certificate in

thriving church ministries

Thriving Church Ministries Certificate

Strengthen your Pastoral Leadership and Spiritual Life

Leading a congregation is both profoundly gratifying and seriously challenging. There may be days you feel like you’re living on a spiritual mountaintop, but there are also long weeks, months, or even years that can feel like you are wandering in a valley, alone and isolated. Where do you go when you hit a low point? How can you move from surviving church ministry to thriving?

Connect With Pastors and Learn New Tools

The Thriving Church Ministries Certificate is designed exclusively for pastors who want to thrive in their role. We focus on personal and spiritual development with attention to authenticity, core identity, mentorship and community. When you start this program, you join a community that will walk with you through the low points of life. You’ll start to build a reservoir of resources to draw from in difficult seasons and discover how you can thrive in your ministry.

What to Expect

You will have the opportunity to connect your studies to your current pastoral work by interacting with mentors and peers. We make it as seamless as possible for you to apply your learning immediately to the mission that matters most. Through a broad network of pastors, you will have the opportunity to forge connections with other leaders who struggle with the same issues you face.


Our Thriving Church Ministries program functions in three phases, which we call “modules.” The modules are broken up by season: Fall, Winter and Spring. Each module builds on the last to create a comprehensive curriculum designed to strengthen your leadership and nourish your spiritual life all in the context of a pastoral community. Learn more about each module below.

Cultivate Well-Being
Address the essential components you need to flourish personally and spiritually as an effective pastor. You will learn to create conditions for your well-being through ministry best practices such as fostering healthy relationships, building and sustaining relational bonds, connecting with a mentor, engaging with peer groups and practicing authenticity. Together, we will explore your understanding of your core identity in relation to your calling. We will also address the practical skills necessary for planning, defining problems and solving problems in ministry. Through your interaction in peer groups, you will find ways to translate your cohort work to your ministry setting.

Learn by Experience
In partnership with your mentor, you will have the opportunity to present a ministry project or role responsibility to your peers with the goal to implement an action-reflection process. Drawing from ideas you learned through your cohort presentations, team projects and case studies, you will work with your peers to analyze your subject together. Your attention will be on solving ministry-related problems and building consensus in group decision-making.

Practice Effective Ministry
Learn to address the connection between your well-being and your effectiveness in leadership. You and your peers will have the opportunity to create capacity in your lives by developing a plan of continuing education, networking and spiritual formation. You will also be able to explore your passions, gifts and strengths while learning how to integrate them with your ministry practice.

Learn by Experience
Examine the conditions in your life that affect your ability to thrive. While the Fall Module addresses common ministry issues, you will now address the personal, relational and spiritual issues that help and hinder you in your quest to find meaning and satisfaction in your pastoral calling. We will employ the same action-reflection method we used in the Fall Module to explore how self-reflection in your life and ministry plays a role as you seek a greater sense of well-being.

Develop Your Spiritual Well-Being and Leadership Philosophy
Based on your new understanding of spiritual well-being, you will have the opportunity to further develop your philosophy of leadership. This module covers how to balance character and competency issues that you can know, develop and address in your ministry context. Together, we will also explore healthy congregational structures, administration and stewardship in light of your spiritual well-being.

Discover How You Can Thrive in Ministry


Kellen B

Lead Pastor-Mentor

Thriving in Church Ministries offers a safe, non-judgmental space for sharing and empowering pastors. The relationships and instruction afforded by the program are an unbeatable combination! I highly recommend it.

Korderro B

Lead Pastor and New Church Planter

The Thriving in Church Ministries cohort gave me new breath and life. I experienced sanctuary and comradery while connecting with other pastors who are like-minded, understand my pain and share my passion.

Renee H

Lead Pastor

My experience in the Thriving in Church Ministries cohort changed my life forever! I am humbled and so very grateful to have participated. The most valuable topics to me were self-care, learning how to have a healthy mindset and gleaning from other seasoned pastors.

Stancy A

Associate Pastor

The Thriving in Church Ministries experience gave me new insight into my leadership style. We experienced in-depth discussions that pastors and leaders need to discover how leadership style impacts relationships.

Norflette S

Lead Pastor

The Thriving in Church Ministries program gave me new friendships, fresh insight and encouragement to continue moving forward in the work of ministry.

Request More Information

We’re here to support you as you follow God’s call on your life. When you complete this form, we will personally reach out to discuss our Thriving Church Ministries program. We’re here to support you as you discern which path of ministry at Ashland Theological Seminary is right for you.