Thank you for your interest in Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary (JCSTS)! Whether you are looking to upgrade skills in a specific ministry area, do justice work, or acquire new skills to help you better serve in today's church, JCSTS is the place for you. Designed with the needs of working adults in mind, our programs are self-paced, flexible, largely online, and moderate in cost.

Join an energetic, committed network of ordained and non-ordained professionals and acquire tools for today’s changing religious landscape. Scroll to see new courses that are rolling out continually throughout the year, so check back often to see what's new!

We will review your application and notify you in five to seven business days of next steps.



Speaking the Gospel in Public

Rolling admission begins February 14, 2019
Price: $300 (plus one-time $25 application fee)

Christianity in America is at something of a kairos moment. Old models of doing and being the church are being replaced with new ones. The place of Christianity in the personal, social, political, and institutional life of America continues to decrease. Advances in technology and changes to education demand diverse and innovative modes of communication. Pluralism is an undeniable reality, and any effort directed toward justice and transformation must engage different communities and different understandings of the common good

In light of these realities, it is necessary for faith leaders to engage in Christian reflection, proclamation, and action in a way that moves beyond the four walls of the church. The purpose of Speaking the Gospel in Public is to equip pastors, laypeople, and community activists to engage the Church’s theology and practice in arenas beyond its four walls in pursuit of justice and transformation in culture and society. 

Upon completion of the course, learners will be able to: 

  • Explain the difference between “christendom” and “post-christendom” visions/forms of Christianity

  • Compare the different ways that Christianity can relate to culture 

  • Analyze local cultures using theoretical resources and practical experience 

  • Identify the distinctive aspects, both in terms of culture and technology, of 21st century modes of communication

  • Apply theories related to mass media communication to the Church’s theology and proclamation

  • Create theologically informed and culturally relevant messages of various lengths for social media and other modalities 

  • Distinguish between different understandings of the gospel in the Bible 

  • Apply biblical and theological insight to real world situations or problems


Enrollment opens May 1, 2019
Price: $1,200, plus fees

Leading Worship Justly is an online, competency-based, certificate program that explores the biblical, theological, and practical foundations of justice-seeking Christian worship. Though not limited to African-American participants, the course is rooted in the theology of the Black Church in America. People from all walks of life are encouraged to enroll.

The certificate equips learners to plan, lead, and reflect on worship as a vehicle for transforming worshiping communities into agents of justice and transformation in the world. It is ideal for worship leaders, music and choir directors, musicians, clergy, laity, and others interested in the convergence of worship and justice.

Those who complete the certificate will be able to:

  • Articulate an understanding of the intersectionality of worship, faith, and justice.

  • Evaluate the inclusivity of a Sunday morning worship service based on its language, ritual, music, and theology.

  • Conduct critical self-reflection pertinent to the role of a worship leader.

  • Identify best practices for planning worship collaboratively and equitably.

  • Engage the formative power of worship as a means of achieving Beloved Community.


Enrollment opens May 1, 2019
Price: $1,200, plus fees

This certificate program provides experienced preachers and other leaders with learning resources and practical activities to inform and invigorate their preaching. Those who complete the certificate will be able to conduct congregational and cultural analysis as means of constructing relevant and timely sermons. Learners also will apply insights from rhetorical theory to preaching, and they will evaluate the role of social media in twenty-first century proclamation. While learners work independently to complete the certificate, they will be surrounded by a supportive and responsive online learning community with whom they can study collaboratively. The program is structured around a number of key topics:

  • The Preacher and Social Media

  • Politics, Economics, and Activism

  • The Troubling Persistence of Race and Racism in America

  • The Gospel and Globalism

  • Connecting with the “Nones” and the “Dones”

Community Organizing and Congregational Leadership

Enrollment opens August 2, 2019
Price: $1099. Price includes opening intensive, group meals during the intensive, and educational materials.
Housing for the opening intensive and additional meals are not included. 
Space is limited.

This certificate program consists of a one-week intensive in-person training followed by a 6-month distance learning cohort to integrate the training into the learners’ work. The program is organized into a week-long, in-person training and online distance learning occurring two times per month from November–April (exact dates to be determined). The program is open to clergy, laypeople, community leaders, seminarians, and others interested in organizing for long-term systemic change both within and beyond the four walls of the local church. Participants must be 21 years old or older to register.

 Upon completion of the course, learners will be able to:

  • Apply the basic universals and disciplines of community organizing to their ministry contexts.

  • Provide tools for those engaged in the work of congregational transformation, new church development, and neighborhood/organizational revitalization.

  • Guide participants in theological reflection and action related to systemic change.

  • Make better use of technology as an organizing tool.

  • Establish for themselves more effective patterns of leadership.

  • Connect leaders to an established support network.

This program is the result of a collaboration between Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, NEXT Church, and the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation of Baltimore.

Two Exciting New Courses at JCSTS

Christianity in America is facing a kairos moment.

Old models of doing and being the church are being replaced with new ones. The prominence of the institutional church in the overall fabric of America has declined. Advances in technology and changes to education demand innovative modes of communication. Pluralism is an undeniable reality, and any effort toward justice must connect with a diverse communities and various understandings of the common good. In light of these realities, people of faith will want to engage in Christian reflection and action beyond the four walls of the church.

Speaking the Gospel in Public  

is a course designed to equip Christians to speak and demonstrate Christ's teachings in arenas beyond the church's four walls. Those who complete this course will be able to:

  • distinguish between “christendom” and “post-christendom” forms of Christianity.

  • apply biblical and theological insight to real world situations.

  • use social media and mass communication strategies to further Christ's ministry in the world.

This self-paced course costs a flat rate of $300 and can be completed in as little as four months or as many as twelve.

Why Is No One Coming to Church? 

is a mini-course for anyone trying to understand the wider factors at play that make it difficult for churches to flourish today. This self-paced course costs ONLY $40.00 and can be completed in approximately ten hours. It is ideal for adult Sunday School, leadership training, and other religious educational programs.