the people group they are called to reach and engage, while helping them develop a strategy to cast a vision for reaching that group. Each participant is challenged to lead into this vision with bold faith and values that reflect both the heart of the gospel and of the planter.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Basic skills for providing pastoral care and referral are taught. Application is made to premarital, family, crisis, grief, and substance abuse counseling with emphasis on developing psychologically-grounded strategies and applying scriptural principles. Participation includes experiential involvement in an assigned ministry area.

Work load: 5 CEUs (50 hours)

Time frame: 4 months

Psychological Profile and Assessment

The Profile and Assessment involve administration of a multiple page history that encompasses everything from family-of-origin information to medical history — both family and personal. Also presented is the individual’s own appraisal of what will be easiest to most difficult for them in ministry. The typical assessment instruments are the MMPI-2 with special target area…


Relational Evangelism

This course helps the church planter and core team members be trained in the essentials of evangelism.  It provides tools for communicating the gospel, which are easy to understand and apply.  Participants also learn how to utilize networks of friendship and community to communicate the gospel.

Resourcing the Church Plant

This ten week course (5 sessions for two hours each) offers an environment of learning from one another and how-to approaches for resourcing additional funds for the church plant.  At the same time the course will address practical ideas for doing more with less in the church plant.  How do I approach donors and people…


Resourcing the Church Plant

This course helps the planter raise resources for the church plant and also structure the plant for doing more with less. The biblical foundations for raising resources are identified, and practical assignments are given to lead the planter to begin to resource their plant.

Sacraments and Liturgy

A theological and functional study of the sacraments and liturgy of the Reformed Church in America. Participants demonstrate understanding and skill for the administration of the sacraments, and an understanding and application of liturgy that is theologically Reformed and contextually relevant. This includes showing knowledge of distinctive elements of the Reformed theological tradition regarding theology and administration of…


Spiritual Formation

The course invites participants into formational experiences that equip them to express their faith in and through the practice of ministry. Individuals take part in intentional processes of discernment of their vocation and commitment to spiritual formation as a lifelong pattern for ministry. The course helps create a spiritual climate that will foster growth through…


Team Building and Systems

Understanding and raising the giftedness of the people and putting into place systems and processes that prepare the church plant for ministry effectiveness are just some of the essentials of this course.

Theology 1 and 2

Theology is the study of the nature of God and of religious things. The course provides an overview of the topics of theology, Reformed theology, Scripture, God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, humankind: sin, salvation, and service; the church, last, things, and several points of distinctive emphasis. References to creeds and confessions are made. The…