Engaging in Ministry with the Poor

MTSO hosts a certification program of the United Methodist Church.

A new focus

In 2008, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted Four Areas of Focus for the Church. Among them: Engaging in Ministry with the Poor. Now a significant certification program, approved by the Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, will equip leaders – through both classroom work and community engagement – to serve those in poverty.

A unique partnership

Methodist Theological School in Ohio offers this pilot program in partnership with Community Development for All People, a faith-based organization working to improve the economic, social and spiritual quality of life for residents of the south side of Columbus, Ohio. Its ministry includes the United Methodist Church for All People, the United Methodist Free Store and numerous other services.

A professional growth opportunity

This partnership provides a valuable educational option to a broad range of church leaders, from graduate seminary students to church elders and deacons to laity seeking certification.

A hands-on curriculum

Certification in Engaging in Ministry with the Poor will require a minimum of five courses. Two of those courses will be taught on location at Community Development for All People by staff approved as MTSO adjunct faculty:

Being with the Poor: This class provides students opportunities to enhance their affinity for ministering to the poor. As they study the difference between middle- and low-income persons, students will be encouraged to develop approaches that bridge those differences and create positive connections.

Congregations and Communities as Partners in Ministry with the Poor:While examining best practices used by congregations and community groups that have successfully launched and grown ministries with the poor, students will learn to identify community-based assets, develop partnerships and implement principles of social entrepreneurship.

In addition, students will take three courses on the MTSO campus:

Theology and Practices of Ministry: An overview of theological issues, basic theological concepts and practical theology methods. The course explores ways of engaging theology, context, and various practices of ministry by drawing upon the discipline of practical theology.

Engaging the Bible in Congregation and Community: An exploration of the nature of the Bible and its role in congregations and communities. Particular themes will be explored in their various biblical contexts and in relation to the contemporary world. Particular attention will be given to approaches to engaging the Bible as the church’s book of faith and life.

United Methodist Studies: One of three United Methodist studies courses: United Methodist History, United Methodist Doctrine, or United Methodist Polity.

Upcoming classes

Schedules of all of our classes are on the Registrar page.  United Methodist courses in history, doctrine and polity are offered Fall, January and Spring.

Summer 2016 (registration deadline June 16, 2016)

  • PT-530:  Congregations and Communities as Partners in Ministry with the Poor (July 24-30, 2016)

January 2017 (registration deadline January 2, 2017)

  • PT-525:  Being with the Poor (January 8-13, 2017)

Spring 2017 (registration deadline January 16, 2017)

  • PT-505:  Theology and Practices of Ministry (hybrid: Feb. 10-11 (MTSO), Feb. 24-25 (online); Mar. 17-18 (MTSO), Mar. 24-25 (online); Apr. 28-29 (MTSO)

Summer 2017 (registration deadline June 12, 2017)

  • PT-510:  Engaging Bible in Congregation and Community (July 17-28)
  • PT-530:  Congregations and Communities as Partners in Ministry with the Poor (July 9-15, 2017)

United Methodist studies courses for the full academic year are listed in the course schedules on the Registrar page. Information about certification through the United Methodist Church – as well as the certification scholarship application – can be found on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Certification Studies website.


To register for upcoming classes, contact Director of Admissions Benjamin Hall at bhall@mtso.edu or 740-362-3447.