Youth Ministry Training

Youth ministry training is offered on both the Northern California Campus, near San Francisco, and the Southern California Campus, near Los Angeles.

We help you develop the skills you need.

Students today are unique. They can’t all be placed in one basket. They come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, numerous types of families, and have deeply felt needs. However, their most desperate need is to have an abiding faith relationship with Jesus Christ.

At Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, we will help you develop the skills to . . .
  • Develop a balanced youth ministry that makes Christ known to students, guides them toward spiritual maturity, and enables them to impact their world for the kingdom,
  • Address the felt and perceived needs of teenagers with strong biblical teaching,
  • Be aware of the cultural influences that affect your students and respond to them with biblical truth,
  • Adapt your youth ministry strategy to the culture and setting of your church,
  • Support parents of youth as well as adult volunteers in youth ministry as effective disciple-makers of teenagers, and
  • Provide biblical leadership for youth, families of youth, volunteer workers, and your church.

We offer the training program in youth ministry that is right for you.

Some students study youth ministry because they believe God has called them to a lifelong ministry with students. Others study youth ministry because they are serving in youth ministry and want to sharpen their skills. Others are volunteers who desire to make the maximum impact on the students in their care. Still others study youth ministry because they believe work with youth may be a part of the ministry to which God has called them. Golden Gate provides degrees and a certificate that will meet each of these needs.
  • Youth Ministry Certificate
    Whether you are a youth minister who desires to sharpen your skills in youth ministry or a youth ministry volunteer with a desire to provide the best for your students, the certificate will challenge your thinking and help you to become more effective in ministry with you.
  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership 
    Ministers training for vocational ministry with youth (or other age groups) will find the MAEL to provide them with strong ministry skills. You can take six credits in youth ministry as a part of the degree. Add six more credits in youth ministry and you can earn a Youth Ministry Certificate  in addition to your degree.*
  • Master of Divinity with Youth Ministry Concentration
    Students can obtain an MDiv degree and prepare for youth ministry at the same time. This option is useful for students who are unclear as to the direction God is leading them in ministry, those who believe God is ultimately calling them to pastor, or those who would like to pursue post-graduate education. For an MDiv with a Youth Ministry Concentration, a student will complete 12 credits in youth ministry.

We offer convenient classes with practical instruction.

On the Northern California Campus, youth ministry courses are offered in the January and June Terms. Classes meet for four to five consecutive days to give you face-to-face time with your professor, guest speakers, and others taking the class. Many classes are supplemented with on-line experiences to help you study at your pace. Youth Ministry coursework can be completed in two years. 
Course Title Course # Hours  
Foundations and Practices of Youth Ministry E2712 3 January Term, Even Years
Contemporary Trends and Critical Issues E2728 3 June Term, Even Years
Youth Ministry Leadership E2727 3 January Term, Odd Years
Contextual Youth Ministry E2709 3 June, Odd Years
Youth Ministry Practicum E2710 3 Supervised ministry course
arranged with the professor

On the Southern California Campus, you can complete your youth ministry course in one year. Classes are offered with your busy schedule in mind. On-line learning supplements your face-to-face classroom experiences.

We offer classes that challenge you to think deeply.

The study of youth ministry at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is challenging. You will be asked to read, reflect, wrestle with issues, develop plans, research, and discuss the serious issues facing those who work with teenagers today. Each assignment is designed to sharpen your skills and make you a better minister.

Dr. Paul Kelly, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, leads the youth ministry program. He holds a PhD in Christian Education with a Concentration in Youth Ministry. He is a youth ministry veteran who has invested his life in equipping other leaders to disciple teenagers. Youth Ministry classes will also frequently involve guest trainers who are experienced youth ministry leaders.

For more information about our youth ministry program, contact Dr. Kelly at or by phone at 877-237-8478. Click here  to apply for admissions to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

* The Youth Ministry Certificate requires a Youth Ministry Practicum above the required youth ministry classes. However, Theological Field Education, required for a master’s degree, satisfies the requirement for this practicum if completed in a youth ministry setting and approved by the Educational Leadership department chairperson.