Certificate in Advanced Pastoral Studies

There has been for some time a growing expression of interest in the possibility of the Academy offering “certification” in recognition of advanced studies completed by Academy members in various fields of specialization within the broad spectrum of parish ministries.

This interest comes both from persons holding advanced degrees, including a growing number of recipients of the Doctor of Ministry degree and also from persons who, though not desiring to pursue doctoral studies, are interested in a planned program of continuing education studies which will lead toward recognition and certification in some given specialty or concentrated area of research.

The Academy is happy to offer several such programs for certification of advanced studies. The first is a program leading to certification in Pastoral Care and Counseling, and another is a program of studies leading to certification in Preaching.

 

Certification of Advanced Pastoral Studies in Pastoral Care and Counseling

The Academy of Parish Clergy will award a Certificate of Advanced Parish Studies (CAPS) in Pastoral Care and Counseling in recognition of completing an approved program of continuing education study. Through the Office of the Dean of CAPS, the APC will award a Certificate to the candidate who has met the following requirements:

  1. Membership in the Academy for at least one triennium.
  2. Documentation that at least 150 clock hours of study with a focus in pastoral care and counseling has been completed within a triennium
  3. Evidence that the study has resulted in both increased knowledge and skill and that the knowledge and skill has been integrated into the practice of ministry in keeping with the candidate’s own faith tradition. This evidence may be the report of a project done within the parish, a reflective paper with case studies from the parish setting, or any other such evidence as may be mutually agreed upon by the Dean of CAPS and the candidate.

 

Candidates for the Certificate may select their own continuing education opportunities from formal didactic seminars, one-to-one supervision of their pastoral counseling, in-parish studies, clinical case conferences, and peer supervision. (This list is suggestive only and not exhaustive.) These continuing education experiences should increase the candidate’s knowledge in such areas as: theology of pastoral care, personality theory, spiritual development, therapeutic process, group dynamics, family systems theory, professional ethics, ministry in crisis or trauma settings, etc. (Here also the list is only suggestive and not exhaustive.)

The integration of formal knowledge, relational skills, and one’s own faith tradition may be evidenced in any manner that is mutually agreed upon by the Dean of CAPS Studies and the candidate. Personal interests and imagination are to be encouraged. Every candidate’s program should involve some counseling and case conference participation under supervised guidance.

The Dean of CAPS may select other persons to assist him in evaluating the documentation submitted by each candidate.

The Southeast Region of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors commended the Academy’s interest in this program, and candidates are encouraged to consider AAPC Approved Centers and members as valuable resources in their continuing education in pastoral care and counseling.

Other Regions of AAPC are encouraged to give official support to this program and to encourage Academy members to utilize AAPC members as both resource persons and colleagues in ministry.

Theological Schools are encouraged to notify the Dean of CAPS of their continuing education opportunities as “approved for partial fulfillment of the requirements for the APC Certificate of Advanced Pastoral Studies in Pastoral Care and Counseling.’ Theological Schools may write the Dean of CAPS for permission to so advertise their course offerings or for information on the Certification Program of the Academy.

 

Certification of Advanced Pastoral Studies In Homiletics

The Academy of Parish Clergy, Inc. will award a Certificate of Advanced Parish Studies in Homiletics in recognition of completion of an approved program of continuing education study with a focus on homiletics (preaching). The Dean of CAPS will award the certificate upon his recommendation and that of the Committee on Continuing Education. The Dean of CAPS and the Committee on Continuing Education shall oversee all programs for the certification of specialties in parish ministries. The members of the committee and other qualified persons selected by the Dean of CAPS will supervise candidates for specialty certifications. Candidates for the Certificate of Advanced Parish Studies in Homiletics shall meet the following requirements:

  1. Membership in the Academy for at least one triennium.
  2. Documentation that at least 150 clock hours of continuing education study with a focus on homiletics (preaching) have been completed within the triennium.
  3. Evidence that the study has resulted in both increased knowledge and skill, and that the knowledge and skill has been integrated into the practice of ministry within the candidate’s own faith tradition. This evidence may be a report of a project done within the parish, a reflective paper with case studies from the parish setting, or any other evidence mutually agreed upon by the Committee Chairperson, the Dean of Studies, and the candidate.

 

Candidates for the Certificate may select their own continuing education opportunities from formal seminars (such as offered in centers of continuing theological education), direct critique and supervision of their sermonic preparation and preaching delivery by qualified homileticians, in-parish cluster studies where sermons are read/heard and critiqued by peers, formal courses in theology and communication such as are offered by theological seminaries, infield workshops relevant to preaching conducted by qualified teachers, or other appropriate continuing education experiences. These experiences should be planned to achieve a balance of three kinds of education:

  1. Reading in the field of theology and communication, preferably under the direction or mentoring of a qualified homelitician or center of continuing education.
  2. Direct critique of the candidate’s own sermons over a sustained period, either individually or in clergy peer groups or by qualified laypersons.
  3. Seminars, workshops, or courses in subjects directly relevant to pastoral communication and preaching.

 

Continuing education experiences should increase the candidate’s knowledge and skill in such areas as: communication dynamics in the preaching event; the nature and use of religious language; the relationship of preaching to other pastoral communication (pastoral care and education, e.g.); the use of the Bible in preaching; biblical and theological hermeneutics in relation to preaching; the formation of beliefs and values through communication; devising preaching plans; methods of sermon construction; different types of preaching; the role of imagination and creativity in preaching; theological claims for the preaching event; and assessing the outcome of preaching. The integration of formal knowledge, communicative skills and one’s own faith tradition should form the basis for the entire program.

 

Certification of Advanced Pastoral Studies In Other Specialties

As the desire or need for additional programs of Certification in Advanced Pastoral Studies in other specialties or areas of ministry emerge, the Academy will be happy to address itself to the development of programs designed to meet those particular needs. The Academy welcomes inquiries and suggestions from its members and from other clergy outside of the Academy. The Academy also pledges itself to the promotion of a growing cooperation with the seminaries, and looks forward to developing closer relations with those colleges and Bible Institutes which offer pre-seminary programs or degree programs which are designed for training pastors and parish workers or para-clerics. The Academy stands ready to lend any assistance through its staff, its officers and its members to assist in any way possible in the preparation of competent persons for the profession of the ministry.

Other areas which might be worthy of concentrated advanced parish studies which would lead toward APC certification in a specialized area of ministry might include Liturgics and Worship; the development of Devotional Disciplines of Prayer and Meditation; Youth Ministries; Children’s Ministries; Ministries to Young Adults; Ministries to the Elderly (Geriatrics); Religious Education and Parochial Education; Inner-city Ministries which is a specialization of its own; Family Ministries; Chaplaincy Ministries in hospitals, retirement homes, and industrial chaplaincies; Radio and TV Ministries; Multimedia and Communications; Parish Administration; Parish Funding, Endowments, and Budgeting; Church Architecture and Building; the Development of New Parishes, etc. The list is limited only by one’s imagination and initiative.