13 Free Online Pastoral Certificates

There are many available pastoral and ministry training programs online, but the focus of this article is the free programs from reliable schools, seminaries, colleges, and organizations.

Pastors are undoubtedly one of the most important members of the church, pastors also play sensitive roles in the lives of Christians. The role of a spiritual leader or counselor is an important role that needs highly skilled individuals.

A pastor with no training may not be able to fulfill the role of a pastor in the lives of Christians and can easily lead them astray. So pastors should undergo extensive and intensive training to prepare them for the job or leadership.

If you want to enroll in a pastoral training certificate, you should start by learning what a pastoral certificate means.

What is a Pastoral Certificate?

According to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a pastoral certificate is any program created for the purpose of providing supplemental training for ministers in the various areas of pastoral duties.

Sometimes a pastoral certificate is regarded as any program that provided pastoral training to ministers, the training may be basic, intermediate, or advanced.

How long does it take to become a pastor online?

It will take you 9 months to 4 years to become a pastor online, the time it takes depends on the type of program you take. Diploma programs in pastoral studies may take as little as 9 months to complete, while bachelor’s degree programs take up to 4 years.

How to become a pastor for free without a degree

You can become a pastor for free and without a degree, by enrolling in a free online degree or a non-degree pastoral certificate. Many churches do not require you to have a degree before you can be a pastor, because the job of a pastor is not executed with degrees but with knowledge.

If you complete ministry courses and programs online, you will have a higher chance of being employed as a pastor, so taking these programs can help you. Some popular pastors like Billy Graham and Lazarus Mouka do not have degrees, so you can also become a pastor without a degree.

13 Free Online Pastoral Certificates

Here are the free online pastoral certificates to help you get started in your journey to being a pastor and achieving excellence in spiritual leadership:

Certification of Pastoral Ministry

Certification of Pastoral Ministry is a free online pastoral certificate program developed and offered by Axx Bible College. If you enroll in this certification program, you will learn from a team of experienced pastors and Bible scholars. This course will help you learn many skills to succeed in your ministry.

If you are working to improve your spiritual formation and pastoral ministry, then you should take this certification. Many pastors and aspiring pastors have already benefited from this free online certification.

There are eight courses in this certificate, they are in the following order:

  1. Introduction to the Biblical Narrative
  2. Analyze and Apply the Bible
  3. Personal Management and Spiritual Health
  4. God’s Call Your Response
  5. Authentic Leadership
  6. Theology of God
  7. Crossing Cultures
  8. Sermon Design and Delivery

There are eight instructors in this certificate program, and they are all professionals in Bible and pastoral studies:

  • Matthew Jarlett
  • Pastor Andrew Groza
  • Amelia Pickering
  • Dr. Brendan Roach
  • Regan Perry
  • Dr. DJ Konz
  • Pastor Jeremy Weetman
  • Pastor Kay Dohle

For these last few years (yes it took me a little longer to get through it), I have been blessed with amazing teaching from very competent and engaging lecturers that brought the truth of what it means to be a minister… Wow what an awesome, incredibly enriching and educational course.

Mal Munro

Certification of Pastoral Ministry is a diploma-level pastoral certificate and takes 9-12 months to complete. You can complete it online for free and also get a free certificate of completion.

Advanced Certification of Pastoral Ministry

Advanced Certification of Pastoral Ministry is an advanced-level online pastoral certificate, you have to complete the Certification of Pastoral Ministry program before you can enroll in this certificate.

The Axx Bible College also offers this certificate for free to all pastors and people who want to become pastors. This certificate program equals a pastoral diploma degree program, and it is completely delivered online.

There are 10 courses in the program and they are arranged in the following order:

  1. Personal Spiritual Growth, Part 1
  2. Personal Spiritual Growth, Part 2
  3. Advanced Pastoral Care, Part 1
  4. Advanced Pastoral Care, Part 2
  5. Introduction to Biblical Studies, Part 1
  6. Introduction to Biblical Studies, Part 2
  7. Introduction to Biblical Studies, Part 3
  8. Foundations of Leadership
  9. Person and Work of Christ, Part 1
  10. Person and Work of Christ, Part 2

You will be taught by these four instructors if you enroll in this certification:

  • Pastor Cheryl Forrest
  • Dr. Adrian Turner
  • Dr. Albert Haddad
  • Pastor Grant Buchanan

Firstly I want to say thanks to all the teachers in this Course for making it so easy to understand and Grasp the concept on the teachings. I am grateful to Axx for the opportunity to study in this course… God is good.

