Certificate in Church Ministry (Through SWAUonline)

The SWAUonline Program and the Department of Religion offers a Certificate in Church Ministry to prepare better lay leaders for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is a unique church ministry program which combines basic theological education with church history and applied ministerial methods and practices. The curriculum of the certificate consists of courses totaling 15 semester hours of college credit. These credits may be transferred to any other accredited college or university and may be applied toward a degree at Southwestern Adventist University. The curriculum is also designed to help church lay leaders increase their knowledge and skills and be better equipped to work in various positions of lay leadership.

The Certificate in Church Ministry does not prepare candidates for full-time employment in pastoral ministry nor does it constitute an alternative theology degree. Anyone choosing full-time ministry as a goal for life must enroll in a four-year BA Theology program. Although the program will be entirely offered on-line, a number of  courses can also be taken as traditional classes on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University in the current semester format. The courses in the certificate program are offered in either English or Spanish. The Spanish version, however, is only available on-line.


The Certificate in Church Ministry is open to persons age 25 or older who have served in positions of lay leadership and are officially endorsed by their local congregations or conferences. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Previous college work is not required, but recommended.  Applicants must:

  1. Complete an application for admission into the certificate program
  2. Send a non-refundable $25 application fee
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation from a local church pastor, a local church elder, and a third local church leader which officially endorse the applicant
  4. Write a letter of intent stating why the applicant would like to take the college-level certificate in church ministry
  5. Send a current professional resume

Time Limitations

Candidates for this certificate must complete all requirements within a five-year period.

Certificate Completion

Certificates will be awarded to students who complete all course requirements and maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average. Candidates must submit a Certificate Completion contract to the Records Office. A $25 certificate fee is required at the time the certificate is completed.

Cost of the Certificate

Each course will cost $400 per course.  The Certificate in Church Ministry is an accredited program. Local churches and conferences may provide students with scholarships for this certificate. There are no scholarships available from the University. All charges must be covered at the time of registration.

Academic Support Services

Students taking the certificate program will have access to important academic support services including library and learning resources, information on SWAUonline technology, and the writing center.

Student Support Services

The SWAUonline office will provide certificate students with a full range of student services appropriate to support the program, including admissions, academic advising, registration, course materials, certificate audits, and graduation assistance.

Total credits:





Curriculum Guide