CCYFM - Certificate in Children, Youth & Family Ministries

The program in Children, Youth and Family Ministries at Vancouver School of Theology is designed to offer the opportunity for participants to gain background and learn skills in the field from an accredited theological school. A student can participate in the program as an auditor in classes or as a student admitted to the Certificate in Children, Youth and Family Ministries. The educational opportunities offered through the program are flexible enough to be available for students from varied denominations and backgrounds.




A student can expect to learn in three core areas of study in the program, as described in the objectives below. More specifically, a graduate of the Certificate in Children, Youth and Family Ministries will be able to:

  1. Theological Core – Demonstrate basic foundational understanding of the theological disciplines, particularly Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Theology, Practical Theology, and Interreligious Studies (at least two of these areas must be included in the courses for the Certificate).
  2. Denominational Core – Demonstrate a basic understanding of the theology and ethos of the student’s denomination (in the three supporting denominations of the School: Anglican, United and Presbyterian).
  3. Children, Youth & Family Ministries Core – Demonstrate skills and leadership in support of faith formation, children and youth ministries, and ministries to families.


Courses will be offered at two levels of engagement, both of which take place within the same classroom:

Attendance, reading of assigned materials and participation in class is expected and reflected in an “AUD” grade. A transcript of audited courses can be issued. Any combination of courses in the three core areas may be taken, as determined by the student or as recommended by the student’s denomination.

The Certificate in Theological Studies is for all who are interested in deepening their understanding of contemporary theological thought through active engagement with the topics and theological disciplines explored in VST courses. An undergraduate degree is not required. The Certificate is granted at VST’s Convocation ceremony to students who successfully complete their program of study.

For the Certificate in Children, Youth and Family Ministries, 15 credits in Certificate level courses must be earned in the following core areas:

  • 3 credits in the Theological Core
  • 3 credits in the Denominational Core
  • 9 credits in the Children, Youth & Family Ministries Core

The Certificate program must be undertaken part-time to gain the full coverage of core areas. More credits in each area may be taken as the student desires or as the denomination suggests.

Courses building competency in the three Core areas are offered through:

  • VST Academy: A series of adult/lay education courses offered in local churches
  • Regular VST courses offered during Fall and Spring semesters
  • VST Summer School
  • Special Children, Youth and Family Ministries courses arranged through VST

Practicum Units
Depending on the denomination, these course-based credits will be supplemented by field practicum units, accomplished under the auspices and supervision of the student’s denominational structures. The practicum units will be in addition to the VST program and not reflected in the 15 Certificate credits. In addition to standard VST Admission requirements to the Certificate Studies, a (Level 2) Police Information Check – PIC including a Vulnerable Sectors Check is required prior to commencing the practicum.

Theological Core

Options for courses for the Theological Core area.
3 Certificate credits total.

VST Academy

The following VST Academy courses are highly recommended:
(0.5 Certificate credit each)

  • Theology for Non-Theologians
  • New Eyes for Reading the Old Testament
  • Four Gospels Many Resurrections

Other Academy courses that could be included are:

  • How Then Shall We Live: Exploring the Relationship between the Spiritual and Ethical Life
  • Sacred Texts: Where Judaism, Christianity and Islam Meet

Regular VST Semester Courses

(Generally 3 Certificate credits each)

VST Summer School

Courses as arranged each summer
(1.5 Certificate credits each)

Denominational Core Suggested Courses

Suggested courses for the Denominational Core area.
3 Certificate credits total.

United Church

  • UCC Theology and Doctrine - DS624 (2)
  • History and Ethos of the United Church of Canada (1 Certificate credit)
  • Worship: Reflections and Traditions in the United Church (1 Certificate credit)

Anglican Church

Presbyterian Church

Children, Youth & Family Ministries Core Suggested Courses

Options for the Children, Youth & Family Ministries Core area.
9 Certificate credits total.

Regular VST semester or weekend courses

The following two courses are required:

Other courses that could be included are:

VST Summer School

Courses as arranged each summer (for example):

  • Re-Imagining Ministry with Children and Youth (1.5 units)
  • Hardwiring Faith Maturity in Children and Youth (1.5 units)
  • For Fun and Prophet: Educational Strategies for Bible Studies (1.5 units)

Other courses to meet specific needs and interests can be developed in consultation with VST.

Transfer into a VST Diploma or Degree Program:
Certificate credits may not be transferred directly into VST’s Diploma and Degree programs.  In certain cases, students who have a BA may be permitted to upgrade certificate credits to degree-level credits with additional academic work and payment of tuition fees. Requests for upgrades can be made through the Registrar, normally only after a Certificate student has successfully been admitted to a VST graduate degree or diploma.


No prerequisites required.