Darrian Lyle Govender

It will take you 9-12 months to complete the Advanced Certification of Pastoral Ministry certificate.

Licentiate Pastoral Leadership

Licentiate of Pastoral Leadership is one of the free online pastoral certificates on the list, it is also offered Axx Bible College. As a requirement for this certificate, you must complete the Certification of Pastoral Ministry before you can enroll in it.

There are over 190 lessons in this certification and it is self-paced, meaning you can take the lesson whenever you choose. There are 12 courses in the program and you will complete them in the following order:

  1. Counseling Basics, Part 1
  2. Counseling Basics, Part 2
  3. Principles of Teamwork
  4. Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, Part 1
  5. Personal and Work of the Holy Spirit, Part 2
  6. Navigating Team Dynamics
  7. Understanding Kingdom Ministry, part 1
  8. Understand Kingdom Ministry, Part 2
  9. Church Dynamics and Health
  10. Theology of the Church, Part 1
  11. Theology of the Church, Part 2
  12. Organizational Management

In this certificate, you will be taught by the following individuals:

  • Pastor Grant Buchanan
  • Dr, Nigel Pegram
  • Dr. John Newton
  • Pastor Andrew Groza
  • Dr. Peter Downes
  • Andrew Drummond

Axx ministry training & online Bible College courses has already proved to have been of great benefit to our students studying all over Australia. The learning, the method of delivery and the interaction combine for an outstanding educational experience for men and women in ministry

Pastor Corey Turner

Licentiate Pastoral Leadership is the same as a postgraduate degree in pastoral leadership, it takes 9-12 months to complete this certification with full-time study.

Certification of Personal and Teams Leadership

Certification of Personal and Teams Leadership is a pastoral certificate program for start-up pastors in charge of small and sprouting churches. The certification is already recommendable for ministers who serve in local ministries or would want to serve in such ministries.

This certification is free and can be completed online without any need for physical counseling. The following are the courses in the program, arranged sequentially:

  1. God’s Call Your Response
  2. Understanding Kingdom Ministry
  3. Personal Development and Teamwork
  4. Personal Evolution in Ministry
  5. Organizational Leadership in Christian Ministry
  6. Longevity in Ministry

There are seven instructors in the course:

  • Dr. Brendan Roach
  • Regan Perry
  • Pastor Andrew Groza
  • Dr. Albert Haddad
  • Pastor Scott Wellard
  • Dr. Markus Richardson
  • Regan Perry

I have learned how to analyse God’s word through interacting with the biblical context, and this helped me to better undertstand the history of the Church.

Elouise Harris

Certification of Personal and Teams Leadership is a diploma-level pastoral program, it takes about one year to complete the program.

Advanced Certification of Ministry Leadership

Advanced Certification of Ministry Leadership is an online pastoral certificate meant for those who have completed the Certification of Personal and Teams Leadership program. Though you can take this advanced program without completing the basic certification.

In this certification, you will learn your duties as a leader in the church and how to ensure you keep to your duties.

The following are the courses you will learn in the program arranged in chronological order:

  1. Principles of Teamwork
  2. Navigating Team Dynamics
  3. Emotional Intelligence and Productive Teams
  4. Spirit-filled Leadership and Acts, Part 1
  5. Spirit-filled Leadership and Acts, Part 2
  6. Spirit-filled Leadership and Acts, Part 3
  7. Organizational Management
  8. Lifelong Leadership Development, Part 1
  9. Lifelong Leadership Development, Part 2

The following instructors teach the program:

  • Dr. Nigel Pegram
  • Pastor Andrew Groza
  • Dr. Jon Newton
  • Pastor Jeremy Weetman
  • Andrew Drummond
  • Dr. Ian Grant

Axx ministry training & online Bible College courses has already proved to have been of great benefit to our students studying all over Australia.

Pastor Wayne Swift

Advanced Certification of Ministry Leadership is a free pastoral certificate program that takes between 9 and 12 months to complete. This certification from Axx Bible College is a diploma in pastoral studies program and you can take it if you want to be a pastor.

Online Certificate and Diploma in Church Leadership

Online Certificate and Diploma in Church Leadership is an online pastoral certificate program offered by Trinity International Theological Seminary.

This program is meant for anyone who wants to serve as a Christian leader, this includes pastors, ministers, evangelists, and apostles. This program will help you understand what it takes to be a Christian leader and what you are expected to do in such a position.

