Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Exploring Ministry Preparation Options for Universal Life Church Clergy


The Universal Life Church (ULC) has long offered a range of courses, providing individuals with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of various aspects of religion and spirituality. While these courses are not accredited by traditional institutions, they serve a valuable purpose within the ULC community. Additionally, there are other unaccredited seminary options available for those interested in pursuing ministry roles, as well as accredited seminaries for individuals seeking recognized theological education. In this blog post, we will explore the courses offered by the ULC, highlight some unaccredited seminary options, and discuss a couple of accredited seminaries.

Courses Offered by the Universal Life Church: 

The ULC offers courses such as "Doctor of Biblical Studies" and "Science of Understanding Life." These courses have been available since the early days of the ULC and were designed by Rev. Kirby J. Hensley, the founder of the ULC, who sought to challenge established norms and offer unique educational opportunities. While these courses are not accredited by external bodies, they hold value within the ULC community, promoting individual thinking and personal growth. The ULC headquarters in Modesto offers these courses, allowing individuals to enroll, complete the coursework, and obtain a diploma.

Unaccredited Seminary Options for ULC Ministers: 

If you are considering a career in church ministry, parachurch work, nonprofit organizations, or teaching in non-academic settings, unaccredited seminaries can provide relevant education at a lower cost. Two unaccredited seminaries worth considering are Rockbridge Seminary and Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary.

Rockbridge Seminary, located in Springfield, Missouri, offers a distance learning program. While it claims accreditation through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), this accreditation might not be recognized by most employers. Rockbridge Seminary follows an evangelical approach and requires applicants to be followers of Jesus Christ actively serving in ministry roles.

Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary, based in Evansville, Indiana, has been operating since 1969 and offers courses focused on Christianity. Despite failing to achieve accreditation due to financial and organizational reasons, Trinity College provides degree programs and requires applicants to submit their religious background and references.

Accredited Seminary Options: 

For individuals seeking recognized theological education, accredited seminaries are recommended. One such option is United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (UTSTC) in Minnesota. UTSTC is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and offers a wide range of programs and concentrations. They provide online and in-person learning opportunities, catering to different needs and schedules. UTSTC embraces a progressive and interfaith approach, allowing individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue theological education.

Another accredited seminary worth considering is Community of Christ Seminary, part of Graceland University. Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offers a Master of Arts in Religion program focused on preparing spiritual leaders. Their progressive stance and emphasis on scripture make it an appealing choice for individuals seeking theological education.


The Universal Life Church provides courses that, while not accredited, offer valuable insights and personal growth opportunities within its community. Unaccredited seminaries like Rockbridge Seminary and Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary offer alternative options for individuals interested in pursuing ministry roles at a lower cost. However, if you require accredited theological education, options like United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Community of Christ Seminary provide recognized programs to meet your needs. It's essential to consider your goals and requirements when choosing the right educational path for your spiritual and professional journey.

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