Certificate in Youth & Theology

The Certificate in Youth & Theology program is designed to help youth ministers integrate theology and ministry, incorporate best practices, build vocational friendships, and learn from experienced practitioners and theologians. Participants include ordained clergy, professional youth directors, lay youth leaders, and those ministering to youth in other capacities. This 18-month program includes on-campus retreats, attendance at two Forums on Youth Ministry, coaching, book studies, case studies, and online courses centered on theological engagement with the practice of youth ministry.

During the second half of the program, participants are connected with a personal coach with whom they meet 8 times over 8 months in order to be both supported and challenged. Coaches may be senior pastors, professors, denominational leaders, or youth ministry consultants who work closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry and as consultants for Ministry Architects. The coach is identified in light of the participant’s needs, interests, gifts, and tradition.

Each cohort begins in the spring during the Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry, followed by the Opening Retreat. The program continues for the next 18 months, concluding with the Capstone Retreat.

The Certificate in Youth & Theology has multiple components. Participants attend 4 on-campus events including an Opening Retreat, two Princeton Forums on Youth Ministry, and a Capstone Retreat. Participants work with an individual coach during the last 8 months of the program, during which time they discuss the arc of their vocation and ministry, share readings, and navigate a project. The program also utilizes an online classroom for book studies, case studies, and coursework.

Applicants are required to be actively engaged in ministry with youth, whether on a full-time or part-time basis.

The Institute for Youth Ministry is committed to providing the best youth ministry training at affordable costs to youth ministers. Princeton Theological Seminary funding subsidizes program components and administrative costs. The cost of the program to participants is equal to events attended and 4 program fees. Contact us for a more detailed fee table.

Applications to the Certificate in Youth & Theology are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis, with a new cohort beginning each spring. After acceptance, participants have 30 days to submit a $150 deposit to confirm their place.



“As someone new to youth ministry, the certificate program has been priceless –  an amazing resource and support system for me. I have met colleagues who face the same issues and challenges I do in my ministry, and who have constructive and insightful guidance for me. I firmly believe that participating in the certificate program is the most important step I’ve taken for my ministry, and I am grateful every day for this program and my cohort group.” Lindsay Clark


“The certificate program at Princeton helps to open my eyes and see clearly what the path of youth ministry can be.  In study and more importantly, community, my ministry is blessed through the prayers and conversations of an amazing group of dedicated leaders.” Kevin Krawczyk


“Through the Certificate Program at Princeton I have learned a great deal about the theology of youth ministry and how my beliefs impact the ministry of which I am a part. My favorite aspect of the program has been the community. I believe ministry is all about community, and I love that the Certificate Program makes a point to nurture this in our lives.” Rebekah Hanson