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Fuller Youth Institute

Sticky Faith

How do we build lasting faith in the teenagers we love and serve? Find practical resources for youth ministry and parenting here.

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New book on that tricky tech

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Growing Young

How can you unlock your church’s potential? Discover 6 research-based strategies for integrating young people to create a thriving church.

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Arriving this fall.

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Urban Ministries

Receive world-class training right in your city. Our Certificate and Credential programs offer essential training vital to effective urban youth ministry.

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Our new cohort is starting!
Apply by Feb 17!

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Frequently Asked Questions

We are so glad you are interested in finding out more about our new Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry. We figure you have all sorts of questions about the Certificate so we compiled the following list of Frequently Asked Questions.

1. What exactly is Fuller’s Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry?

2. What are the courses like?

3. How did Fuller decide what to include in the curriculum?

4. Who are the faculty, and what will be studied in the courses?

5. When do I start and when will I finish?

6. How much does the program cost?

7. Can I apply the credits I earn toward a Master’s Degree?

8. What if I don’t have my Bachelor’s degree completed yet?

9. How do I apply for the Certificate or the Credential?

10. What other academic programs are available for Youth Ministry training at Fuller?

11. I’m on Young Life Staff. How will this work alongside my training timeline?

12. Who can I contact for more information?


1. What exactly is Fuller’s Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry?

The Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry provides youth workers in urban church and parachurch settings with theological, psychological, and intercultural training vital to effective youth ministry. This unique program offered by the Fuller Youth Institute draws from the expertise of Fuller’s Schools of Theology, Psychology and Intercultural Studies to offer academic training that can be completed with a minimum of time away from ministry commitments.

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2. What are the courses like?

The Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry requires the completion of eight master’s-level courses (24 units total) essential for effective youth ministry in urban contexts, including four three-month field education practica conducted in each student’s home ministry area under the supervision of a qualified mentor. In addition to the practica, courses include:

  • Theology and Philosophy of Urban Youth Ministry
  • The Urban Youth Ministry Leader
  • Leadership and Management of Urban Youth Ministry
  • Transformational Urban Youth Ministry

Four of the courses are offered as a hybrid of one-week intensives and distance learning that can be completed in the convenience of your own community.

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3. How did Fuller decide what to include in the curriculum?

From 2003-2005, FYI conducted over 40 interviews with key urban youth leaders representing organizations like Young Life, Youth for Christ, Vision Youth, Urban Reclaim, the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, Mission America, the Christian Community Development Association, and the Urban Youth Workers Institute. Fuller faculty then partnered with leaders and ministries nationwide to develop research-based training on topics like:

  • An understanding of the developmental assets most pivotal to urban kids and families and case studies of ministries that are doing excellent holistic ministry.
  • How to network resources in your city so that youth workers accomplish more working together than they ever could on their own.
  • The principles of indigenous leadership development that are tested and really work in urban contexts.
  • How to raise funds and financial support for your urban youth ministry.
  • Solid counseling skills to help you respond to kids who have been traumatized and are hurting.
  • How to design a theologically-grounded ministry plan based on clear outcomes.
  • How to evaluate your own ministry so you can keep improving and also show others your tangible results.

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4. Who are the faculty, and what will be studied in the courses?

Course #1: Theology and Philosophy of Urban Youth Ministry

Faculty: Lina Thompson is World Vision’s National Director for Training and Capacity Building for U.S. Programs. She has been serving urban youth for over 25 years and teaches all over the country. This class, according to one student, is “mind-blowing and then some.”

Topics covered:

  • A theological method to apply to ministry in the city
  • Understanding and experiencing the Kingdom of God
  • Embracing and communicating through narrative theology/God’s story
  • Reaching kids through incarnational evangelism
  • Interacting with culture
  • Understanding multicultural issues, racial reconciliation, and ministry
     

Course #2: The Person of the Urban Youth Worker

Faculty: Dr. Rene Rochester is the founder and president of Urban S.E.T. Inc. (Strengthening, Educating and Training) along with being a high school health educator, coach, and athletic director. Dr. Rene has served public and private inner-city schools, juvenile justice systems, and churches, organizing and designing curriculum and intervention programs for youth workers and educators across the nation. One student called Rene’s class a “spiritual bubble bath” that cleanses and refreshes the urban youth worker’s soul.

