Certificate in Youth and Theology
Retreats – The
program begins with an Opening retreat and closes with a Capstone retreat. The
opening retreat precedes the April Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry and sets
the stage for a practical theological approach to youth ministry. Its
whole-person approach fosters the peer relationships necessary for developing a
cohesive group that will share the certificate experience over the coming
years. Participants attend the opening retreat, and stay for the Forum. The
Capstone retreat is the final gathering of the cohort after all requirements
have been completed. It creates space for reflection and articulation of one’s
theological vision for youth ministry.
Forums – The
Princeton Forums on Youth Ministry include worship, lectures, extended
seminars, free time, and shared meals, all intended to enrich the experience
and growth of participants. Everyone in the certificate program must fully
attend two Forums, which provide the opportunity to learn from prominent
scholars, experienced youth pastors, and peers. For more information on the Forums, click here.
Cohort – Participants complete the Certificate
program with their Cohort, a peer group with whom they develop significant
vocational friendships. These
supportive friendships are one of the highlights of the program. The Cohort gathers for the first time during
the Certificate Retreat and reconvenes during each Forum. They complete the online components of the
program together including Check-Ins, Book Studies, Case Studies, and Online
Every cohort concludes their program with the Capstone Retreat.
– Each participant completes a formal 360 leadership assessment survey
called the Ministry 360. This
comprehensive evaluation provides helpful feedback on 14 leadership
competencies. The Ministry 360 is a part of the mentoring process, and the
Ministry report is provided to both mentor and mentee as a springboard for
discussion and reflection.
Mentoring – Each participant is connected with a personal
mentor with whom he/she meets 9 times over 10 months. Mentoring is a 10-month
component of the program that provides both challenge and support. Mentors are Senior Pastors, professors,
denominational leaders and youth ministry consultants. The mentor is identified in close
conversation with the participant and in light of the participant’s needs,
interests, gifts, and tradition.
Online Learning –
In the first year, participants meet with a small peer group comprised of four
to six cohort members. They meet in the IYM’s online classroom to discuss
readings, analyze case studies, share written reflections, and support one
another in ministry. In the second year, participants complete two online
courses taught by theologians and expert practitioners.
“As someone new to youth ministry, the certificate program
has been priceless - an amazing resource and support system for me. I
have met colleagues who face the same issues and challenges I do in my
ministry, and who have constructive and insightful guidance for me. I firmly believe that participating in the
certificate program is the most important step I've taken for my ministry, and
I am grateful every day for this program and my cohort group.” - Lindsay Clark