Nonprofit Church Leadership Certificate Program Application 2020

Program Year: 2020-2021

This application is for clergy interested in the Nonprofit Church Leadership Certificate Program, a collaborative partnership between the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of the United Methodist Church and Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU). Clergy approved for the NPCL are required to formally register with DWU. The year-long online program begins in July 2020.

View a detailed calendar with the dates of the four 8-week courses (projected at 5-7 hours of work per week), 4-week orientation, and the dates of the three in-person gatherings. Required online lectures are usually on Mondays.

Find additional descriptions of the NPCL.


Program Objectives

  • Increase the pastor’s capacity and confidence to be an effective church leader and administrator.
  • Develop and improve the pastor’s skill in financial stewardship, human resource management, governance, communications, project management, and strategic leadership.
  • Provide immediate and impactful benefit to local churches through the application of practical course content.
  • Create and foster an effective community of practice that advances church leadership through peer networking, applied learning, and coaching connections.

The FOUR competency areas that the program explores are:

  • Financial Stewardship: 21st Century Resource Development and Management
  • Stewarding Human Resources: Governance, Personnel, and Volunteer Management
  • Stewarding Vision: Strategy, Process, and Evaluation
  • Stewarding Community: Communications and Community Outreach

The student is expected to meet THREE times in person at various locations across the area: the orientation in July 2020, presentation of Applied Project 1 in January 2021, and presentation of Applied Project 2 and graduation in May 2021. The participant earns 21 credits that may be applied to an MBA or graduate degree at DWU.

TWO applied projects are required applying the critical concepts of the coursework to make changes and/or improvements within their church.

ONE-on-one coaching is provided each student through online bi-weekly meetings with an experienced coach who guides the development of the applied projects.


Tuition Cost and Expenses

  • The tuition cost of this program is $7000. Approved applicants are provided $6000 toward the tuition cost.
  • Of the remaining $1,000, $250 is provided from the applicant’s personal funds and $750 is provided by the church or through the combined efforts of the applicant and the church.
  • Lodging and meals for the three required gatherings are included in the tuition. Travel costs to the location and any books/materials are paid by the participating pastors. The gatherings are typically at DWU in Mitchell, SD but may also include other mutually convenient locations (such as our UM camp locations in the Area). Virtual gatherings will be available should this be necessary.


General Requirements

  • Is currently serving in good standing a local United Methodist congregation or extension ministry under appointment of the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conference.
  • Has been in appointment for at least three years and will have completed the Clergy Leadership Academy before the program begins.
  • Has the capacity to complete the full 12-month program by devoting five to seven hours per week for the online course requirements, attending three two-day gatherings (in person), and completing two projects connected to the coursework and the local church(es).
  • Has sufficient technology skills to participate in an online course.
  • Has completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Has obtained the recommendation of their district superintendent and the approval of their Leadership Team(s) (see NCPL Application Process below).
  • Has demonstrated leadership qualities resulting in notable outcomes where serving in ministry.
  • Has agreed to a matching payment of $250 from personal funds and will obtain a matching amount of $750 with assistance from the church(es) and others.


Other Considerations for Applicant and NPCL Selection Committee

The NPCL Selection Committee evaluates the total application for acceptance. The following considerations and commitments could affect the overall learning experience. The applicant will include details on these considerations in the application below.

  • Number of years in current appointment.
  • Number of appointment or relevant ministry settings.
  • New appointment.

Other Commitments

  • Planned Absences (See the program year calendar for planned breaks).
  • Revitalization Process Participation.
  • Other Education. 
  • Course of Study status.


NPCL Application Process

  • The applicant reviews the application and guidelines to ensure eligibility.
  • The applicant contacts the district superintendent to obtain a formal recommendation before applying. A short email recommendation is sent to Diane Owen at by May 15, 2020.
  • OR the applicant’s district superintendent may nominate a pastor whereby the applicant receives an invitation to apply for the NPCL program.
  • The applicant contacts the Leadership Team chair(s) to request support from the Leadership Team (including the SPRC chair). Applying clergy should direct their Leadership Team chair(s) to this endorsement form. The Leadership Team chair submits the endorsement thus acknowledging the church’s financial commitment toward the tuition (the pastor contributes $250 and the pastor and church jointly secures $750) and the commitment of the church and leaders in supporting the assignments and projects when needed.
  • The applicant completes the application noting the specific requirements and considerations, understanding this is a commitment to participate in a competitive process where space is limited. The application and nomination forms are reviewed by the NPCL Selection Committee. The application, DS recommendation, and Leadership Team endorsement form are due on or before May 15, 2020.
  • Applicants are notified by June 1, 2020.


Personal Information

When asked for address, please provide your home address.

*First Name
*Last Name
*Address 1
Clergy Information
*Are you serving a local United Methodist congregation or extension ministry under appointment of the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conferences?
*In what capacity are you currently serving?
Licensed Local Pastor
Extension Ministry
Associate Member
None of the above
*In what capacity are you currently serving?
*Where are you currently appointed (church, ministry, or institution)?
*In which annual conference are you appointed?
*In which district do you serve within your annual conference?
*Have you been serving for at least three years a local United Methodist congregation or extension ministry under appointment of the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conference?
*Will you have completed Clergy Leadership Academy by the onset of the NPCL in July?
Previous Education
*List advanced education degree(s), along with the institution(s) where you earned them and the date(s) completed.
Other Considerations and Commitments
*Number of years in current appointment

Indicate the number of years/months in your current appointment.

*Number of appointment or relevant ministry settings

List appointments/experiences since entering ministry.

New Appointment

State your understanding or knowledge of any appointment change during the NPCL program year.

Planned Absences

List any planned absences of more than one week (consecutive) that would require missing part of the NPCL program. (See the program year calendar for planned breaks.)

Revitalization Process Participation

State whether your church is participating in a formal revitalization process (ie HCI, Journey Renewal, MCCI) during the NPCL program year. Please provide details.

Other Education

Describe other advanced education opportunities you will be enrolled in during the NPCL program year.

Course of Study Status

If enrolled in Course of Study, provide details of where you are in the process and the commitment required during the 2020-2021 NPCL program year.

Readiness for Certificate Program
*Provide a brief (no more than 500 words) statement addressing your readiness and desire to participate in the Nonprofit Church Leadership Certificate Program. Include in your statement the following:
  • At least three notable outcomes as a result of your leadership during your ministry tenure.
  • A brief overview of your personal AND your church’s financial health and approach to giving.
  • A description of the most pressing challenge facing you personally and professionally.
  • Your primary reason for applying for the NPCL Certificate Program.
General Requirements
*I understand that an eligible applicant for the Nonprofit Church Leadership Certificate Program must meet the General Requirements listed in the guidelines above, and I affirm that I meet these requirements.
Expectation for Completion
*I understand that should I withdraw from the program after tuition is no longer reimbursable by DWU or fail to satisfactorily complete the program with a passing grade, I may be responsible for the repayment of part or all of the scholarship and church contribution subject to the review and decision of the NPCL Selection Committee. (All contributing circumstances will be carefully evaluated with input from the Dakotas-Minnesota Area program director, NPCL program director, and participant.)
*By typing my full name below, I affirm that all of the information provided above is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.
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