There are 11 courses in this pastoral certificate program and they are arranged in the following order:

  1. Definition of Leadership
  2. A Leader Must Lead
  3. A Leader Must Lead by Example
  4. A Leader has a Positive Attitude
  5. A Christian Leader Must Have Discernment
  6. A Leader Must Education and Encourage Others
  7. A True Leader Seeks Righteousness
  8. A True Leader has a Heart of Servanthood
  9. It’s all about his will and Not Our Will
  10. A True Leader Has Integrity
  11. A True Leader will Persevere

The courses in Online Certificate and Diploma in Church Leadership can be studied through the following means:

  • A downloadable Microsoft Word document
  • A downloadable PDF document

This free pastoral certificate program is self-paced, and the tests for the program are sent through email.

Online Certificate in Biblical Counseling

Online Certificate in Biblical Counselling is a free online certificate program meant for pastors, spiritual leaders, and Christian counselors. This course helps Christian leaders understand their duties as counselors and spiritual guides of their congregations.

The courses in the pastoral certification include the following:

  • Psychology and Christian Counseling
  • General Principles of Bible Counseling
  • Theology and Biblical Counseling
  • Counseling in a Postmodern World
  • General Principles of Biblical Counselling
  • The Tenderness Trap
  • The Doctrine of Sanctification and Biblical Counseling

This certificate is also from Trinity International Theological Seminary and can be completed through the following means:

  • A downloadable Microsoft Word document
  • A downloadable PDF document

Online Certificate in Biblical Counseling is free to study, but there is a little fee attached pastoral certificate. This certificate program is self-paced and you can enroll in it anytime you want.

AMES International School of Ministry Free Pastoral Certificate

AMES International School of Ministry offers a free online program in biblical and pastoral studies, the program contains 22 courses and also has a certificate of completion.

You will have a printable certificate emailed to your account in PDF format when you complete the program. Though you have to take supervised exams after you complete the program. Your certificate will show the name of the school, your name, and the date you completed the program.

Lessons from Biblical Leaders

Lessons from Biblical Leaders is an online biblical leadership certificate from Dallas Theological Seminary meant for pastors and Christian leaders. The seminary created this course to teach pastors and other church leaders the best leadership practices using biblical leaders as role models.

Dr. Howard Hentricks is the instructor in this certification and he will teach you the leadership lessons you need to learn from the leaders who the bible spoke about.

In the 5 sessions of this certification, you learn leadership skills from biblical stories in the new and old testaments. All you need to enroll in this certification is a functional email address from any of the email service providers.

Ministry Certificates from Christian Leaders Institute

Christian Leaders offers many free online ministry certificates through their websites. The Ministry Certificates is a group of certificates created for pastors, ministers, and other church leaders.

These free online pastoral certificates teach many aspects of Christian leadership. The following are the certificates grouped as Ministry Certificates:

  • Christian Ministry Certificate
  • Christian Business Certificate
  • Chaplaincy Certificate
  • Women’s Ministry Certificate
  • Christian Leaders Certificate
  • Commissioned Pastoral Certificate
  • Certificate of Ministry

The Ministry Certificates have an average of 40 credits per certificate and they are fully delivered online. The only requirement to enroll in these certificates is account registration.

Diplomas from Christian Leaders Institute

The Christian Leaders Institute offers free ministry diploma programs to students all over the world, you can enroll to benefit from the programs by enrolling on their website.

Ministry Diploma programs are for pastors and people who are studying to become pastors because they contain pastoral certificates. The following certificates are grouped under Ministry Diploma:

  • Continuing Ministry Diploma
  • Workplace Ministry Diploma
  • Diploma of Ministry
  • Diploma of Divinity
  • Christian Marriage Diploma
  • Christian Enterprise Diploma
  • Commissioned Pastoral Diploma

Pastoral Care and Leadership

Pastoral Care and Leadership is a free online certification for pastors created by Western Seminary. This program is taught by Doctor John Johnson, a man with great experience who has served as a pastor for over 30 years.

In this program you will learn some of the most important skills you need to have as a pastor, you will learn the following:

  • Care for yourself and others
  • Deal with sickness and death
  • Celebrate the Lord’s Supper and Baptism
  • Lead a wedding service
  • Handle the church’s money wisely
  • Transition the church forward with innovation

The Pastoral Care and Leadership certificate takes 17 hours to complete, and it is only available in English. There are 23 lectures in this program and they contain audio and video files. If you want to enroll in any of the certificates from Biblical Training, see all classes.

Training Lay Pastors

Training Lay Pastors is a program created to teach pastors how to train individuals to become pastors. There are only three lectures in this course, here are some of the important information about the certificate:

  • Skill level: intermediate
  • Time required: two hours
  • Language: English
  • Class format: audio and video
  • Program provider: Western Seminary

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