Iowa Licensing School

We are excited to walk beside you in fulfilling God's uniquely wonderful call upon your life to licensed local ministry.  This year, we are thrilled to offer a virtual online format that allows for greater accessibility to our participants while still maintaining our high quality learning experience.  

Licensing School begins on Saturday, April 10th with an virtual opening retreat.  This new virtual online format will offer an “evening school” atmosphere with two, 2 hr sessions per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 PM; concluding on Saturday, May 29th with a closing retreat. 

Please see the Iowa Licensing School Brochure for more information.

The Iowa Licensing School will be April 10th - May 29th. Register online or view printable fillable registration form

April 10th, Saturday:  Orientation Retreat 8:45 AM to 3:45 PM
Block #1 (Tuesday, 6-8 PM):
 Pastoral Care: April 13th, 20th, 27th
Block #2 (Thursday, 6-8 PM): Leadership/Polity: April 15th, 22nd, 29th
Block #3 (Tuesday, 6-8 PM): Discipleship/Evangelism: May 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th
Block #4 (Thursday, 6-8 PM): Preaching/ Worship: May 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
May 29th, Saturday: Closing Retreat & Graduation 8:45 AM to 2:00 PM

Book Bundle through Cokebsury  

Here is the link for the additional recommended text

More detailed description of Licensing School focus areas.

Leadership / UM Polity
Leadership/UM Polity Syllabus



The pastor is a servant leader of a local church – which is a complex organization!  This class will help each student claim their own leadership style for their local context.  We will learn about the polity, structure, and connectional nature of the UMC and how it impacts administrative responsibilities within the local church.  We will explore the role of apportionments, stewardship, and finances, along with membership reporting requirements.  All of this will be grounded in United Methodist tradition and history.     

Required texts:

The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church

Administration in the Small Membership Church (Tyson)

The Necessary Nine: Things Effective Pastors Do Differently (Farr/Kotan)

A Spirituality of Fundraising (Henri J.M. Nouwen)

More resources will be added as we figure out the asynchronous parts of the curriculum!


Discipleship / Evangelism 

Discipleship/Evangelism Syllabus


What is central to being the church? That answer can differ a bit but we believe it must include discipleship and evangelism. Too often we are more focused on budgets and bulletins than on making disciples and transforming the world. In this course, we will explore how we are growing as disciples and how we can then help our churches do the same. From that connection with God we will be able to share the Good News of Christ. We are called to the 4 Greats: Commission, Commandment,  Requirement and Acts.  Within these directives we discover the call of each church and every disciple.

Required texts:

Stride: Creating a Discipleship Pathway for Your Church by Mike Schreiner, Ken Willard

Sent: Living a Life That Invites Others to Jesus by Ashley Holleman, Heather Holleman


Preaching / Worship

Worship & Preaching Syllabus


Worship is at the heart of the Christian community.  Preaching is a fundamental part of the Christian experience.  By the end of Preaching and Worship class, you will know the basic Christian pattern of worship, the fundamentals of a good sermon, and how to craft both.  You will also experience practical training in the sacraments and special services, like weddings and funerals.  New for 2021: We will explore the good and the bad of online worship, including solutions for even the smallest of churches.

Required text:

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones, Multnomah Books, 2006.


Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care Syllabus


Pastoral Care will look at effective and healing relationships with members of the congregation and the community. Students will look at the practice of care, examining tools such as active listening, non judgmental presence, sensitivity in times of crisis, being emotionally present in times of death and dying, and the ability to theologically reflect on the life of persons in their care as well as their own. In addition, the course will look at ways of demonstrating care that makes room for people in whatever circumstance they find themselves in.

Required text:

Pastoral Care in the Small Membership Church by James L. Killen, Jr.

Foolish Church: Messy, Raw, Real, and Making Room by Rev. Lee Schott

A Spirituality of Living by Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series (Upper Room)

Article will be sent to you after registration “Pastoral Care of the Dying: The Art of Being Present”

Recommended: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Cloud and Townsend.

Cultural Competence

Cultural Competence Syllabus

Students will gain understanding of  the importance of cultural competence in every ministry setting. They will have a chance to reflect on their own communities and the diversity in them.

Required text

Article by Michael D. Crane (2015) Multicultural Churches in Global Cities

Feel free to contact Registrar Lisa Steel ( or 515-974-8939) or Dean of the School Rev. Jon Bailey  ( with questions.