Thriving Church Ministries - Ashland Theological Seminary

Thriving Church Ministries Certificate

Strengthen your role in pastoral leadership by integrating personal and spiritual development with your practice of ministry.


NOTE:  2020/21 Cohorts are now CLOSED.  We are currently compiling a list for the 2021/22 program.

We anticipate opening enrollment in May 2021.

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Leading in a church ministry is both deeply rewarding and deeply challenging. There are days you feel like you’re walking on a spiritual mountaintop, but there are also long weeks, maybe months… maybe even years that feel like wandering in a valley, alone and isolated. Where do you go when you hit those lows? Where can you turn to move from surviving church ministry to thriving in church ministry?

Strengthen Your Pastoral Leadership

The Thriving Church Ministries Certificate is designed exclusively for pastoral leaders like you. Our program will help you integrate personal and spiritual development with your work in ministry, paying particular attention to developing skills and practices that enhance both your well-being and effectiveness.

Connect Your Studies to Your Current Pastoral Work

Interaction with mentors and peers will be integrated with your real-life ministry context, allowing you opportunities to apply your learning immediately to the mission that matters most, while connecting you to a broader network of leaders who struggle in ways just like you.

Connect to a community who will walk with you through the valleys. Build a reservoir of resources to weather the difficult seasons. Discover how you can thrive in your ministry.


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(2020/21 Cohorts are now CLOSED) 

Locations Offered:

Ashland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Detroit, Michigan

Program Content


    Cultivating Conditions That Bring Well-Being
    This module will address the major ingredients necessary for personal and spiritual flourishing in effective pastoral ministry. Pastors will learn to create the conditions for their own well-being which includes such things as fostering healthy relationships, building and sustaining relational bonding, mentors, peer groups, and creating authenticity. Pastors will explore their understanding of their core identity in relation to their calling. Focused attention will be given to the practical skills necessary for planning, problem definition, and problem-solving. Interaction and implementation in the cohort will be integrated with the pastor’s work in peer groups.

    Experience-Based Learning
    This learning experience is designed to assist participants to integrate content with practical experience within the context of ministry. An action-reflection method will be employed, under the supervision of a mentor, focused on consultation of a ministry project or responsibilities. Analysis of the project will be built upon the experience gleaned from presentations, team projects, or case studies. Pastors will focus on solving ministry-related problems, building consensus in decision-making, and working within the context of community. experience-based learning is focused on the completion of a group project, forming a critical foundation for the Winter Module of experience-based learning


    Effective Ministry in Practice
    In this module, pastors will address the connection between well-being and effectiveness in leading a congregation. Pastors will create capacity by developing a plan of continuing education, networking, and spiritual formation. Pastors will explore their passions, gifts and strengths while seeking to integrate them with practices within their specific ministries.

    Experience-Based Learning
    This learning experience is built upon the Fall Module and is designed to guide the pastors as they examine conditions within their lives and ministry that affect their ability to thrive. While the Fall Module addresses common issues that pastors have identified with their ministries, experience-based learning during the Winter Module addresses those personal, relational, and spiritual issues that help and hinder them in their quest to find meaning and satisfaction within their pastoral calling. The action-reflection method employed during the Fall Module will be continued with a greater emphasis on the pastor’s ability to employ self-reflection within their lives and ministries, as they seek a greater sense of well-being.


    Spiritual Well-Being and Pastoral Leadership
    This final module is focused upon equipping the pastor to further develop their philosophy of leadership, based upon new understanding of their spiritual well-being. The focus will include how to balance character and competency issues that leaders must know, develop and apply within their context of ministry. It will also consider healthy congregational structures, administration, and stewardship in light of the pastor’s spiritual well-being.


Dig Deeper

Our admissions staff are equipped as guides to listen to your concerns, evaluate your options, and help you decide what program or pathway is right for you.

Contact us today to begin your journey.

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Start Your Journey

To apply to the Certificate in Thriving Church Ministries program, you need to submit:

  • an online application
  • $10 application fee
  • contact us to learn more


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