Certificate in Christian Community Transformation

The Certificate in Community Transformation is for anyone passionate about participating in kingdom ministry among our marginalized neighbors and neighborhoods.

Jesus came as the Spirit-anointed King who brings good news to the poor, the marginalized, and the unexpected (Luke 4:18). And wherever Jesus brings his Kingdom healing to broken people, he also recruits them as his “Oaks of Righteousness” at the heart of his strategy to renew our cities and neighborhoods (Isaiah 61:4). Jesus isn’t simply in the business of healing the sick. He’s in the business of turning the sick into Doctors. He isn’t simply in the business of feeding the hungry. He’s in the business of transforming the hungry into entrepreneurs, city planners, and church planters. According to Scripture, the secret to seeing change in our city’s most marginalized neighborhoods lies in the Oaks of Righteousness who are already there, who God has chosen to renew our community.

The MCUTS Certificate in Community Transformation equips church and nonprofit leaders and staff with the . . .
• biblical and theological framework,
• community development and ministry best practices, and
• tangible skills
. . . to participate in this kingdom work.

Through the Certificate, participants will:
• Encounter God’s heart for the poor and marginalized in the Scriptures
• Explore biblical paradigms for poverty alleviation and Christian mission
• Learn strategies for moving beyond charity to empowerment
• Gain practical skills in asset-based community development
• Engage community transformation first-hand

• Pastors and church leaders interested in biblical, church-based models for loving low-income and working class neighbors and neighborhoods well.
• Non-profit staff and ministry leaders looking for best practices in community transformation, asset-based development, and ministries of mercy and justice from a biblical perspective.
• Anyone interested in better understanding and embodying God’s holistic mission in relation to economically poor individuals and communities.
CREDIT: The Certificate in Community Transformation is 12-18 credit hours offered at the college level. Those who complete the full 18 hour version will choose a particular ministry skill course (i.e., job training, financial literacy, etc) and complete an internship in the community applying that skill in addition to the 12 hour core.

Students will pay the training fee rather than full college tuition and will also not receive college credit. However, students who later enroll at MCUTS@LBC as degree-seeking students after completing the Certificate as continuing education may receive 12-18 hours of college credit through the Credit for Prior Learning program.

Students enrolled in the Certificate program for continuing-education training pay:

Per Course $500
12 Hour Certificate $2,000
18 Hour Certificate $3,000

Scholarships are available based on need or for organizations sending multiple students.

Classes occur on Thursday evenings from 6-10 p.m. Each class meets 5 times.

Students may enroll in the Certificate in Community Transformation throughout the year. Students who enroll in the Fall will be able to complete the Certificate in 9-12 months.

4 Class Core
Biblical Theology of the Marginalized
Discover the Bible’s testimony to God’s kingdom as good news for the poor and marginalized. As we explore Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, we will encounter the biblical call for the church to be a community of, among, and for those on the margins.

Urban Mission Theology
Explore the theological and spiritual foundations for being “on mission” in the city and for the city. We will see how the incarnation of Jesus gives us a foundation for ministry and a perspective for interpreting social and cultural realities in our own neighborhoods. In the spirit of John Perkins’ principle of Relocation and drawing on local Memphis history and ministry models, we’ll discover principles and practices for bearing witness to the God who became flesh and “moved into the neighborhood.”

The Church & Community Development I
Learn how to move from charity to empowerment by mobilizing the gifts and abilities of churches and neighborhoods. Drawing on When Helping Hurts and asset-based community development strategies, we’ll explore best practices and tangible strategies for welcoming and walking with economically poor neighbors. Students will also conduct asset-mapping exercises in their own communities.

The Church & Community Development II
Meet your neighbors and mobilize for mission. Together, we’ll learn tools for engaging communities, mobilizing assets, networking and strategizing for change, and addressing injustice, all from a biblical perspective. Students will also conduct community listening initiatives in their own communities.

Ministry Concentration Courses
(Students doing the 18 hour Certificate choose 1)

Church & Job Readiness
Gain the knowledge and skills necessary to launch and lead a faith-based job readiness ministry as part of church or non-profit initiative to empower individuals from generational poverty for economic success. We’ll consider the context of widespread underemployment in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, best practices for equipping job seekers to find and keep work, how to recruit volunteers and participants, facilitation skills for leading engaging trainings, and how to network with the business community to help connect job seekers with employers. Graduates will become certified facilitators for Work Life, a job training curriculum developed by Advance Memphis and the Chalmers Center.

Church & Financial Literacy
Gain the knowledge and skills necessary to launch and lead a faith-based financial literacy and biblical stewardship initiative in a church or nonprofit context. We’ll consider the role of the church and ministries in financial education, how best to help adults learn basic budgeting and finance skills, how to recruit and equip participants and volunteers, and how to walk with people over time on the road to financial health. Graduates will become certified facilitators of Faith & Finances, a financial literacy curriculum designed to be accessible for low-income learners and those with little financial experience produced by the Chalmers Center.

Special Topics
Individuals or groups interested in other focus areas can inquire about the possibility of independent studies or small group courses as alternative ministry concentration courses.

Students help lead or launch a ministry initiative related to their chosen Ministry Concentration as part of a semester-long internship.

The Community Transformation classes I've taken at MCUTS have proven to be indispensable tools for the ministry in which I serve. They've allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the ministry of Jesus, and His "Wholistic" approach to serving the lost, in particular those who are marginalized by society." Bryant Cummings (Director of Community Outreach, Bellevue Fray)
Our partnership with MCUTS for the SOS Academy has been absolutely phenomenal this year. The SOS Academy residents have access to theological and biblical teaching that is unprecedented in the Academy’s history. The MCUTS classes offered could not be more relevant and rich for Christian Community Transformation. Jake Wiig (SOS Academy Director)