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Program Overview

Program Overview

Train differently. Through this program, we move your primary learning community to where you are. Our active research into the leadership needs of today’s church helps us deliver a unique, specialized curriculum to ensure your academic training integrates well with local church ministries.

This online, competency-based education (CBE) certificates make contexts of ministry the essential classroom. With flexible pacing and ministry mentors accompanying you through the learning, seven available certificates help you grow in specialized ministry practices. This program has integrated learning experiences woven into the ministries of your local church.

You can focus on what matters most to your calling and your community. Each course contains biblical, theological, leadership skills and spiritual formation components, giving you a balanced approach to your theological education.

The program provides excellent professional development for church leaders involved in congregational ministry and is also a great option for anyone wanting to grow pastoral skills for other arenas of Kingdom service. You can benefit from taking just a few classes, completing one or more certificates, or transferring certificate credits into a traditional master's program. The choice is up to you.

Online Competency Based Education Program Outcomes

Students in this program will... 

  • Design their own course load based on desired skills for their ministry
  • Learn through apprenticeship and mentorship with active ministry professional
  • Apply classroom learning to real-world situations in ministry settings

Multiple Certificate Competencies

Students can complete a nine-hour certificate program or transfer credits to a traditional Master’s degree to grow their ministry skills in any multiple areas of study:

Why Complete a Ministry Certificate at Lipscomb?

Lipscomb’s online CBE program provides you with all of the skills and training needed for Christian ministry in today’s world. Complete your certificate at your own pace, applying the courses you take to ministerial needs you seek to address. Local ministries become your classroom, allowing you to apply your learning as an active worker for the Kingdom.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Undergraduate or graduate GPA of at least 2.75
  • Application with $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts emailed to gradadmissions [at] lipscomb.edurel="noopener" target="_blank" or mailed to Graduate Admissions (One University Park Dr., Nashville, TN 37204)
  • Three letters of recommendation: one from a college or university administrator or professor, one from a professional supervisor/employer and one from a church leader or minister
  •  750-1,000-word essay discussing the applicant's religious heritage, career goals and how Hazelip School of Theology might contribute to the achievement of those pursuits
  • Interview with our Director, Dr. Frank Guertin
International Students

International students are required to be proficient in written and oral English before enrolling. A score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of approximately 570 on the paper-based test, or 80 on the iBT, or an IELTS exam with an overall band score of 6.5 is the minimum accepted for admittance. For more information, see International Students admissions policy.

Admissions Policy

Why Earn Your Online Competency-Based Certificate at Lipscomb?

Lipscomb’s online CBE program provides you with all of the skills and training needed for Christian ministry in today’s world. Earn your certificate at your own pace to apply the courses you take to your ministerial needs. Local ministries become your classroom, allowing you to apply your learning as an active worker for the Kingdom.



Deepen your understanding of the Gospel and find your place in the larger story of Scripture. Master how to facilitate discipleship in both individual and group settings, and develop a practical theology for missional leadership.

Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid

Program tuition is currently a $540 fee for a semester of access (fall, spring, or summer)*. Enroll and complete competency courses at your own pace for an exceptional rate for graduate theological studies.

*Note: The graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective each summer semester.

Types of Aid



Flexible Coursework

This program completion is flexible for your schedule and desired course load. Ideal for working and employed students with multiple formats for learning.


Engagement with ministry leaders is built into our courses. Chris Buxton, Joe Roberts, and John Mark Hicks are all faculty on staff to mentor students within the program.

Our Faculty

  • Frank Guertin headshot

    Frank Guertin

    Assistant Dean and Associate Professor

    Frank Guertin is Assistant Dean for the Hazelip School of Theology at Lipscomb University and Assistant Professor of Theology. Guertin completed his bachelor's degree at Ohio Valley University and his...

    Meet Frank Guertin
  • John Mark Hicks headshot

    John Mark Hicks

    Adjunct Faculty

    John Mark Hicks has taught full time in higher education among Churches of Christ since 1982 and is currently Professor of Theology at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. He has...

    Meet John Mark Hicks
  • Randy Willingham headshot

    Randy Willingham

    Adjunct Faculty

    Randy Willingham is the Director for the Hazelip School of Theology's Competency-Based Theological Education. He holds degrees from Oklahoma State University, Harding University, Harding School of Theology, and Abilene Christian University. His 1994 doctoral thesis ...

    Meet Randy Willingham

Career Paths

Congregational Ministry

Become a leader in your local congregation to direct and guide fellow believers utilizing important skills from counseling to theological education.

Campus Ministry

Guide spiritual formation and lead students, faculty and others to create a Christ-like community on campus.

Directors, religious activities and education

Plan, direct, or coordinate programs designed to promote the religious education or activities of a denominational group. May provide counseling and guidance relative to marital, health, financial, and religious problems.