Topics covered:

  • Learning to walk with Christ in the midst of suffering
  • Maintaining health in your own life and family
  • Developing boundaries
  • Maintaining balance
  • Developing your own peer community and creating accountability relationships
  • Mentoring
  • Understanding and using spiritual gifts
     

Course #3: Leadership and Management of Urban Youth Ministry

Faculty: Jeremy Del Rio serves as Executive Director of 20/20 Vision for Schools in New York City and the Northeast Director of Urban Youth Workers Institute. In this course students develop a foundational skill set to help build their ministries and organizations, as well as their own leadership potential.

Topics covered:

  • Developing and understanding organizational structure
  • Developing and communicating vision
  • Creating strategic plans
  • Developing administrative skills
  • Fundraising and resource development
  • Nurturing a team
  • Raising up indigenous leaders
  • Conducting program evaluation
     

Course #4: Transformational Urban Youth Ministry

Faculty: Mary Glen is an Urban Youth Ministry professor with the Fuller Youth Institute and teaches with Bakke Graduate University, Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University. She is the Co-President of Cities Together, a Christian non-profit organization working with collaborative movements and leaders for city transformation. She regularly leads Los Angeles urban immersions and Downtown LA city walks. Mary loves cities, in particular Los Angeles, where she calls home. Mary has served as a law enforcement chaplain since 2001 with Alhambra PD and more recently the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, is a police chaplain trainer and an ordained pastor (with over 20 years of pastoral experience). Mary is a board member with Central City Community Outreach in Downtown LA/Skid Row. She is passionate about youth, police, and cities. 

Jude Tiersma Watson, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Urban Mission in the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary and serves on the Executive Committee for the Fuller Youth Institute. Jude and her husband John are elders with InnerCHANGE/CRM, a Christian Order Among the Poor. Jude has lived in the Westlake immigrant neighborhood in central Los Angeles for 20 years. The InnerCHANGE team in L.A. seeks to see God transform and raise up leaders for a new urban generation. Jude has a special interest in the integration of spirituality in the urban context.

  • Adolescent development
  • Holistic evangelism and discipleship
  • Counseling kids who have been traumatized
  • Developing holistic, assets-based ministry
  • Exegeting your context, the city
  • Networking with other church and parachurch ministries in your city
     

Courses #5-8: Guided Practica to be completed with a mentor.

There will be 4 2-unit practica, each of which will connect and help reinforce and apply the content of the above 4 core courses.

 

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5. When do I start and when will I finish?

In order to create as relational a curriculum as possible, students in the Certificate of Urban Youth Ministry experience the courses as a cohort. For the 2015 cohort, the first course, “Theology and Philosophy of Urban Youth Ministry,” will start in Spring 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The entire course, as well as “The Person of the Urban Leader,” will be offered on-site at Fuller’s Pasadena campus. One-week intensives for the 2015 Spring quarter will be April 27-May 1.

The remainder of the “Person of the Urban Leader” and “Theology and Philosophy” courses will be offered via various distance learning venues (i.e., listening to downloadable lectures, group conference calls, corresponding by e-mail and online learning platform) from before and after the one-week intensive (March – June).

The 2 practica related to both courses will consist of a supervised internship (likely in your current ministry setting) with a mentor of the student’s choice during fall quarter 2015 and winter quarter 2016.

The “Leadership and Administration in Urban Youth Ministry” course and “Transformational Urban Youth Ministry” course will be offered in Spring 2016, also during a one-week intensive setting in Pasadena, California . The 2 practica related to these 2 courses will consist of a supervised internship (likely in students’ current ministry settings) with a mentor of the student’s choice during fall quarter 2016 and winter quarter 2017. All coursework would be completed by the end of winter quarter (late March) 2017.

