New Ministerial Institute Opens, Offers 3-Year Program

Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Lancaster Theological Seminary is launching the Ministerial Institute of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry that will offer a new, non-degree program to prepare people for ministerial leadership. 

The Ministerial Institute’s three-year program includes online classes plus an on-campus summer session for one week each year. The Seminary is accepting applications for the first summer session to run from July 21 - 26. An associate degree or higher is required for admission. Tuition is $3,000 per year for the three-year program. Individual classes, ranging from one to three units each, cost $600 per unit.

Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary is the Rev. Darryl W. Stephens, PhD. A scholar and author, Stephens also directs United Methodist Studies and teaches Ministerial Ethics and Healthy Boundaries at Lancaster Seminary.

“PAM’s Ministerial Institute is an ecumenical three-year program of study designed for lay ministers, bivocational ministers, individuals in discernment, and others seeking an alternative to or preparation for graduate theological education,” says Stephens.

Lancaster Theological Seminary created the Ministerial Institute as it incorporated the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry (PAM) into its program offerings after a yearlong study. The project, funded by a grant from the Association of Theological Schools, explored alternate educational pathways for students not able or ready to attend a graduate-level seminary. Lancaster Seminary continues to provide accredited graduate theological programs leading to Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Ministry and Leadership, and Doctor of Ministry degrees. 

PAM began in 1995 as a lay education program developed and sponsored by three United Church of Christ conferences in Pennsylvania. It offered classes at various locations in South Central Pennsylvania. PAM evolved to meet the changing educational needs of unordained UCC ministerial leadership. At Lancaster Seminary, PAM’s Ministerial Institute will provide ecumenical theological education for students of all Christian faith traditions.

The Ministerial Institute is the first and largest of three planned components of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary. After the Ministerial Institute’s first full year, the Seminary plans to launch a discipleship program that will offer educational programs for congregations, and a continuing education program for clergy.

“The Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary expands the work of the Seminary by offering educational opportunities for growth in discipleship, lay minister training, and continuing education for ministerial leaders,” says Lancaster Seminary President Rev. Carol E. Lytch. “We believe that these nondegree programs will make a significant contribution to the renewal of the church and expand our mission to educate and nurture leaders to join in God’s redemptive and liberating work so that all creation may flourish.”

Assisting with the transition is PAM former program director, the Rev. Steven Hummel, pastor of Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ in Bloomsburg, Pa. “Becoming part of Lancaster Theological Seminary offers an excellent opportunity for the Pennsylvania Academy of Ministry to reach more students and expand the scope of its educational mission to serve all Christian faith traditions,” says Hummel.

To learn more about the Ministerial Institute, application requirements and classes, click here.