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A Certificate in Religious Studies will be awarded to eligible students that complete the required number of credit hours in their chosen track of study and have satisfactorily met the requirement for graduation.


The Christian Ministry track of study is designed to prepare students to lead and serve in the ministry of the local church professionally or as a lay leader. The following requirements must be met to receive a Certificate of Religious Studies in this track.

  • Pass a background check.

  • 8 Core Credit Hours including Old Testament Survey 1 and 2, New Testament Survey, Systematic Theology, Foundations of Biblical Leadership, and Life of Christ.

  • 4 Elective Hours are chosen based on the goals of each student.

  • Participation in Christian Ministry Practicum designed to expose students to ministry in the local church. The Christian Ministry Practicum includes a minimum of eighteen-hours of service.


The Lay Counseling track of study is designed to prepare students to serve as lay counselors within the ministry of the local church. The following requirements must be met in order to receive a Certificate of Religious Studies in this track.

  • Pass a background check.

  • Be interviewed by Lay Counseling Coordinators and be accepted into the program.

  • 8 Core Credit Hours including Introduction to Christian Counseling, Christian Counseling with Specific Populations, Techniques in Counseling, Christian Counseling for Children, Adolescents, Marriage, and Family.

  • 4 Elective Hours are chosen based on the goals of each student.

  • Participation in a minimum of 12 hour Lay Counseling Practicum designed to expose students to ministry in the local church.


Textbooks are determined by the instructor of each course. Students are responsible to purchase their own books. Students will receive a link to purchase textbooks online.


Christian Ministry Practicum

The Christian Ministry Practicum affords students the opportunity to work closely in ministry for an extended period of time. Each practicum is uniquely designed for each student based on their giftedness and calling. Students are required to be engaged in ministry for two consecutive terms in no more than two areas of ministry, for a total of 18 hours of ministry.


Lay Counseling Practicum

The practicum provides students with a beginning practical experience in a lay counseling setting with varied clientele. The student will provide individual, marriage and/or family counseling. Practicum requires a minimum of 15 direct client contact hours, weekly class case presentations, and weekly individual supervision via a licensed counselor approved by the program. During this time students will use the counseling techniques, ethics, and theories learned in previous courses as they shift from student to lay counselor.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Christian Counseling (2 credit hours)

In Introduction to Christian Counseling, students will learn the importance of building empathic counseling relationships modeling overall wellness and a continuous growth in their own personal walk with Christ. In addition, students will gain knowledge of assessment methods, theories, treatment interventions, ethical procedures, and various modalities of counseling. At the conclusion of the course, students will have a solid foundation of the fundamentals of Christian Counseling and be prepared to take the next step toward their specific calling whether it be professional counseling, pastoral counseling, lay counseling ministry or life coaching.


Foundations of Biblical Leadership (2 credit hours)

This course explores the topic of leadership from a biblical and theological perspective. Essential biblical principles bearing on the purpose and character of leadership will be examined. Instances of leadership in the Old and New Testaments will be analyzed within their biblical context and in terms of contemporary understanding of leadership, with a special focus on the leadership of Jesus.


Old Testament Survey (4 credit hours)

Old Testament Survey students will deepen their love for God by developing an understanding of the inspiration of God’s Word and how Jesus fulfilled all of prophecy. Students will also learn to recall key people, events, and dates as well as the main message and historical context for each of the 39 Old Testament books. In addition, each student will be familiar with the names of each Old Testament book in order as well as their authors. They will also have a good understanding of how the 66 books came to be part of the Old Testament canon.


Church Business and Finance (1 credit hour)

Church Business and Finance guides students through the process of developing a business plan for a church including budgeting, staffing, and human resources.


New Testament Survey (2 credit hours)

An introduction to the authorship and contents of the New Testament books. Special attention will be given to important persons, places, events, as well as to key chapters in the New Testament revelation.


Introduction to Sermon Preparation (1 credit hour)

This course is designed to enable the student to prepare and present sermons from a variety of styles. The student will gain experience in explaining, proving and applying a biblical passage and delivering expository sermons.


Systematic Theology (4 credit hours)

This course is designed to give you a concise introduction to the nature, history, and methodology of systematic theology. It should also provide a helpful stimulus in understanding the relationship between the practice of one's faith and the belief context into which that practice fits. The course will focus on the nature of a theological vision, the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the interpretation of those Scriptures and the nature of the God whom we worship.


Life of Christ (1 credit hour)

The purpose of this course is to survey the earthly life and ministry of Jesus as recorded in the four gospels. This will be accomplished by focusing the student’s attention primarily on the narrative flow of the events of Jesus’ ministry, so as to ascertain the basic pattern of development in Jesus’ actions and teachings.


Evangelism (1 credit hour)

A study of the evangelistic imperative and various methods of personal witnessing. Particular emphasis is given to follow-up, discipleship, and memorizing key Bible verses.


Christian Counseling with Specific Populations

This course is designed to help explore through biblical truths the common presenting issues that lay counselors will encounter during lay counseling. These include but are not limited to grief and loss, anxiety, depression, relational conflict, career issues, spiritual direction, stress management, assessing addictions, assisting in trauma recovery, and personal growth and development.


Techniques in Counseling

This course provides education and training in counseling skills used including intake assessment, empathic listening, using Christian spiritual interventions, treatment planning and utilizing community/church resources, and crisis intervention skills.


Christian Counseling for Children, Adolescents, Marriage, and Family

This course exams the developmental and psychological needs of children and the transitions of adolescence. Counseling theories and creative interventions are explored to use with children and adolescent population. In addition, students will learn the importance of the family system and ways to successfully counsel in parental and family sessions. Emphasis on strong Christian marriages, ways to counsel, and intervene in couples counseling will be explored with the training of specific techniques for these populations.