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6. How much does the program cost?

The cost of the Urban Youth Ministry Certificate for the 2015 cohort is $9,120. Thanks to extensive fundraising, we will be able to offer 50% scholarships to all students enrolling in the program, with additional support available to eligible students. This scholarship support is such that students in the 2015-2017 cohort will only pay approximately $4,560 for the entire Certificate (payments will be evenly dispersed over the course of the two years). This is a significant savings! Students are also responsible for their own costs for transportation, lodging (at a discounted rate at accommodations arranged by Fuller), and food for the two face-to-face gatherings as well as books for all courses. Federal financial aid is not available for this program. However, if the total cost is still prohibitive for you, please let us know and we will continue to help you work toward alternative funding possibilities.    

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7. Can I apply the credits I earn toward a Master’s degree?

Although the Certificate is not awarded to students already admitted to degree programs, all courses earned toward a Certificate can be credited toward a degree program upon later admission to that program (if appropriate to the curriculum, and subject to certain degree requirements, such as residency or distance learning limits).

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8. What if I don’t have my Bachelor’s degree completed yet?

If you don’t have your Bachelor’s degree yet, you can apply for a parallel program called the Urban Youth Ministry Credential program. As such, you will not technically be a student at Fuller Seminary but rather a student affiliated with the Fuller Youth Institute. You will complete the same work assignments and interact in most all of the same lecture and discussion formats as the Certificate students.

Credential students are encouraged to submit the syllabi from the Credential courses to appropriate undergraduate universities (probably Christian universities or colleges) in the hopes that they, too, will grant undergraduate credit for work completed. The FYI staff can assist you by providing unofficial transcripts if needed. Please note that Credential students are not considered official graduate students of Fuller Theological Seminary.

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9. How do I apply for the Certificate or the Credential?

Beginning August 1, 2014, you can apply by selecting the appropriate link at the bottom of this page for credential or certificate. Further instructions and the application can be downloaded from there. THE APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR 2015 IS JANUARY 16, 2015. For both the Certificate and the Credential, each applicant must submit ONE pastoral reference and an OFFICIAL bachelor’s degree academic transcript (official transcript copies must be sent sealed by the schools themselves). Please plan accordingly. For more information on Fuller’s admissions requirements, please visit the Fuller Admissions page.

International Students: Unfortunately at this time we can only accept U.S. and Canadian citizens in the Certificate program. If you are from any other nation, please explore other opportunities to study at Fuller and read the instructions for the international application process HERE.

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10. What other academic programs are available for Youth Ministry training at Fuller?

Currently, our Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry program is our first for-credit academic program operated by the Fuller Youth Institute. However, Fuller also offers a Certificate in Youth Ministry (non-urban), a Master of Arts in Theology with an emphasis in Youth, Family, and Culture, a Master of Divinity with a Youth, Family, and Culture emphasis, and both PhD and DMin programs in Youth, Family, and Culture with Dr. Chap Clark. Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies also offers programs in Children at Risk designed for practitioners both domestically and globally working with children and youth in high-risk settings. Please visit the Fuller Admissions site for further details about these other outstanding academic programs for youth ministry training.

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11. I’m on Young Life Staff. How will this work alongside my training timeline?

Thanks to a partnership between Young Life and FYI, the Certificate program will meet the requirements for your training timeline for the duration of the 2-year program. Download an information sheet to find out more details!

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12. Who can I contact for more information?

If you have questions not addressed already in this list, you may contact the FYI office for further information (icho@fuller.edu) or call us at 626.584.5550.

To inquire further about the Urban Youth Ministry program, please share more information with us so our Admissions team can be in touch with you! Note: Please be sure to select “Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry” under the drop-down menu designation for “Program of Interest.”

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