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Certificate in Resilient Service

Cultivate a good life that supports
your good work.

7 months

3 multi-day learning modules

5 circle groups

You care about people, your community, and the world. So you do good work, work that’s for the common good. The work is meaningful—but it’s also demanding of your time, energy, and your very self. It may feel like doing good work infringes on having a good life.

It’s not just that you deserve a good life. Your vocation and community rely on more than what you do. Who you are matters. Cultivating your own formation is a gift that you give not only to your own body and spirit, but to your work and those you serve. That kind of cultivation is what makes leaders and their communities resilient.

Resilience is not just the ability to get through challenges, but to actively become more healthy, whole, and holy because of those challenges.

We’ve designed a one-year program that trains pastors, changemakers in non-profits, social entrepreneurs — leaders doing good work on behalf of their community — to restore their inner resilience and live into their purpose regeneratively.

Begin your Application

Multi-day Learning Modules

People: Learning Module I

Identity is both gifted from God and formed through relationship. This 4-day workshop will invite you to a deeper understanding of how your life experiences have shaped you and your leadership, and to understand the story that God is writing in and through your life.

Practice: Learning Module II

What practices support or compromise our well-being? Why do we continue to engage practices that we know aren’t serving us well? Together, we are curious and compassionate about our formation and our choices. Discussion-oriented teaching sessions focus on the impact of stress; coping strategies and the addictive cycle; and how “self-care” is compromised by resistance and ultimately fails. You’ll leave with a personalized plan to develop your well-being holistically, regeneratively, and flexibly.

This module features learning and activities with Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Dr. Doug Shirley, Dr. Chelle Stearns, and Kate Davis.

Purpose: Learning Module III

A strong sense of purpose that makes meaning of hardship is essential to long-term resilience. Where the Identity module looked to the past formation of your leadership and what has brought you to this point in life, this time will help you discern how those themes might develop and where God might be taking you into the world now and next. Sessions look at myths of call and better ways to think about vocation; redemptive narratives; differentiation in leadership; and the interplay between God, an individual, and community in the creation of call.

Instructional staff in this module include Dr. J Derek McNeil, Dr. Rose Madrid Swetman, Dr. Forrest Inslee, Kate Davis, and Laura Wade Shirley.

Place Project

Ministry is always done in context: a particular place, time, and culture. Leaders must be flexible in order to remain responsive and relevant to their context. Throughout the program, you will be guided through a process of learning to deeply listen, respond, and adapt to your cultural environment. This practical exercise will not only help you to listen to your current context, but will serve as a process you can use again and again, no matter your circumstances.


Participation in the Certificate in Resilient Service will help you to:

  • Understand your leadership style and its formation
  • Narrate where your story and the divine narrative intersect
  • Grow in how you live into and lead from your identity as loved by God
  • Reflect on and grow your spiritual, physical, and psychological health in a peer community
  • Explore practices that heal the negative impact of stress and increase capacity to manage stress effectively
  • Articulate your call and life’s purpose with flexibility to adapt to each new stage of life and ministry
  • Discern how to love God, neighbor, self, and world authentically
  • Examine how theology, care for yourself, and your cultural context interrelate
Download our Research Report

“Resilient leaders don’t just 'bounce back,' they grow stronger from their experiences, and their crises becomes a crucible of formation. They make meaning from hardship and suffering in ways that better equip them to face future difficulties. Resilient leaders are realistic, but hopeful; they hold deep beliefs, but they also are flexible and able to improvise. Resilience is an essential quality for leaders and their organizations if they are to succeed at their mission.”

Kate Davis, Director of Resilient Leaders Project Meet the resilient leaders team

Commitment: Time

The multi-month design is intentional in order to allow you time and space to integrate each learning into your daily life. You will be asked to engage your full self—body, mind, soul—through engaging your past story, current practices, and future call.

2020-21 Program Schedule

Multi-day Modules:
Learning Modules require in-person attendance at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.
People: August 10-13, 2020
Practice: October 26-28, 2020
Purpose: March 1-3, 2021

Circles are online using Zoom, from 10am-11:30am on Fridays.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Friday, November 6, 2020
Friday, December 11, 2020
Friday, February 5, 2021
Friday, March 12, 2021

Commitment: Finances

The program spans two calendar years, which can be helpful in managing budgets and obtaining funds from external providers. Payment plans are available to make this program accessible to you and your unique financial needs.

The cost of the total program (3 cohort gatherings, 5 additional facilitated community groups) is $4,000. Travel, lodging, and most meals are not included. Tuition is not eligible for a charitable tax deduction.

We believe that the impact this program will have on leaders and their organizations is worth the investment of your time, energy, and resources. However, we don’t want costs to be a barrier, so tuition is available at four tiers:

Employer-Supported Registration

$4,000, recommended or those receiving tuition support from a large or for-profit employer

Nonprofit-Supported Registration

$3,000, recommended for those receiving tuition support from a non-profit employer

Self-Supported Registration

$2,000, recommended for participants relying solely on personal funds

Clergy Registration

$1,000, for clergy and church staff relying on personal funds

Please note that there are a limited number of reduced-tuition seats available. If you need to enroll at a reduced rate, we recommend you apply early. If you have access to professional development funds, please pursue them to preserve reduced-tuition seats for those who do not have such access.

Circle Groups

Connect with peers who understand the joys and challenges of leadership as you reflect on teachings and experiences, and as you integrate them into your daily life.

Each Circle is comprised of four to six participants and facilitated by alumni of The Seattle School’s graduate programs. Circles will meet in person as part of each learning module as well as virtually between modules for 90 minutes each time.

Participate in this Project

Participation in the Certificate in Resilient Service from Resilient Leaders Project provides you with opportunities to strengthen your resilience and develop in generative leadership for your community. At the same time, your participation contributes to the body of knowledge about the challenges of Christian leadership today: helping us to continuously improve resources for future leaders and growing the body of Christ into generative centers for community.

Ideal participants understand their work as a call to serve God and neighbor: clergy, nonprofit directors or managers, social entrepreneurs, not-just-for-profit business executives.

Participants should currently be employed in a leadership position and have completed some form of vocational or ministerial training.

Participants might be facing a personal or organizational crisis. You might be disillusioned with the system. Perhaps you feel you lack fitness, purpose, and/or community. We recognize that often the words “burnout”, “exhaustion”, and/or “loneliness” resonate with people who are successful in their work, though their relationships or health suffer. You are welcome to join us in learning how to flourish in difficulty.

Admissions Deadlines & Review Process

Each annual cohort is limited to 18 participants, so we recommend applying early. Following each application deadline, our Admissions Review Committee will review your application and your Admissions Counselor will notify you of your admission status.

Following each deadline, our Admissions Review Committee will review applications and you will be notified about your admission status.

Certificate in Resilient Service Admission Deadlines:

  • Early Decision: February 14, 2020*
  • Priority Application: April 10, 2020
  • General Admission: May 8, 2020

After May 8, 2020, applications can be submitted on a rolling basis until July 10.

*Recommended application deadline for participants in need of reduced tuition, as those seats are limited and fill quickly.

“This project started from an idea that the church and it’s leadership needed support. It’s a reconnecting with the church for us. We are not just an institution that is criticizing or critiquing the church, but one that is engaged and loves the church”

Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Acting President of The Seattle School
Experience a New Take on Resilience

Ready for the next step?

Connect with us! Request more information or apply today, and we’ll send you everything you need to know begin your journey.