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Youth Ministry Certification Program Starts December 3 at Columbia Theological Seminary


Decatur, GA.—Columbia Theological Seminary and the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, have announced a new certification program in youth ministry, the Youth Ministry Leadership Initiative (YMLI). The YMLI is designed for laypersons and pastors involved in youth ministry, and is intended to support excellence in youth ministry. The presbytery’s recent capital campaign provided start-up funding for the program, which was developed in partnership with the seminary The YMLI curriculum includes eight weekend courses offered over a two-year period and covering topics such as programming, spirituality, theology, biblical studies, church polity, and youth development. Participants who complete all eight sessions will receive a Certificate in Youth Ministry, but enrollment is open to those interested in taking one or more of the sessions but not completing the certificate. The program fee for each session is $150 and includes two meals. The first course, “Discerning Your Call to Youth Ministry,” will be offered Dec. 3-5, 2004, at Columbia Theological Seminary. This inaugural retreat features Rodger Nishioka and Jennifer Williams Wilson. Nishioka is assistant professor of Christian Education at the seminary and a nationally recognized leader in youth and young adult ministry. Wilson is director of youth ministry for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and an experienced retreat and workshop leader. Leadership for subsequent courses includes Walter Brueggemann, internationally acclaimed scholar and author, and professor emeritus at Columbia; Gina Yeager, director of youth ministries for the Presbyterian Church (USA); and Margaret Aymer, assistant professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the Interdenominational Theological Center, in Atlanta. Christian educators and pastors experienced in youth ministry will round out the roster of facilitators. For information about the YMLI certificate program or individual courses, please visit or You may download information, including registration forms at each site. Jennifer Williams Wilson (404-898-0711, ext. 37) and Sarah F. Erickson, associate director for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary (404-687-4526), may also be contacted for additional information. Columbia Theological Seminary, located in Decatur, Georgia, was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

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