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Graduate Certificate In

Lay Counseling

6 Courses (18 Credits)

Available Online or at our Charlotte Campus

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.

Pastoral Counseling

The Certificate in Lay Counseling requires no ministry or seminary prequisites. However, you may elect to receive instead a “Certificate in Pastoral Counseling” by pairing this certificate with either the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM). The certificate and Master’s Degree may be completed in any order.

Clinical Counseling

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

PC 511 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.



Healthy Relationships in Ministry

An introduction to pastoral self-awareness and relationship awareness and understanding relational health for the purpose of cultivating personal and professional relationships for ministry effectiveness and personal and corporate spiritual development.Course description pending.



Helping Relationships

CO 540 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

CO 614 reviews major theories of family systems development and emphasizes a critical analysis of these theories from an orthodox Christian perspective.



Multicultural Diversity in Counseling

CO 712 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)

CO 610 — Lifespan Development
CO 625 — Crisis & Trauma Counseling
CO 671 — Suicide Prevention for Professional Caregivers
CO 718 — Group Counseling
CO 725 — Counseling Adolescents
CO 750 — Counseling for Crisis & Addictions

Further Study

  • MACM 37.5% 37.5%

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.

TUITION RATES (Summer 2020)

The Certificate in Lay Counseling applies a $450 scholarship to every course.


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.

Summer I, II, III $100 (per session)
Fall/Spring $175
Semlink (online courses only) $150 per course

Apply Today

Apply by May 12th for Summer Courses

You still have time! Accepting a limited number of applications. Apply Today.

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.

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