Diploma in Executive Leadership

Doctorate in Ministry D.Min programs in California

Leadership calls for intelligence. Wise leadership for congregations, denominational bodies, and other faith-based institutions calls for multi-faceted intelligence: emotional intelligence and social sciences intelligence as well as Biblical and theological intelligence. Through the Executive Leadership course offerings in its Advanced Pastoral Studies program, San Francisco Theological Seminary seeks to enhance the intelligence and skills of leaders in such ministries.  In the 2017-2018 academic year:

  • courses will be open to both Diploma in Executive Leadership (non-degree program) students and Doctor of Ministry (degree program) students
  • classes will be organized in four 3-day week-end seminars.

Learning Outcomes and Benefits

Students who complete all four seminars in the program will gain:

  • In the “Ways of Being” or Personal Formation dimension of leadership, a deeper self-awareness leading to identification of areas for on-going self-work in “emotional and spiritual intelligence” as a leader of a complex community
  • In the “Ways of Knowing” or Knowledge Base dimension of leadership, broadened theological perspectives and organizational development understandings for the wise practice of leadership appropriate to one’s context
  • In the “Ways of Doing” or Strategic Executive Skills dimension of leadership, expanded capacities in innovative application and adaptation of techniques and tools for organizational communication and collaborative leadership
  • In the membership in a “Community of Practice” aspect of leadership, new and continuing relationships with colleagues in ministerial leadership.

Program elements and requirements

  • Four weekend Seminars (Thursday-Saturday) totaling 18-20 contact hours/class
  • All four seminars must be completed to receive credit (no partial credit granted)
  • Pre-class and post-class work and contact via Moodle Learning Management system
  • Completion in one academic year (September; November; January; March; April)
  • Signature assignment options: a Capstone Project and Paper or an Interactive Experience “Final Exam” Simulation and Reflection Paper

Admission requirements

  • Engagement in some form of ministry. Ordination is not required.
  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited school of higher learning is preferred.
  • McCormick Theological Seminary Certificate in Executive Leadership (MTS CELP) or equivalent or comparable leadership training program.

This program has considerable flexibility in determining equivalence, including a variety of courses or workshops from other institutions. Priority admission will be given to MTS CELP students following completion of “Year One” Seminars.

Curriculum and Prerequisites

As an offering in Advanced Pastoral Studies, the content and requirements in this four-seminar course are based upon the assumption and expectation that students will bring to this class substantial experience in the practice of ministry as well as previous studies in:

  • the nature of leadership of the ministerial kind and the identity of a leader in ministry
  • systems understandings and approaches to leadership
  • leadership in times of change and concepts of “adaptive leadership”
  • conflict management, resolution, and/or transformation in faith-based communities.

2017-2018 Schedule

Seminar I – Redirecting the Focus: Future Tense Leadership
August 31 – September 2, 2017
Innovative Leadership in Uncertain Times: “Adaptive Leadership 2.0”

Seminar II – Reframing Communication in Leadership
November 9 – 11, 2017
Attending to Language and Leadership: Future-Oriented Communication  

Seminar III – Re-Tooling Leadership: Future-Oriented Proficiencies
January 25 – 27, 2018
“Wisdom of Serpents” Leadership: Dealing with Toxic Systems as Spiritual Practice;
Leadership in Times of Conflict: Transforming Competing Futures into Shared Futures

Seminar IV – Reorienting Leadership: Leadership in the Wilderness
March 22-23, 2018
Change as Exodus: Learning, Leading, and Improve while Journeying into an Uncertain Future 

Capstone Project-Paper due by April 27, 2018


Jon Berquist, Visiting Professor, SFTS; President, Disciples Seminary Foundation
Virstan Choy, Adjunct Faculty, Advanced Pastoral Studies, SFTS
Mary Hess, Professor of Educational Leadership, Luther Theological Seminary
Luther Smith, Professor Emeritus of Church and Community, Candler School of Theology

Admission/Registration: Open January 15–June 30, 2017

Diploma Program Students: Apply Online

SFTS D.Min. Students: register with APS office, Ruth T. West: rwest@sfts.edu
DMin Students from other theological institutions: request permission to enroll from Rev. Dr. Teresa Chavéz Sauceda, Director of Advanced Pastoral Studies, tsauceda@sfts.edu


$2,496 Total tuition (all four seminars) for Diploma Program students
$3,680 Total tuition (four seminars credited as six units/two DMin courses) for Doctor of Ministry students

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