Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry

Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry Program Overview
Listen to faculty, staff, and students as they share a vision of the good work happening in the Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Is the time is right for you to join them?

Accompanied by a cohort learning community and coached by experienced creative leaders, students in the Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry learn from both academics and practitioners. Through five hybrid courses, concurrent work in their communities, a coaching relationship, and an integrative capstone project, students complete 12 semester hours of coursework for this certificate.

About the Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry

The Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry is a hybrid program combining in-person intensive courses and locally based practice, which allows students from across the country to participate in the 15-month program while remaining in their communities rather than moving to Pittsburgh. As an accredited graduate certificate, the program is open to students who have completed bachelor’s degrees, as well as seminary graduates who desire more specialized training.

This Certificate forms innovating leaders who listen to the Holy Spirit and to their communities, who convene and lead teams in discerning God’s work, and who maintain individual and community practices to enable discernment in their own and their community’s life across significant change.

Applications are now being accepted.

Please note: the Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry was previously known as the Graduate Certificate in Church Planting and Revitalization.

The shape of the certificate course schedule follows the learning arc AIM uses in all its work.

AIM Arc of Learning

The AIM Arc of Learning underpins the learning experience of all AIM programs.


Certificate Order of Classes

This arc reflects the way the courses in the certificate program map onto our arc of learning and draw out the themes that inform each part of the cycle.


Listening and Leading

2023-2024 Cohort: June 28- July 1, 2023 (Pittsburgh)

Listening is the first step to leadership—listen for God, listen to others, listen to yourself. While we know that is true, sometimes knowing how to listen feels abstract and hard to practice. Because we believe that God calls, gifts, and sends us into God’s world, Listening and Leading introduces students to practices of personal and communal listening and discernment. The course explores questions of vocation, discernment, and spiritual practices in a holistic way.

Mission-Shaped Church

2023-2024 Cohort: Sept. 20-23, 2023 (Pittsburgh)

We are shaped by what we hear. If listening is the first step, we start to really learn when what we listen to gets hard to hear. Perhaps it is blunt feedback from our local community, or the fact that no one came to the annual bake sale this year. Even harder to hear, perhaps it is the truth about the violence in the history of the Church we love. Mission-Shaped Church invites us to hear the hard truths, sit with experiences and opinions different than ours, and learn to confess and repent for the pain in which we have participated. We believe this process is the only way to make space for the joy of re-visioning a life of faith where grace is practiced and possible. If we were made for that joy, how should our life together be shaped for that work?

Cultivating Christian Community

2023-2024 Cohort: Jan. 24-27, 2024 (San Francisco)

The work of the Spirit gathers people into one body, creating fellowship where it did not exist and renewing existing communities. If we are a renewed and renewing community, our practices should form who we are becoming. This course will explore participation in a neighborhood context, develop communal spiritual practices, and collaborate to form a shared culture in your faith community.

Missional Leadership

2023-2024 Cohort: April 10-13, 2024 (Chicago)

How do our communities and our God-given vocation shape leadership practice and formation? Drawing upon theories of vocation, adaptive leadership, and the practice of agile leaders over time, this course will develop a spirituality for and a vision of a faithful and fitting leadership identity in the midst of change.

Capstone Project and Coaching

2023-2024 Cohort: Sept. 17-19, 2024 (Pittsburgh)

The Capstone Project invites students to tackle a big question of their choosing. With attentiveness to how God has guided the formation of students in the program and through conversation with their coach, each student will design and implement a particular project unique to their context which integrates the different elements learned through the program. The final project will include a synthesis of learning designed by the student that will be useful in context and presented to the cohort at the last in-person gathering.

  • 12 Semester Hours
  • 1.25Years
  • 5Courses


  • Monthly Coaching
  • Presentation of Capstone Project


For non-degree students, the admissions process for this graduate certificate follows normal admissions procedures, with the applicant’s personal statement taking the form of a brief essay describing the applicant’s current ministry or community context and articulating the applicant’s sense of call to newly gather or support a faith community through adaptation. Please e-mail application requirements or application-related questions to .


The total cost of the AIM certificate program is $5,640, including tuition and fees. This covers meals and a shared room for each in person gathering. Aware of the economic realities of many innovative ministry settings, and to further Pittsburgh Seminary’s mission to equip leaders in this particular area of study, aid awards are available for the 2023-2024 cohort.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PITTSBURGH SEMINARY’S graduate certificate in adaptive and innovative ministry

The Graduate Certificate in Adaptive and Innovative Ministry forms creative leaders who listen to the Holy Spirit through and with their communities. These leaders are equipped to convene and lead teams to discern God’s work, maintain individual and community practices that renew their souls, and through that work, empower deeper discernment in their community’s life and calling.

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