“I had a wonderful TEL experience. I began in the middle of the TEL year (January’s ‘I’m Gonna Preach’) but I’m glad I didn’t wait to get started! You can really begin at any point and still get the full TEL experience.
“I met new friends and came to love each professor and the way they interacted with us both in class and online. I was sad every time we said our goodbyes in our final class. The sharing can be very intimate as well. Beyond just discussing the material, instructors gave us opportunities to pray for one another, to offer praises and discuss side topics like how we were affected by world politics. Aside from meeting people from around the world, you have the opportunity to learn from Doctor-level professors and all at a very affordable price for each class.
“The TEL experience could be all you are looking for in your work as a leader in your faith community, or it could be a jumping off point into deeper theological study.”
—Scottie Shelton, Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership (CTEL), 2015
TEL learners come from many different faith communities and backgrounds, creating rich opportunities for in-depth dialogue. The minimum age for enrolling in TEL courses is 21.
Spiritual Seekers & Laity
Individual courses and certificate programs are open to all adults who seek to increase their knowledge of theological principles. You are invited to dip your toe into the water of spiritual education and formation, or immerse your whole self. Courses are affordable, compact, and expose you to a range of exciting progressive theological ideas. You may engage in a year of study to complete the CTEL certificate; take seven months to study Gender, Sexuality & the Bible, or simply take a seminar or course that interests you. A bachelor’s degree is not required.
TEL provides high quality adult education programming for individuals and groups from congregations. It also provides focused ministry formation for individuals seeking positions of congregational leadership. Those who earn the CTEL certificate get exposure to a broad range of theology and ministry skills that can deepen biblical understanding, and build new skills.
Lay Ministers & Alternate Paths to Ministry
PSR is working with a number of denominations to provide learning experiences appropriate for ministry preparation. We are in collaboration with UMC’s California Nevada Conference CLayM lay ministry program and the Metropolitan Community Churches’ L.E.A.D. program. Consult with your local denominational representatives to see how TEL can be a part of your formation. See the TEL Certificates page for information about the CTEL and other ministry preparation programs.
TEL offers CEUs for clergy and other professionals.The course offerings are fully accessible online, affordable and engaging for clegy looking to deepen their skills in targeted areas. The instructors are PSR and GTU professors and occasional guest instructors providing opportunities to discuss and explore current global topics.
Those Considering Seminary
Faith seekers and prospective ministers who are discerning their call to serve God in their churches or faith communities and want to explore theological studies will find riches in the program. In TEL you get to know and learn with PSR and Graduate Theological Union (GTU) faculty. Completion of the CTEL certificate entitles graduates already possessing an associate’s degree or above to apply three elective credits toward PSR graduate programs.
Learning in community is rich. We encourage groups to gather together to share a meal and engage with TEL courses and seminars. Perhaps part of the TEL program may serve your congregation’s adult education needs. Or perhaps there are a number of people in different churches in your area who want to move more deeply into progressive Christian ministry. The TEL Program Coordinator can help you form a group in your community. Congregations are invited to consider becoming a TEL Host Site.
Becoming a TEL Host Site is more than simply providing space and access to a virtual classroom experience. As a host site, your congregation can become a community center for gathering adult learners who want to deepen their theological and spiritual knowledge, and explore new avenues of learning and sharing a progressive perspective of Christian faith and practice. Our hope is that TEL host sites will build a community of learners within a regional cohort context.
TEL Host Site FAQ