Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (Online Pastoral Certificate)

Credit Hours

Years (Full-Time)

Time Commitment

Part-Time or Full-Time

In-person or online?

100% Online



Application Deadline

Ongoing Admissions

Program Start

Rolling Start Date

Earn Your Certificate in Pastoral Ministry Online

Lexington Theological Seminary is an ATS-accredited theological school in Lexington, KY.

We offer a 100% online Certificate in Pastoral Ministry program.

The Certificate in Pastoral Ministry is ideal for students who wish to pursue graduate-level theological studies but who may not have had the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Upon program completion, students with a 2.5 GPA or higher may transfer into our Master of Pastoral Studies, Master in Theological Studies, or the Master of Divinity.

Why Choose Lexington Theological Seminary’s Online Certificate in Pastoral Ministry?

Traditional models have historically made accessing higher education difficult for some.

Many individuals have had to abandon their dreams of higher education without the time and financial resources to pursue full-time study on campus.

LTS is different.

Our Certificate in Pastoral Ministry is:

FLEXIBLE: Take classes in person or 100% online. Study part-time or full-time. Pursue your education without disrupting your established career.

AFFORDABLE: $480 per credit hour with 30% and 50% tuition waivers available to who? Interest-free loans are available. Most students graduate with zero debt.

RESPECTED: LTS stands on a foundation of educational excellence, supporting our mission to share the light of Christ as we adapt traditional theological education to the modern world.

What will I learn in the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry program?

Students studying for their Certificate in Pastoral Ministry will gain the knowledge and skills needed to successfully interpret Scripture for the modern world. Students will also become competent in leadership capabilities to provide care, worship, formation, and mission guidance within the church.

Graduates will understand historic and modern movements that influence our contemporary understanding of the Bible.

Theology, models of pastoral care, exploration of the nature of suffering and the influence of hope, and faith formation will be covered over 24 credit hours.

What’s the difference between the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry and your other certificate programs?

LTS offers four certificate programs:

Certificate In Pastoral MinistryCertificate In Continuing Education Certificate In African American MinistryCertificate In Hispanic Studies (Certificado En Ministerios Hispanos)
Prepares students for Biblically-grounded church ministry and leadership. Students graduate fully prepared to serve their church communities with confidence, grace, and competence.

√ Online
√ Credit & Non-Credit Track
√ 2 Years
Prepares pastoral and congregational lay leaders for more effective leadership in the church by studying issues directly impacting ministry today.

√ Online
√ 2 Years
Provides theological, biblical, spiritual, and leadership training for pastoral leaders with a focus on the 21st century African American congregational context.

√ Online & In-Person
√ On-Site Intensives Required
√ 2 Years
Provides theological, Biblical, and ministerial training to individuals in Hispanic and bilingual (Spanish/English) congregations.

√ Online & In-Person
√ On-Site Intensives Required
√ 2 Years

Applicants should please note that the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry is not a degree program. However, students wishing to pursue a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry but who do not have a Bachelor’s degree may have the opportunity to transfer into the program upon meeting specific requirements.

What Can I Do With a Certificate in Pastoral Studies?

This certificate program is ideal for lay people who feel called to ministry but who may not be seeking ordination or a higher degree.

Although this certificate program is not a degree track, some of our students have opted to transfer into our Master’s programs upon program completion.

Some potential career options for graduates of our program include:


  • Associate Pastor
  • Counselor
  • Lay pastor
  • Church administration
  • Missionaries
  • Church and community volunteers
  • Non-profit leadership
  • Preacher


Lexington Theological Seminary is an ATS-accredited online seminary. As a certificate program, the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry does not have or require a specific accreditation.

This program can be completed 100% online. Short-term, on-campus intensives are available for students who wish to fulfill some of their course requirements in person.

The program can be completed as quickly as 18-24 months.

Students can take no longer than 10 years to complete the certificate.

9 hours per course per week. Because the program is online, students may choose when they engage with their coursework.

Non-credit students require a high school diploma to enroll. Credit-track students need one year of study toward a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). There are no separate classes for the certificate students, so students in the certificate program study alongside degree-pursuing students.

Our classes have a maximum of 15 credit-track students.

Yes! Certificate students are welcome to participate in any LTS events, whether online or in person.

Only credit-track students are eligible for financial aid. Students who are under care of their judicatory from all denominations receive a 30% tuition discount. Students from Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ denominations who are under care receive 50% tuition discounts.

LTS offers four certificate programs:

Each program integrates a Biblically-sound curriculum with the practical leadership skills needed to build thriving church communities in the 21st century.

Divinity schools are often associated with larger universities, while seminaries are stand-alone institutions. Bible colleges generally offer associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in mainstream areas of study with a focus on a Biblical worldview. As our name indicates, Lexington Theology Seminary reflects our commitment to sound theological education that prepares students for ministry.

Prospective students can request more information by visiting the link below. We are happy to meet with prospective students via Zoom if desired.

Following application submission, the Admissions Team communicates with the applicant throughout the process. Once candidates have submitted all required information and documentation, they can expect to hear from Admissions within 24-48 hours.

Request Information

Credit-track students must submit the following:

  • A letter of recommendation from a minister, educator, or employer
  • Transcripts from post-secondary education (with a 2.5 GPA or better)
  • A $65 application fee.

Students under the care of their judicatory can apply for a tuition waiver.

Program Curriculum

Interpreting the Scripture for the Church (IS)5.0
Interpreting the Past for the Church (IP)1.5
Interpreting the Faith for the Church (IF)3.0
Interpreting the Behavior of the Church (IB)1.5
Leading the Church Through Care (LC)1.5
Leading the Church Through Worship (LW)2.5
Leading the Church in Formation (LW)1.5
Leading the Church into Mission: Administration (LM)2.5
Leading the Church into Mission (LM)2.5
Free Electives2.5
Total Hours:24

View Course Catelog

On-Campus Intensives                                                                   

The Certificate in Pastoral Ministry can be completed 100% online. Students who wish to complete some of their coursework in person can enroll in our in-person intensives held twice a year.

During an on-campus intensive, a typical 2-month, 2-credit course is covered in 3 days of full-time coursework. Students can select from classes in the categories of Leading Care (Pastoral Care), Leading Worship (Planning Worship/Sermon Preparation), Interpreting Scripture (Biblical Studies), Leading Mission (Mission/Church Governance/Administration), and Interpreting Faith (Theology).

These intensives allow students the opportunity to finish some of their coursework at an accelerated pace. Spending time together on campus also allows students to worship, study, dine, and relax in a community of Christ.*

*Please note that a community luncheon is provided each day of Intensives. Transportation, accommodations, and meals are not included in tuition.

Time to Graduation                                                                                                       

This program can be completed in 18 to 24 months.

Admissions Requirements for the Certificate in Pastoral Studies:

  • Credit Hours: 24
  • Years (Full-Time): 2
  • Time Committment: Part-time or full-time
  • In-person or online?: 100% Online
  • Accreditation: ATS

Prerequisites for the LTS Certificate in Pastoral Studies:


  • a letter of recommendation from a minister, educator, or employer
  • transcripts from post-secondary education (with a 2.5 GPA or better)
  • a $65 application fee.


  • a high school diploma

Application Deadline: Ongoing Admissions
Program Start: Rolling Start Date

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