Certification and Accreditation
The Urban Ministry Institute concentrates all of its educational programming on ministering effectively among city populations, and all our classes are taught in light of the needs of urban ministry. We believe that the rapid growth of cities around the world presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the church of Jesus Christ. Therefore, each course given by The Urban Ministry Institute has an urban focus and will include content that is important to people who minister in cities.
All of our courses can be applied to one or more of our Certificate or Diploma study programs: The Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies, The Certificate in Urban Theological Studies or The Ministerial Studies Diploma.
As a training center dedicated to honoring and glorifying God in all we do, TUMI is unashamedly committed to academic excellence and quality leadership education. Every resource and program represents our commitment to excellence and God-honoring leadership education that rivals the most rigorous and prestigious programs today. Nevertheless, we have deliberately chosen to remain non-accredited. Why?
To be sure, accrediation in most cases and venues is commendable and beneficial for any leadership training center, affording its students the credibility of accredited studies and the ability to transfer credit to other sister institutions. However, because many of exorbitant prices and academic standards preclude the involvement of many urban leaders from attending, accreditation actually severely limits the student pool of prospective students for ministry education, and effectively shuts out the vast majority of urban applicants in many of our traditional seminaries and Christian liberal arts schools.
In light of these unfortunate circumstances, TUMI has elected to remain unaccredited, not as a cover for supposed mediocrity, but as our way of ensuring that all of our premiere programs and resources can be accessed by any urban leader who is serving their churches and advancing the Kingdom of Christ in the city, and who also may not have either the large sums of funds or the academic background to qualify for that training.
Although we are not accredited, we do affiliate with the Association of Biblical Higher Education, a fine accrediting association of schools and seminaries. Furthermore, we also partner with some accredited liberal arts schools and seminaries where our faculty teach and offer courses. Also, select TUMI courses taken for credit can be transferred to an accredited seminary which recognizes them for graduate level credit.
Here are our Accredited Partners
Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies
The most popular certificate offered by The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) is the “Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies (CLS),” which is conferred upon all students who complete our 16-module, 32-credit-hour program consisting of the Capstone Curriculum. Students from an approved TUMI satellite in good standing are eligible to receive this certificate, provided the curriculum protocols are followed from an approved mentor.
Certificate in Urban Theological Studies
The second most widely-used certificate program is the “Certificate in Urban Theological Studies (CUTS),” which is also a 32-credit-hour program. The difference between this certificate (CUTS) and the Capstone (CLS) certificate is that an approved satellite can work with TUMI to design a unique combination of courses, drawing from three sources:
TUMI’s Capstone Curriculum (an integrated set of 16 fixed courses that will not be added to in the future)
- TUMI’s Foundations Series (an on-going list of TUMI-taught courses covering various topics)
- Courses developed by an approved satellite (“Site Developed Course” [SDC])
Ministerial Studies Diploma
TUMI students may also pursue our advanced program, the Ministerial Studies Diploma by completing an additional 32 credit hours of study (64 credit hours in total). The program begins with the completion of a required course: the Ministry Assessment Project. This course helps a student assess their gifts, calling, and ongoing direction in ministry and brings their pastoral or denominational supervisor in the process of designing their diploma program and coordinating it with their ministry responsibilities. For some, this diploma may form the basis for licensing or ordination by the candidate's church or mission. Again, while a satellite has complete flexibility to select those courses which best meet the needs of their students, they must retain the balance of providing eight credit hours in each department area: Biblical Studies, Theology and Ethics, Christian Ministry, and Urban Mission, and at least 50% of the course work for this certificate must be drawn from our TUMI courses.
Locally Approved Certificates
Some of our partners desire to offer a certificate that is recognized only by themselves and do not seek any approval from TUMI. Each satellite is free to offer such a locally-approved certificates, but the students’ work will not be transferable to other satellites, nor recognized by TUMI’s accredited partners.
In a real sense, the process of academic accreditation was designed to protect students from fraudulent and unethical diploma mills that were suspect academically and criminal ethically. Who among us has not heard of a get-certified-quick kind of enterprise promising a Ph.D. through a phone call and a money deposit? The Urban Ministry Institute affirms and embraces the legitimacy of the various credentialing associations, and believe them in the main to be helpful, responsible, and credible enterprises that move forward responsible scholarship and higher education.
Nevertheless, TUMI has deliberately chosen to operate as a non-accredited training institution. This decision in no way speaks of any desire to ignore traditional academic and ministry standards for its educational programming. Again, we have chosen not to participate in formal accreditation processes in order to remain available to as many students as possible. While accreditation establishes strong criteria to ensure educational and professional excellence, the process can both unknowingly and unfortunately eliminate or exclude many deserving potential students who, because of lack of funds or poor educational background, become disqualified from the leadership eduation offers.