Practical Church Leadership
Welcome to PCL
This program provides participants with a certificate and 21-graduate credits in nonprofit administration.
Courses are tailored to be applicable to church context and feature virtual guest lectures, relevant readings, and assignments that are helpful for participant’s professional practice.
Applied projects are designed by the participant to intentionally benefit the church they are serving.
Participants are supported by a coach, who helps with advice and guidance on project work and other administrative challenges.
Credits can be coupled with an additional 18 credits to receive DWU’s MBA.
We are committed to ensuring that this program is highly beneficial and meaningful for participants. We promise to deliver an experience that expands participants confidence and capability in key areas of administration.
What to expect
In-person gatherings help you form relationships with your peers, learn from one another and from guests, and connect with coaches. These are typically two full days of worship, learning, and connecting. During the second and third gatherings pastors present results from their applied projects.
Coaches meet with you bi-weekly (during normally scheduled work weeks) for 45 minutes per session to talk through your project and more.
7-week classes are full of content in respective subject matter areas and will require some reading, discussion and/or assignments and virtual, synchronous, lectures 4-5 times per class, on Mondays at noon, Central Time Zone.
The average amount of time pastors devote to the program each week is 4-6 hours. This varies by week and we are sensitive to needed flexibility during important seasons such as Advent and Lent.
Each coach completes training and development as a professional coach. Many of our coaches have professional endorsements from the international association of professional coaches or international coach federation. Coaches are required to have professional experience in one or more of the subject matter areas delivered throughout the program. Coaches are matched with students through a process that engages discerning mutual interest areas, professional experience, personality and strengths assessments.
Faculty are content-matter experts, required to have experience in the industry related to their subject matter, and have graduate degrees and/or associated credentials. Faculty are trained to offer pedagogy that is unique, relevant, and tailored to the needs of pastors and church leaders.
The calendar for the PCL program begins in July and runs a full calendar year. The first session is a 2-day in-person orientation in July at DWU, followed by three weeks of onboarding and getting to know your coach, the learning management system, and more. The first 7-week course begins in August. Classes have live guest lectures with experts at noon, Central Time Zone, on 4-5 Mondays throughout each term. The applied project, and associated processes and procedures to help manage the applied project, are also set up similar to a course in our Canvas learning management system and students will have access to that from start to finish as well. We host an in-person event with live speakers for 2-days in mid-January, in regional locations, and one additional in-person event at DWU in mid-July at the conclusion of the program in order to engage in some additional learning, worship together, and celebrate the finish.
Mandatory Pre-Program Requirements
All students are required to complete this pre-program survey prior to the program start date. A link to complete the pre-program student survey can be found below.
Congregational leaders survey
Please send the following link to three members of your congregational leadership team by June 15th. Recipients might include: a member of your SPRC, Council, or other Leadership Team. We collect both pre and post program surveys to analyze the impact of this program on the local church and look at growth throughout the program. Included in the pre-program survey are questions aimed at helping inform the direction applied projects might take as well. Feel free to copy and paste the text below into the email or modify as you wish:
“In July I will begin my one-year graduate certificate program in nonprofit church leadership from Dakota Wesleyan University. The program is designed to assist in my own development as a leader while also providing benefit to our congregation through the applied projects that are delivered throughout the program. Please take a few moments to complete the survey at the link below. DWU will collect responses from you now and again at the conclusion of the program, one year from now, to compare results and analyze the impact of the program. If possible, please complete the survey by July 5th. Thank you for your help.”
- Review the July Gatherings information on this webpage.
- All students should verify that they have the appropriate technology prior to the program start date. See technology section on this page.
- Log into the NPA600: The Path of Stewardship 1 and NPA630: Applied Project Classrooms in Canvas. Review the information and make note of any questions you might have. **These classrooms will be open beginning July 5th.**
Technology, LMS, and Campus Messaging
Each student is required to have a portable electronic device (Laptop, IPAD, Tablet) that is updated and capable of supporting video streaming, document downloads and uploads.
Students who need Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) can download and/or access Office for free. Access Office at https://www.office.com/ and sign in with your DWU email and password.
We also recommend the use of Google Chrome for a web browser.
Each student will be required to participate in live lectures and coaching sessions, using Microsoft TEAMS or other virtual conferencing software. Devices must be equipped with video and microphone capability, either within the operating system or attached.
Click here to discover tips on getting started with DWU technology.
Learning Management System and Campus Portal
TigerNet is our internal campus portal used to host information such as: final student grades, access to the online library, and other student life resources. The TigerNet address is: TigerNet.dwu.edu. While most of student learning will happen through Canvas, we do encourage students to bookmark the TigerNet URL on their computer for access to the library and final grades.
Canvas is the learning management system DWU uses for all online courses, applied project work, group work, and some coaching. Much of the communication between faculty and students will occur through the Canvas messaging system. Canvas can be used through the Google Chrome web browser and the Canvas Student app, found in the app store for Android and IOS devices. Students should complete the Canvas tutorial prior to the initial gathering in July.
