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Academy of Faith and Leadership

The Academy of Faith and Leadership (AFL) at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) exists to help equip both lay and clergy alike for their lifelong work as ministers of the gospel.

Founded on the premise that all Christians are called to the vocation of ministry in the world, AFL seeks to provide resources that will empower women and men to be faithful disciples of Christ both in the church and in the world. As the seminary's primary avenue for offering continuing education and lifelong learning, the Academy of Faith and Leadership provides a variety of opportunities and resources including:

  • Workshops & seminars for lay and clergy audiences
  • Lectures
  • Resources for congregations like the "What Does This Mean" video series
  • Study Leave for Church Leaders
  • Free audio downloads of past lectures and events
  • Certificate Programs

Certification Programs

Certification in Public Safety Chaplaincy

What is public safety chaplaincy?
Public Safety Chaplaincy is the work of providing pastoral care and support to employees of first responder agencies and their families, as well as to victims of related public safety incidents. Many public safety chaplains work as volunteers, though some departments have paid chaplain positions. The public safety chaplain should be a person who experiences a call to this particular ministry of service and sacrifice, offering themselves as a source of support to women and men whose daily work is often stressful and rigorous emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

The certification in Public Safety Chaplaincy is designed to provide a thorough course of training for those desiring to serve as a public safety chaplain. The curriculum covers the breadth and depth of the topics and issues encountered in the field by the public safety chaplain. It is well-suited for those already serving as chaplains and those who have experiences a call to this ministry but are not yet connected with an agency.

What is involved in this program?
The curriculum includes six modules. Each module involves coursework to be completed at home, including reading and writing. Students are also expected to attend three monthly class meetings.
  • Foundations 1: The Office of Public Safety Chaplain
  • Foundations 2: Pastoral Theology & Issues in Public Safety Chaplaincy
  • Issues & Answers in Public Safety Chaplaincy (suffering, death, evil, grief, crisis, suicide, etc.)
  • Crisis Intervention, Stress Management, Recovery & Resilience
  • Clinical and Professional Perspectives
  • Capstone Course

What is the delivery of the work?
Coursework will be offered in a hybrid distance learning and classroom setting over a period of 18 consecutive months. Students are expected to complete assigned reading an writing on their own in preparation for monthly class sessions held on campus at the seminary in Columbia, SC. All students in the cohort are required to attend the monthly class sessions that begin on Friday afternoon and conclude on Saturday afternoon. Students who successfully complete the training program will receive a certificate of completion. Coursework will reflect the academic rigor and theological depth consistent with an Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). However, courses are not graduate level and are not transferable credits for seminary. Courses are unrelated to licensure or ordination as a public safety chaplain.

Application Requirements

Following the submission of all application materials, applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview with the admission panel.

For more information about this program, contact The Rev. Ginger Barfield, Ph.D. at ginger.barfield@lr.edu or Chaplain Eric Skidmore at eskidmore@sled.sc.gov or 803-206-8961.

Certification in Spiritual Direction

Apply to the Program
What is spiritual direction?
We believe Holy Listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

Within the Christian tradition, we are grounded in the Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective.

What is involved in this program?

  • Four intensives, always from Wednesday noon until Saturday noon
  • Small-member cohorts, each with their own mentor
  • Read key books and short reaction papers
  • Participation in a closed Facebook group with your cohort and mentor
  • Find and meet regularly with a spiritual director
  • Find a willing person to be your spiritual directee
Application Requirements:

  • Background Check Form
  • $40 Application Fee - to cover the cost of the background check. Please make checks payable to Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Letter of Recommendation - Spiritual Director or Faith Leader
  • Letter of Recommendation - Other

Next intensive cycle:
January 15-18, 2020
June 17-20, 2020
January 13-16, 2021
June 16-19, 2021

What does this program cost?
Total cost for the program is $3,000; price includes tuition and meals. Participants find their own lodging (on-campus housing is limited for $25 a night).


For more information about this program, contact: The Reverend Gary Dreier at gary.dreier@lr.edu or 803-461-3222


Ginger Barfield

Executive Director of the Academy of Faith and Leadership, Professor of Theology