MITCHELL — Dakota Wesleyan University celebrated the second class of United Methodist Church pastors to complete the nonprofit church leadership (NPCL) graduate certificate program via a virtual gathering July 6-7.

The program is a joint effort of DWU and the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church that launched in July 2018 with participants enrolled from South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota. The program has expanded to include ministry leaders serving outside of traditional congregations and has included a broader ecumenical reach with pastors from other denominations.

The program consists of 4 appropriately paced, three-credit, online learning classes that teach church leaders how to raise funds, recruit and manage volunteers, oversee budgets, create and use strategic plans, and develop a congregation that is focused on the purpose of each respective church. These classes are coupled with the development of projects that provide a direct benefit to the pastor and the church. The program also offers plenty of opportunity for engagement among other ministry professionals and fellow students which includes three face-to-face meetings throughout the duration of the program (offered either in-person or online).

Additionally, each student is paired with a coach that helps the student understand the material, execute projects and serve as a mentor.

Dubbed the “pastors’ master’s,” program participants also have an opportunity to transition into DWU’s online MBA program and complete their MBA with an additional 18 credits of coursework.

The NPCL virtual gathering brought together the current cohort to celebrate the completion of the outgoing class, all while welcoming a new group of students that will begin the program in July. A southern cohort consisting of church leaders from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri will also start the program this month. In total, 48 pastors and ministry leaders will be enrolled in the 2020-21 year.

For more information about DWU’s nonprofit church leadership program, visit

The following is a list of area members of the incoming class:

• Jeffrey Otterman, Trinity Lutheran, Yankton;

The incoming southern cohort will consist of approximately 28 members — 10 from Louisiana, 8 from Oklahoma and 10 from Missouri.

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