A Specialized Ministry Program of CLC

Foundations of Children's Ministry

ENROLLMENT OPEN for the March 14 - May 14 cohort
This 8 session course draws from the Bible, history, and psychology to help you lay a good foundation for ministry with children. The emphasis is on relationships and encouraging the church to welcome all children as valued participants in the people of God.

Meet your Facilitator

Hi! I'm Shelley Henning, Co-Founder and CEO at GrowFamily and works at Children's Ministry Catalyst at Reformed Church in America (RCA). See you in the course!


Cost: $480 (3 credit hours).
Scholarship and discounts are available.
Contact us for information

“Many congregations assume that they hire a children’s minister to lead programs. This assumption, however, will in time doom the children’s ministry to failure.” Christian education is not merely imparting information. Learning is the evidence of education, marked by “how children respond, the questions, they ask, the attitudes they demonstrate in actual behavior, and the way they use Scripture to inform their lives and decisions.” (May, Children Matter) 

The reality is this: teaching and nurturing children's faith formation is one of the church’s most challenging and most important ministries. Children are a vital part of the church today. 

This challenge is not because of background checks and policy enforcement (although these do make the role more difficult!). A children’s ministry must consider crucial foundational elements such as language, theology, development, history, context, family, faith community, story, curriculum, and worship – just to name a few! 

In order to give wise direction to the children and families you serve, it is essential for you to understand and effectively express children’s spirituality. This course draws from the Bible, history, and psychology to help you lay a good foundation for ministry with children. The emphasis is on relationships and encouraging the church to welcome all children as valued participants in the people of God. 

Scottie May, Beth Posterski, Catherine Stonehouse, and Linda Cannell have provided one of the finest summaries of foundationally solid children’s ministry with their book Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community (Eerdmans, 2005). This will be our primary textbook. 

Enjoy this journey, and become a more fully prepared leader of God’s children through the process! 



This course is built around eight live online sessions of communal learning engagement between a facilitator and a student cohort. Students are expected to attend each session, coming prepared for discussions and interactions by having read the assigned materials and having completed all assigned papers or ministry activities. 

Because each of you has a complicated and busy schedule, the course will be developed in a guided reading/teaching-conversation/response format. This means that each of you will have to read the assigned chapters, take notes (guide pages are provided as guidance), and develop your own perspectives, before having an in-depth teaching and conversation session with your facilitator and members of your cohort about these matters, and writing guided response papers to show that you understand and are able to articulate the key ideas. 

Online sessions are guided by facilitators based on reading, assignments, papers, and student guide pages. In applicable courses, quizzes are mainly based on contents directed by the student guide. In order to process credentialing requirements for those seeking appointment within their denominational or adjudicatory networks, facilitators and students need to provide CLC with clear documentation affirming completion of assignments and/or the achievement of approved learning goals. 

Equipping the person in the pew.

At Church Leadership Center, our mission is to equip leaders to build up the body of Christ and bring many to faith in the mission of Jesus.

Bringing many to faith not only means those outside the church who have not yet heard the gospel, but, just as importantly, those precious souls God has entrusted us to raise in the church. The little ones sitting right at your feet are too important not to pour into. A 2016 study by the Barna Group revealed a shocking future for the church:

"Nearly six in ten (59%) young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away, mirroring a larger cultural trend away from churchgoing in America. When asked what has helped their faith grow, “church” does not make even the top 10 factors."

The time is now. Training our children to know and love Jesus and teaching them to share that with the world must be one of our top priorities. Is your church doing everything it possibly can for your children, and the future of the church?

This drives CLC to a new facet of leadership training. We're proud to be laying the groundwork for Children's Ministry Certification.  In under one year, leaders serving in children’s ministry can receive training that will help them to bring their ministry to children to a whole new level, all while growing in their own leadership ability.