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SDB University (SDBU)

sdb-university-logoEducation is a high value among Seventh Day Baptists.  From our frontier days to the present, we have prioritized training in Christian life and witness as a people.  This is true for all of our people, but especially of our leaders.  For this reason, the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of the United States and Canada continues to develop and administer educational programs meant to aid members of local churches in making the best use of their various giftings for the glory of God’s Kingdom.

The education necessary to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is not solely an academic endeavor, however, and so Seventh Day Baptists emphasize both academic and practical education for all of our members.  Equipping the saints for works of service therefore takes many forms, and must take place in the context of local churches.

In 2016, the SDB General Conference continued in this long tradition through the introduction of an integrative educational initiative called SDB University (SDBU).  SDBU is, at its core, a new expression of two ideas long prevalent among SDBs in our education:  training of the laity at the level of the local church, and the training of pastors and leaders from outside the local church as they serve from within a local covenant body.

The program literature linked below provides outlines for three certificate level classes.  Each level is targeted for a slightly different group of people, but in each case, participation in the program is limited to those who meet the following entry requirements:

  1. Membership and regular and substantive participation in a local SDB church.
  2. Recommended by their local church to undertake the program.
  3. Mentorship, opportunities for ministry, and accountability in the training will be provided by the sponsoring church.

Beyond these basic requirements, additional requirements may also apply depending on the program.  These programs are meant to build on the previous levels, and so individuals seeking one of the pastoral leadership certificates may be asked to complete one of the previous programs first, depending on ministry experience and formal education.  Individuals with such experience are invited to contact us for more information and to inquire about specifics for placement in our programs. 

Lay Leadership Certificate Program (PDF)

Pastoral Leadership Certificate Program (PDF)

Advanced Pastoral Leadership Certificate Program (PDF)

SDB University is administered by the Director of Education and History/Dean of the School of Ministry, Nick Kersten, under the supervision of the Christian Education Council and the Council on Ministry as part of the SDB School of Ministry.  If you have questions about the program, or wish to inquire further, please contact Nick by email ( or phone (608-752-5055, ext. 1006).

Local SDB churches with specific training needs are invited to contact us–customized training for use in your local church may be available!   At this time, these programs are only available for Seventh Day Baptists in the United States and Canada.  Seventh Day Baptists who are members of other SDB Conferences are invited to contact the SDB Missionary Society for more information about training opportunities in your context.