LIFE - Leadership In Faith & Economics


Earn a certificate from the convenience of your home, parish, or office

Somewhere between 4,000 to 7,000 churches will close their doors every year. A recent article entitled "13 Issues for Churches in 2013," in the Huffington Post states that the number has increased to 8,000 and 10,000. There are a number of reasons, however, it is largely due to economics. This certificate program, Leadership in Faith and Economics (LIFE), was created to provide pastors and non-profit leaders with the tools to help them navigate their path to success.

All courses are online, asynchronous courses and the dates for the courses follow the university’s dates for the quarters.
Asynchronous means that all course activity is done online. There are no required face-to-face sessions within the course and no requirements for on-campus activity. The Internet allows students to take a course at home using a personal computer. Familiarity with using a computer and basic Internet skills (browsing, sending e-mail, saving/sending files) is required. Students must have a computer with Internet access. 

  • Fall 2018
  • Winter 2019
  • Spring 2019

Classes in the Series, Class Titles and Descriptions:

Talking Faith & Money: At the Intersection of Theology, Economics & Organizational Realities

This introductory course provides a foundational theology that allows religious leaders to explore the often unrecognized “theology of economics” and “theology of organizations” informing their own individual life and the theology of their faith community.

Students learn how faith and theological insight intersect with themes of money, economics, and organizational management.


Overseeing Organizational Finances

While church and nonprofit leaders may not directly manage the sums and figures of accounting, skills and knowledge are imperative to sustainably manage and oversee accounting and finance operations.

This course gives students the language and knowledge needed to address the many financial issues every faith-based organization must address.


Taking Strategic Action: Building Mission-centered Operations & Business Practices

While faith and mission fuel the way we are church and operate nonprofits, tools are often necessary and helpful to engage in strategic planning and goal-setting in a way that is realistic while inviting participation and collaboration. Church and nonprofit leaders have the responsibility of building operations and practices that support themselves, their leadership teams and staff, volunteers and community members.

This course provides students with practical tools for creating “operations” and “business” structures that will support and sustain a faith community’s mission.


Research-Based Program

Case Studies
Advisory Groups


Managing Personal Finances

This introductory course provides a foundational theology that allows religious leaders to explore the often unrecognized “theology of economics” and “theology of organizations” informing their own individual life and the theology of their faith community.

This course provides students with concrete tools navigating their vocation call within the limits and possibilities of financial realities. 


Cultivating Private Donors & Community Partners for Fundraising

Opportunities exist every day for individuals, community organizations, and grants to fund programs and initiatives within churches and nonprofits. This class provides an opportunity for students to become acquainted with the basics of fundraising and to cultivate skills for making those asks in a way that is true to the heart of their work.

This class introduces students to the basics of fundraising and helps them cultivate skills and perspectives for building a solid stewardship program that supports ministerial action.


Developing the Must-Haves of Marketing & Communication

How can we tell the story of our church or community in a way that winsomely represents its heart and soul well? Where, when and how can we share meaningful content that represents our unique communities?

This class provides students with an overview of basic marketing and communications tools and resources, including strategies for creating communication plans for programs, community life, and public theology.



Piloted as the certificate in Church and Faith-Based Non-Profit Management. Questions about the certificate, please contact Carolyn M. Dougherty, Assistant Director of Admissions & Student Services at (206) 296-5333 or email at


Gainful Employment Disclosure

Federal regulations published in October of 2010 by the Secretary of Education require institutions to disclose to prospective students particular information regarding academic programs that qualify for Title IV federal student financial aid under the "gainful employment" provision. Seattle University provides the following program disclosures on Gainful Employment eligible School of Theology and Ministry certificate programs.


Although pastoral in nature, parishes function in the private sector and therefore require business acumen to accomplish their intended purpose. The chancery of my archdiocese has expressed its support for the LIFE and considers the forthcoming curriculum to be a critical step forward in enhancing the business-related functions of parish administration.

Dennis Applegate Parish Administrator for St. Monica Catholic Church, CPA, Advisory Board

Two enrollment options

Graduate Credits
Professional Development