Westmont Magazine The Quest and Preparation for a Lifetime of Service: Westmont Offers a New Certificate in Theological Leadership

Longing for a deeper theological grounding in your life and work? Christians in professional ministry, laypeople eager to grow spiritually and recent college graduates considering seminary will all benefit from a new Westmont initiative.

Telford Work teaches an outdoor class at Westmont
Telford Work

The post-baccalaureate Certificate in Theological Leadership meets a deep need in the church: cultivating wisdom in Christian leaders so they can serve more effectively in the church and society. The college launches the program in January 2024 with a cohort of up to 25 students. Participants take eight classes and earn 24 credits, attending one course at a time during a two-year period, with some sessions in person and others online. President Gayle D. Beebe and Westmont’s world-class, full-time faculty teach the classes.

“For 85 years, Westmont has offered its excellent residential, under-graduate, Christian liberal arts education to prepare Christian leaders to serve the church and every sector of society,” Beebe says. “This program opens new doors to strengthen our ties with churches and leading seminaries. Whether students pursue the certificate only or apply it to graduate education at seminaries throughout the country, the program will enrich their leadership and theological capacity in their life and work. We’re thrilled to position Westmont’s certificate as a pathway to expanded theological insight and advanced theological education.”

The curriculum focuses on theological principles and foundations for leadership, helping students develop a deeper understanding of the Bible and become more culturally astute and self-aware. This knowledge will help them be more effective and energized in their professional and personal lives. The small cohorts promote a strong, cohesive community among students and professors.

The structure makes it convenient for Californians who live outside Santa Barbara to earn a certificate. Taking just one course at a time helps students balance their studies with their work and family. The hybrid approach, blending time spent in person with online sessions, allows people throughout the state to participate. Each semester begins with a three-day academic and spiritual retreat in beautiful Santa Barbara so students connect with their professors and each other. Significant scholarships for qualified students make the program affordable for ministry professionals as well as recent graduates exploring a call to ministry.

Westmont’s new building in downtown Santa Barbara at 29 W. Anapamu Street, steps from State Street and the city’s vibrant heart, will house the in-person sessions. Investments in this facility, including initial renovations, will enhance the program. Innovative initiatives such as the certificate program help Westmont strengthen community and church relationships, develop a pattern for future academic innovation and increase revenue.