Certificate Program Components
The curriculum of the certificate program includes face-to-face events, online courses and discussions, reading, and a program of mentoring. See below for a brief description of the various components of the program.
The Certificate Retreat
The program begins with the Certificate Retreat, which normally precedes the spring Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry in Princeton, NJ. Participants attend the retreat and then remain for the Forum immediately following. (In 2011, due to the late date of Easter, the retreat will follow the Forum.)
The retreat seeks to offer a whole-person approach to initiation into the certificate program. The retreat will introduce participants to a practical theological approach to youth ministry and nurture the peer-to-peer relationships necessary for developing a cohesive cohort that will support participants through the program.
Princeton Forums on Youth Ministry
Participants must fully participate in three Forums. The Princeton Forums on Youth Ministry offer theological education for people in ministry with youth. The Forum provides the opportunity to learn from prominent scholars, experienced youth pastors, and peers. Worship, lectures, extended seminars, lectures, free time, and shared meals are all part of the Forum experience. Certificate cohorts can gather at each Forum. One extended seminar per forum will be designed for certificate participants.
Research demonstrates that vocational friendships among youth leaders decreases a youth leader’s sense of isolation and can lead to more vital, long-term ministry. The certificate in youth and theology program develops vocational friendships and facilitates peer learning. The program groups participants into cohorts for an initial retreat and forum, makes continued peer group learning possible with online discussions, and offers courses at Forums open only to Certificate participants.
We have received a grant from the Lilly Endowment for the Connections Project that provides support for the development of these cohort groups. The Connections project coordinator will be present at the initial retreats and forums and will monitor the groups, providing ideas and assessment for the cohort group development.
The certificate program includes a 12-month practicum with a local mentor. IYM staff work with participants to select an appropriate mentor as well as provide guidelines and instruction. A minimum of 9 meetings with your mentor is required within the 12 months.
The Connections Project will provide support for establishing the mentoring component for the first 4 years of the new certificate program.
Ministry 360 Assessment
The Ministry 360 is a professional assessment tool that provides valuable perspective. It surveys 7 to 11 people including supervisors, peers, and participants in your ministry whose input and point of view are important for your work. This information is summarized in a formal report and provided to you and your mentor as you discuss your strengths and weaknesses in ministry. The Ministry 360 helps you deepen your perspective as a ministry leader and identify ways that you can grow and become more effective.
Certificate participants will design and implement a project, related to their ministry, with the guidance of their mentor. The project may involve creating a new program, revitalizing an established practice, exploring vocational interests, and more. Projects may be informed by insights gained in the Ministry 360 assessment.
Annual and Final Assessment
Participants will complete an annual progress report in March of each year, based on their stated annual learning goals. A final assessment will be completed at the conclusion of the program. Assessments are conducted with IYM staff and are pass/fail. Assessments focus on determining whether participants have attained specific thresholds of knowledge and ability based on the objectives of the program.
Concluding “Capstone” Retreat
The program concludes with a “capstone retreat” after all other requirements have been met. This retreat will focus on what has been learned in the program and on articulating ones theological vision for youth ministry. The final assessment may take place at the closing retreat.