Children’s ministry is more than child care, say the leaders of the PCA’s Discipleship Ministries (CDM). As such, beginning in January 2019, CDM is rolling out a Children’s Ministries Certification course for non-ordained staff and volunteers that will be heavy both in theology and practical training.

The 12-month course combines digital instruction, an online community, and projects that complement the course curriculum.

“In churches across America, there are a lot of similarities in children’s ministry. We’re all recruiting volunteers, thinking about how we’re teaching the children, planning events for families, building community,” says Bethany Belue, CDM’s Children’s Ministry certification administrator and a former children’s ministry director. “But one thing that sets the PCA apart is our view of Covenant theology and how it relates to children.”

It means the children’s ministry is an opportunity to disciple the church’s youngest members. 

Response to the 2016 General Assembly

For about a decade, CDM has received requests from children’s ministry directors asking for training resources in Covenant and Reformed theology. Many leaders of children’s ministries in PCA churches want to know more, Belue explains. 

In response, the 2016 General Assembly tasked CDM with developing a certification program that would provide in-depth theological training and practical instruction for leaders. The result is a 12-month course that launches in January and combines digital instruction, an online community, and projects that complement the course curriculum. Participants will be required to have served in children’s ministry for at least six months. Assignments — such as creating a child-safety protocol — are intended to equip those ministering to children while benefiting the church where they serve. 

“From the big picture to the week-to-week of children’s ministry, the hope would be that at the end of it, they would be better equipped to serve in the children’s ministry of their churches and better equipped for whatever God calls them to next,” Belue says. 

She explains that other goals are to help leaders gain a greater vision for children’s ministry as an extension of the church’s discipleship and be able to infectiously share that perspective with others.

“We want to train leaders to cast a vision for children’s ministry that inspires their churches to see the next generation as the future of our church, our nation, our world, and to understand that we’re called to invest in their hearts. We want to make the most of every opportunity we have with children.”

The application window has closed for the 2019 class, but CDM will begin accepting applications on April 1, 2019, for the 2020 class. The cost is $1,550, including the application fee. 

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