Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Care and Aging

Students may earn a professional graduate certificate in Pastoral Care and Aging by completing 15 required credits.

Courses in Aging (AGE) Hours
6003 Aging: An Interdisciplinary Approach 3
6053 Community and Congregational Resources 3
6603 Elder Mediation 3
6613 Spiritual Formation and Aging 3
6993 TransformAging Capstone Project 3


Program Overview
This certificate addresses an educational need among leaders in the churches and professionals in religious, educational and social work agencies that work with the older adult population.  This program is a great option for professionals serving in ministry roles in churches and other faith-based organizations, as well as to people of faith working in secular fields such as social work and education. In 2010, 53% of those 65 and older reported attending church at least once per week or almost every week (Gallup). Elders, preachers, Bible class teachers and others need a firm knowledge base in how to best serve the majority of their congregations.  In 2011, 13.3% of the American population was over the age of 65, compared to 12% just eight years earlier (U.S. Census Bureau). Christians who work with older adults in secular fields will be better equipped to minister to their patients or clients with this certificate program.
Additionally, Lipscomb’s School of TransformAging and Bible Department are launching a Master of Arts in Christian Practice degree program.  Students will take 15 hours of Bible Core courses in addition to the 15 hours of Pastoral Care curriculum to earn a 30-hour master’s degree.  Contact Frank Guertin at or 615-966-5352 for additional information regarding the Bible component.
Course Descriptions
AGE 6613 - Spiritual Formation in the Aging
The course provides an in-depth look at the relationship between aging and spirituality, centered around Christian spiritual formation. An extensive study of spiritual disciplines will occur as students learn how the aging and aged are conformed to the image of Christ. Explores the physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and psychological dynamics of aging and how churches and service providers play an integral role in fostering successful aging in the U.S.
AGE 6003 – Aging: An Interdisciplinary Approach
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the social, psychological, and physical dimensions of aging.  Students will examine the aging process experienced by the individual and how the aging of the population affects our society as a whole.
AGE 6053 - Community and Congregational Resources
Explores the church’s role as a service provider with and for older adults in relationship with community organizations and agencies. Local and national resource networks of community and faith based programs, services, and benefits supporting older adults will be identified along with ways in which the church can partner with community service organizations for the sake of holistic older adult ministry.
AGE 6603 - Elder Mediation
As people age, individuals and families are faced with many difficult   decisions and often conflict. Mediation can play a critical role in bringing older adults together with their family members, caregivers, healthcare and social service providers to have important conversations. This course prepares participants to practice transformative mediation in a way that responds to the needs of those present and respects each person’s decision-making capacity as they face critical times of transition. Focus will be placed on intergenerational communication theory and techniques. The interactive format will include lecture, discussion, and role- plays.
AGE 6993 – TransformAging Capstone Project 
This course will provide students with the opportunity to integrate knowledge and experience by completing a research project in an applied setting. Students will work with a local organization serving older adults to conduct an interdisciplinary study to enhance the services of that  organization.