Affordable Diploma & Certificate Ministry Programs

Receive outstanding training without going to grad school through Eastern's School of Christian Ministry (ESCM)

Imagine a door and behind the door is your next step. All you must do to see what's behind it, is knock. The task is simple—knock and then ask if this step is the one where you are being led, guided by the affirmation that God’s word will be a "lamp to your feet and light to your path" (Psalm 119:105).

In discerning your next educational or theological move, you may be considering a multitude of factors related to finances, your qualifications, the current state of the world, and which program is the best for you amongst other things. Within our educational options at Palmer Theological Seminary, we offer a variety of pathways that may more closely relate to your current positioning, desires, or capacity.

Palmer's Eastern School of Christian Ministry (ESCM) widens the narrow gate of graduate level programs in the form of flexible, affordable, and high-quality non-degree programs for pastors, ministers, and lay leaders who wish to hone their skills in the areas of leadership or religious studies and teaching. Only a high-school diploma is required for admission.

With both comprehensive diploma and certificate programs, ESCM is more closely designed to reach you at the day-to-day work of your hands. The offerings include a diploma in Pastoral Studies, Biblical and Theological Studies, and certificate programs in Biblical, Christian Leadership, and Christian studies.

ESCM Student Testimonial

Charlotte Cropper, ESCM Diploma of Biblical and Theological Studies '24, shares  that "the school's reputation in the community was a key factor" in her decision to join the Eastern School of Christian Ministry (ESCM). "I needed to expand my knowledge and felt that ESCM was a good fit for me," she added. Being retired has given her the opportunity to devote more time to her studies. 

While discerning ESCM, Charlotte prayed for direction and kept her mind open to other schools. Additionally, she sought the recommendation of her pastor after a past experience with another school left her "somewhat reluctant to try again." After a smooth enrollment process, she hasn't looked back since. 

As a direct result of her learning in the program she was excited to note that her biggest win was "being exposed to the knowledge that my professors have shared in each class." While broadening her understanding of the Bible and the church in her learning, she has been able to apply it to her current role as a Bible study teacher. Charlotte described the experience as being both humbling and joyful. 

"The experience has been humbling because I found out that there's been so much I have yet to learn. The old adage that we are never too old to learn applies to me. With that, there is a joy in what has been gained in knowledge of the word."

Lastly, Charlotte shared words of gratitude for the opportunity to be an ESCM student and for the life God blessed her with. 

ESCM may not be the typical door to knock upon and enter, but the beauty of the Kingdom of God is that there is more than one door that you can enter for ministry.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8)

Cheryl Hargrave, Director of ESCM shared these words:
"Eastern School of Christian Ministry has been an open door of opportunity for many students to gain affordable theological education through its Certificate and Diploma Program. I am happy to announce that ESCM will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2022.  Our mission is to equip women and men for effective Christian leadership and service to local churches and their neighboring communities.  In addition, we nurture a student’s personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth."

Learn more about how you can earn a certificate or diploma with our ESCM program 
at Palmer Theological Seminary.

Sanovia Garrett, MA ’18, is a resident instigator, sparker, and innergizer of all things joyful and authentic. She loves the creative arts. She is a performing artist, entrepreneur, and the social media and communications manager for Palmer Theological Seminary.