DWU Messaging and Email
Your DWU Email is hosted by Microsoft Office 365 and offers anywhere access, storage, and collaborative features. Due to security and privacy regulations followed by DWU, all official communication will be sent through this email address, Canvas messaging, or regular postal mail while you are a student at DWU. You can access your student email in the lower left section of TigerNet or directly at outlook.com/go.dwu.edu. We recommend that students also set up Outlook on their mobile phone or other electronic devices. Students are expected to check their messages daily. Please be aware that not all official all-campus communication will pertain to students in this program. Seek guidance from the program director if there is a communication that you have questions or concerns about.
Full Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org (i.e. email@example.com)
We look forward to gathering with you in July. It will be a wonderful time of networking with peers, getting to know your coaches, and learning from keynote presenters and fellow scholars.
Please complete this survey, once you have your travel arrangements finalized, to let us know about your travel plans, accommodation requests, and dietary restrictions.
Please remember that you will be required to have a laptop, tablet, or iPad with you to participate in the event. If you must join virtually, also ensure that you have a solid internet connection and video and audio capabilities necessary for streaming and virtual participation.
Site Facilitator Contact Information
Alisha Vincent: firstname.lastname@example.org
When completing this survey, students will signify their housing preference.
Students can reserve their own room using the DWU block at either the Hampton Inn (605-995-1575), or Comfort Inn (605-990-2400). Students will be responsible for paying and getting reimbursed by their sponsoring organization, if applicable.
OR Students can stay in DWU housing for $30 per night (billed to student or to sponsor). DWU housing is in new and/or remodeled and airconditioned dorms. Bathrooms are separated. Linen services will be provided (towel set, bedding, blanket, pillow). We do recommend bringing an additional blanket. Bring your own toiletries.
If scholars are flying through the Sioux Falls (FSD) airport or staying in a hotel, we will offer a shuttle service at certain times of the day. If using the shuttle for airport pick up and departure, students will be billed $30 total.
Download a copy of the agenda here. Please make note that the airport is an hour’s drive from/to campus and make flight arrangements with that in mind. The airport is small and typically travelers need to be at the airport 60 minutes prior to boarding.
Course access links related to your program will appear on the “Dashboard” within Canvas at least three days before the start of the course. If you do not see your upcoming course within this time frame, please contact email@example.com.
In the Canvas class you will find the syllabus, course objectives, required textbooks and other needed materials. The following will each have a separate classroom in Canvas.
Once your class is complete, you may still see the link for the completed course up to 14 days after the final grade is entered. Please be sure to download, save, or bookmark resources that you want to retain from your course.
NPA 680 The Path of Stewardship 3
NPA 640 The Path of Stewardship 2
NPA 615 Financial Resource Management
NPA 630 Applied Project
NPA 600 The Path of Stewardship 1
NPA 620 Governance, Personnel and Volunteer Management
NPA 650 Vision, Strategy, and Evaluation
NPA 661 Communications and Community Outreach
NPA 610 Financial Resource Development
LIVE LECTURES: Instructors in the 7-week, online, courses host several live lectures each term. These are 1-hour sessions with guest experts, book authors, and more and occur on Mondays at 12 Central Time. Please make sure to reserve Mondays at noon central time in your calendars for these sessions.
Each class varies in terms of textbook requirements. Professors will notify students, either via email or through Canvas messaging, what texts or other learning resources might be required to purchase before the start of class. Students are responsible for having necessary academic resources required by the professor. If assistance is needed, please contact the Program Director.
You can use a company of your choice to order books. If you wish to order your books through DWU Bookstore please email the bookstore director, Lori Solberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books are typically located in the resources area of your Canvas classroom or in your course syllabus.
Any student who believes she or he may need academic accommodations or access accommodations based on the impact of a documented disability is encouraged to contact and register with Student Disability Services prior to the beginning of the first online class. Student Disability Services is the official office to assist and support students in the process of disability verification and coordination of appropriate and reasonable accommodations. Students currently registered with Student Disability Services must obtain new accommodation letters each semester.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees the privacy of students with disabilities.
For more information, questions, and/or accommodation arrangement, please contact:
You should view your final grades for each session within TigerNet.
Click on the Advising tab and then Grades and Transcripts on the left-hand side. Select your term.
The grade recorded on the grade report will be the official grade on record and may be different than what is shown in the course gradebook. If you believe there is an error in your grade you should first contact your instructor. If not resolved, please refer to the appeal process in the online catalog.
Graduate Certificate Process
Students who have successfully passed each course and completed all requirements with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above (or CR if taking courses as CR/NC) are eligible to apply for the certificate. Certificates will be awarded to students who have completed all classes within one month of the completion of the program. Students will be sent information about completing an online application for certification in May, prior to program completion. Directions on requesting an official transcript can be found here.
DWU offers a unique opportunity for PCL certificate earners to finish their Master of Business Administration by taking an additional 18 credits. This part-time, flexible, all-online program is completed less than a year and features relevant classroom learning that is applicable to your professional life. For more information contact the admissions coordinator.
Important Program Contacts
For all technology related questions or troubleshooting: email@example.com
For questions regarding admissions for PCL or the MBA: Missy Leuthold, Admissions Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions regarding classes in Canvas or your schedule: email@example.com.
For questions regarding coaching: William Lewis, Coaching Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning to Move
If you plan to move while working on your certification, please let us know so that we can update our records.