The last 50 years have seen sweeping changes in technology, international travel, communication, and culture that have profoundly impacted how American Christians and their local congregations and parishes engage in God’s mission. In the decades leading up to the 1960s, denominational and mission agency executives conceptualized mission, assessed and prioritized needs, and made most of the decisions in the allocation of personnel and funds, which represented the primary participation in God’s mission of millions of U.S. Christians.
Today, nearly two million American Christians annually engage in short-term mission trips and the vast majority of mission decisions are made by congregational mission leaders—mission pastors and directors, mission committee chairs and members, youth pastors and leaders, women’s organization leaders, volunteers, and all those who work to engage a local congregation in God’s mission, both local and global.
The Certificate in Missional Leadership is offered through the Seminary's World Mission Initiative as a hybrid program (primarily online, but with two required on-campus elements). Students receive broad preparation in mission theology, intercultural communication and conflict resolution, short-term mission trip leadership and are therefore equipped for leadership in both global and local contexts.
Who is a congregational mission leader? A member of a congregation’s mission committee, a leader on the board of deacons, a youth or women’s group leader, a mission pastor or mission director—anyone who seeks to be better equipped for the task of leading their congregation more deeply into the mission of God in their neighborhood or around the globe.
To respond to the urgent needs of congregations and institutions seeking missional engagement, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary offers a 16-month graduate Certificate in Missional Leadership beginning January 2023. This flexible certificate program easily fits students’ busy schedules and combines online instruction, mentoring, and an in-person intensive to effectively equip mission leaders. Students will take one class per semester and be able to participate in a 10-day intercultural trip.
Generous need-based and merit aid are available for those who qualify.
Missional Leadership certificate grads may elect to later complete the Seminary’s Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree program.
Students interested in this certificate program must complete Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s standard application for admission process.
The Graduate Certificate in Missional Leadership provides congregational mission leaders—the lay and clergy responsible for leading their congregations in local and global mission—with the tools, best practices, and space for prayerful reflection they need to reshape their people’s participation in the mission of God.