Coronavirus Updates & Resources >

The Certificate in Lay Counseling equips Christians to engage in pastoral care & counseling.

Students should be committed Christians pursuing or exploring Christian ministry. The six courses in this certificate are intended to foster a thoughtful, loving, Christ-centered approach to your ministry context.

Is Your Goal Licensed Clinical Counseling?

While this certificate is not specifically designed to prepare you for a professional career in clinical counseling, CO-Specific courses may be applied to a Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO or MACC), but counseling programs have specific admissions requirements. Please reach out to our admissions team if your goal is to be prepared as a licensed clinical counselor.

This certificate program is ideal for:

  • Pastors
  • Church Ministry Staff
  • Lay Counselors
  • Small Group Leaders
  • Campus Ministry Staff
  • Missionaries


Six courses (18 credits): 5 Required + 1 Elective

Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

Introduction to Pastoral Counseling (PC511) is designed to equip individuals in a variety of ministry and church settings to offer effective, short-term counseling and basic care from an integrative, pastoral perspective.

Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

Health Relationships in Ministry (PC513) provides an introduction to pastoral self-awareness, relationship awareness and understanding relational health for the purpose of cultivating personal and professional relationships for ministry effectiveness and personal and corporate spiritual development.

Helping Relationships

Helping Relationships (CO540) covers the theological ground for helping relationships, counseling theories and application for helping relationships, including skills in listening, attending, and empathy needed in consultation and bringing about change.

Family Systems Theory

Family Systems Theory (CO614) reviews major theories of family systems development and emphasizes a critical analysis of these theories from an orthodox Christian perspective.

Multicultural Diversity in Counseling

Multicultural Diversity in Counseling (CO712) provides a foundation for engaging issues of race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status within a counseling context.

Counseling Electives (Select One)

Lifespan Development (CO610)
Crisis & Trauma Counseling (CO625)
Suicide Prevention for Professional Caregivers (CO671)
Group Counseling (CO718)
Counseling Adolescents (CO725)
Counseling for Crisis & Addictions (CO750)

Available this Spring

Course List Coming Soon…

Further Study

The Certificate in Lay Counseling provides a foundation for further study through Gordon-Conwell. These six courses fulfill just over one-third of the 16 classes (48 hours) required for the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM). You may wish to consider combining the Certificate in Christian Studies with the Certificate in Lay Counseling to build toward the MACM:

In the same way, certificates can be applied toward the MATS (60 credits) or the MDIV (90 credits). Graduate certificates allow you to start small and work toward a full MA.


* All students can expect to receive some form of financial assistance. Most students qualify for the scholarship listed here. Reach out to our admissions team (using the form below) to see if you qualify for this or any other scholarships or financial assistance.

** The estimated total price is based on current tuition rates. Please note that rates and fees are subject to change.


Note: Service fees will be charged as follows for each semester/summer session in which a student registers for courses, regardless of student status or credit hours or registration type.

Fall/Spring $175 per semester
Summer I, II, III $100 per session
Technology Fee $40 per semester/session

Apply Today

Apply by December 15th
for Spring Courses

More Application Deadlines »

The Application should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Application Process

(We have simplified our application to get you started quickly with a graduate certificate.)

1. Supply basic personal information

Provide Undergraduate Credentials (GPA & Transcript)

A bachelor’s degree is required* for admission into both a graduate certificate and master’s degree program. You will be asked to self report your undergraduate GPA. You will be accepted provisionally pending receipt of an official transcript, which must be received before completing your first full course. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required for admission. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will also be asked to supply a personal reference.

2. Provide a Statement of Intent

You will be asked to provide a brief statement (approximately 250 words) why you desire to complete a certificate and how your studies will benefit your present or future ministry.

3. Affirm Our Community Life Statement

In order to operate as a community, all faculty, staff, and students are required to affirm and abide by our community life statement. You will be asked to assent to our statement as part of your application.

Request Information

Have Questions?

Someone from our friendly admissions team would be happy to reach out to you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.