Economics & Pastoral Leadership Project

Economics & Pastoral Leadership Project

Course Series & Certificates


The issue of student debt has become a hot topic across the nation--from recently released documentary films to numerous articles and special news reports in a variety of periodicals and publications. And for good reason! While all agree student debt burden is as a serious problem, solutions remain to be seen. The work of solving this problem will require collaboration from a variety of entities, including from the gamut of higher education institutions. 
Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry is committed to addressing this critical issue, particularly for seminary students. The school has launched a new initiative through the generosity of funding by Lilly Endowment Inc.-- the Economics & Pastoral Leadership Project--to begin to deeply analyze seminary student debt through a multi-layered research effort. In addition to the debt burden itself, the school recognizes that seminary graduates often launch into the complex world of pastoral leadership without sufficient financial literacy and budget management training for their organizational leadership. The Project will result in the creation of curricula that increase financial and management literacy of current seminary students, alumni and working pastoral leaders. Courses will be designed for on-campus learning as well as distance education, to enable broader access. 
Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry is one of only three theological education institutions on the United States’ West Coast invited by Lilly Endowment Inc. to participate in this national effort to address seminary student debt. 

Objectives & Outcomes

A key objective of the Project is to form new local and regional partnerships by engaging with regional ministers, pastors, and leaders of faith-based and not-for-profit organizations on the connection between effective pastoral leadership and student debt burden. 

The Project culled research data on the local, regional and national level to identify the scope of the issue of student debt and economic challenges facing ministry students and graduates, as well as pastors. These data informed the development of a new curriculum model, which included thoroughly vetted courses in financial literacy and management developed by experts in those fields. 

Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry is partnering with the university’s Albers School of Business and Economics, including its faculty and partners, as the business school has been rightly ranked in its class nationally by U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Business Week.  

Opportunities for Partnership & Collaboration

  • Apply or nominate someone to serve as a member on the Financial Literacy and Management in Ministry Council.
  • Assist in the development of financial literacy and management curriculum by joining one of our course development teams.

To explore more about these opportunities, please contact Thanh-Thuong (ThuongChuChe, Program Manager, at or 206-296-5330.

Course Series and Certificates

Certificate in Church and Non-profit Management

About the Certificate:

Financial management can make or break a church or faith-based organization. Faith leaders receive training in soul and community care, yet they are rarely equipped with the necessary tools for human resource management, financial oversight, tax and benefit considerations, fundraising, communications, and operations.

This unique class series and certificate program equips leaders, staff and board members with tools to engage issues of financial and organizational management that can dramatically impact the sustainability of their communities of faith.

This certificate program and class series is designed with action in mind—equipping each participant with tools for his or her organization. Areas addressed include issues of finance, operations, basic accounting, marketing and communications, stewardship or fundraising, as well as the development of both a personal and communal theology of finance and economics, and much more.

Churches and nonprofits face the responsibility of operations and staffing, along with overhead costs of buildings and utilities, while often shouldering a student debt burden in their personal lives in the process—due to the rising cost of seminary and graduate education. Course instructors bring not only subject matter expertise in leadership and financial management but come from a place of personal experience within faith communities and faith-based nonprofit institutions.

Completion of this certificate signifies completion of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry course series taught by graduate-level faculty, providing practical tools and developing skills for financial literacy and management specifically in nonprofits and churches.

Participate at your own pace!

Take individual courses alone or with your staff team! You’re welcome to only take the courses that you are drawn to, or you can take all of them. Participants in the entire class series earn a Certificate in Church and Non-profit Management.

Contact with any interest in graduate Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

We are happy to offer this opportunity intentionally at a low cost to participants, and is made possible due to a partnership with Seattle University’s award-winning Albers School of Business and Economics and one of the most unique seminaries in the U.S.. Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry is one of 67 schools nationwide selected and funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. to facilitate programs that respond to the growing issue of student debt and support the future of faith-based organizations

Click here for more information on the course series and certificates.


Contact Us

Dean Mark S. Markuly, PhD, Project Director
Thanh-Thuong T. ChuChe, MA, Program Manager
206-296-5330 |