Pathways Online Courses

Pathways Online Course Program

Pathways Online Courses are offered to provide educational preparation toward leading a congregation as a Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) or Commissioned Lay Pastor (CLP). Courses are open to all, and one does not need to be working toward becoming a CRE or CLP in order to participate. Courses aim to enhance knowledge and discipleship, and each course includes live (synchronous) class meetings as well as asynchronous (at-home) assignments. Class meetings will not be recorded.


We anticipate that registration for our 2024-2025 Pathways Online Courses will open sometime in July 2024. Please check back frequently for any updates.


Phase 1 (Foundational) Core Courses

  • Biblical Interpretation
  • Reformed Theology
  • Church History
  • The Christian Life
  • Mission & Evangelism

Phase 2 (Practical Ministry) Core Courses

  • Polity and Administration
  • Teaching the Bible
  • Worship and Sacraments
  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • Preaching

Additional Course Info:

  • Leaders: Union Presbyterian Seminary faculty and experienced practitioners
  • Early Registration for our 2024-2025 courses will be $170 per course
  • Standard/Late Registration: Within two weeks of the first class meeting date, tuition increases by $25 per course
  • CEUs: 3.0 per course
  • For: Open to all, including those desiring to become Commissioned Ruling Elders or Commissioned Lay Pastors, as well as church and community members who want to further their education and discipleship
  • In addition, we offer a self-directed New Testament Bible Survey course, which is online with pre-recorded lectures and quizzes, as well as an Old Testament Bible Survey course (see below for details)

Course sizes are limited. If a course reaches maximum registration capacity, a waiting list will be started. Tuition cost per course is $170. Each course may include a required text, not included in the course tuition. Note: Within two weeks of the beginning of each course, the tuition increases by $25 per course.

After you register for a course and as it is shared with us by the instructors, the syllabus will be sent to participants, usually in advance of the first class meeting. The online class meeting link will be shared within the course syllabus and/or by way of email.

Once registration opens, the full schedule for the 2024-2025 academic year of the online courses, along with instructor bios and course descriptions, may be found on the registration page by selecting the appropriate tabs, such as “Course Instructors” and “Schedule of Courses,” on the header bar of the registration summary page.


Bible Survey Courses – Self-paced to complete at your convenience on your own timeline within a year of registration. After you register for one of the Bible Survey courses, you will be sent a login and password to begin the course for which you registered.

  • New Testament Bible Survey course – available now – Click here to REGISTER for the NT Bible Survey Course only
  • Old Testament Bible Survey course – available now – Click here to REGISTER for the OT Bible Survey Course only
  • Cost per online Bible Survey course is $165 until June 30


Why Pathways? The Leadership Institute desires to assist presbyteries to train men and women to be Commissioned Ruling Elders or Commissioned Lay Pastors, AND to offer quality educational opportunities for church members and lay leaders in an affordable and accessible way.

  • While we do not regulate how many courses are taken within an academic year, it is our suggestion that those seeking to become Commissioned Ruling Elders (CREs) or Commissioned Lay Pastors (CLPs) take five Foundational Courses in the first year, and five Practical Ministry Courses in the second year.  Please consult with your presbytery on their particular requirements, as these courses are taken in consultation with your presbytery or denominational office to provide educational experiences toward becoming a CRE or CLP.
  • Church members and lay leaders interested in taking any or all of the courses offered are welcome to do so. It is recommended but not required that the five Foundational Courses be taken before any of the Practical Ministry Courses.