Certificate Program

The Yale Youth Ministry Institute is pleased to offer the Yale Divinity School Certificate in Youth Ministry Leadership.

Youth ministry practitioners will gather for education and networking in a cohort-based model for learning. Together, the group will read important literature, hear from the nation’s leading scholars and talk together about three key topics:  

  1. Leadership Theory in Church Organizations (10 weeks)

Topics to cover: self-differentiation as a leader; maneuvering through church organizations; innovation in youth ministry

Yale Divinity School is a leading voice in the field of ministerial scholarship, and its faculty bring a wealth of knowledge and research to the conversation of church leadership. Participants will develop an understanding that their leadership is part of an interconnected organization. This emotional interconnectedness creates unique dynamics and challenges for leaders. This trimester will equip participants with common language, rooted in scholarship, and with strategies for how to lead in the midst of such systems.

  1. Theological and Spiritual Care for Youth (8 weeks)

Topics to cover: pastoral care and theology; mental health; trauma work; theologically-informed spiritual practices; interpreting the Bible with youth

This trimester will focus on how to do the work of caring for young people, and for making programmatic decisions for their youth with this end in mind. Research shows that mental health is a primary concern for youth workers. The goal is that, at the end of this section, youth workers will have eyes to see and ears to hear common mental health struggles that youth face and will create possible responses rooted in ancient Christian spiritual traditions and practices.

  1. Empowerment, Liberation, and Justice Work with Youth (8 weeks)

Topics to cover: deep listening of and with youth; helping youth lead; missiology; empowerment; anti-racism and intersectionality; justice and peace-making

Young people are passionate and care deeply about the world around them and have a strong desire to improve upon what they see. God is equally passionate and invested in such work and wishes for us to be partners in the ongoing efforts of change and hope. This trimester will focus on listening to youth and empowering them in the work of justice, at all its intersections.

Program Takeaways:

  • Think critically and theologically about youth ministry
  • Design ministry programs that support youth in their faith development
  • Obtain practical, real-world training for working with adolescents
  • Network with fellow youth leaders and engage in peer-to-peer learning
  • Develop sustainable, centered leadership skills


This program is entirely online and includes both synchronous and asynchronous components. It consists of pre-recorded lectures and one live Zoom discussion per week. There will be an optional on-campus gathering at the end of the course. There will be assigned readings, weekly online contributions and assignments at the end of each trimester.

The program is designed with youth pastors, committed volunteers, part-time workers, and laypeople in mind. The ideal applicant for this degree program would:

  • Have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Be actively involved in youth work in a local faith community
  • Willingly enter into a covenant to complete the assigned work (requiring a certain level of flexibility in one’s schedule)
  • Possess a degree of digital literacy (classes will be virtual, and assignments will be submitted online)

Application Requirements:

  • A statement that describes the applicant’s interest in the program
  • A letter of endorsement by a representative of their faith community

Applications for the program will open February 15, 2024 and will close May 15, 2024. Program begins September 2024.


$1,200 ($600 due by August 1, 2024, $600 due by January 1, 2025)

The application processed is now closed for the Fall 2024 cohort. If you’d like information about future cohorts, please contact Jill Olds, Director of the Yale Youth Ministry Institute here.


Center for Continuing Education