After more than a year of planning, The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta, launched its Youth Ministry Certificate Program. Impetus for the program came from Classis Alberta North (a regional group of Christian Reformed churches), through its youth ministry consultant Ron deVries, who consulted with youth pastors from Edmonton and Lacombe.
The program was created in collaboration with Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, where a similar program began a couple of years ago. “Youth workers are looking for ways to be fed and nurtured in ministry,” explained deVries, “but those within the CRC looking for education and training in youth ministry, especially with a Reformed emphasis, had difficulty finding it.”
Now Canadians can find such education and training in both eastern and western Canada.
The Youth Ministry Certificate Program, which consists of eight three-credit hour university courses, is geared to both paid workers and volunteers in youth ministry. Required courses focus on spiritual formation, the foundations of discipleship, and leadership in ministry; many can be taken from designated university courses in theology, psychology, sociology, and education.
Four of the program’s required courses will be offered only as summer week-long intensive sessions. The first, taught by Syd Hielema, youth ministry program coordinator at Redeemer, was offered at King’s in July.
A part-time student could complete the Youth Ministry Certificate Program over three years.
Individuals may also take a stand-alone course simply as a refresher or for additional equipping. Elementary school teacher Barbara Barthel of New Life CRC in Red Deer participated in Hielema’s Foundations of Discipleship course.
“To be discipled under Dr. Syd Hielema was amazing!” she said. “I learned so much about ‘extraordinary respect’ and living out ‘grace and truth’ and will be able to apply it in my role as parent, educator, and member of the CRC for a long time to come.”
Curtis Meliefste, a young youth ministry intern at Inglewood CRC, remarked that it was the best course he had ever taken.
“The enrolment we had this year is lower than we would have wanted,” said deVries, who himself took Hielema’s course, “but the interest was high. We started too late in advertising the course; I hope next year and the years to follow will generate more interest.”