Best Skills Best Churches

Best Skills Best Churches logo

These days, it’s not business as usual in our churches. Become a reliable, knowledgeable partner to help run a successful nonprofit—your church!

Thanks to our continued partnership with ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona proudly offers a holistic nonprofit management graduate/executive level certificate program: Best Skills Best Churches. This Nonprofit Management Program is specially designed to empower faith leaders by teaching best practices in nonprofit management to strengthen and grow Christ’s church. Graduates will earn a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Arizona State University.

Cost and Registration

  • $485 and includes all course materials.

Course Dates

We will continue to host the program via Zoom for the 2022-2023 Best Skills Best Churches cohort. Please refer to the course schedule below. Each course module will consist of a Friday evening class, from 6 pm to 9 pm, followed by a Saturday morning class, from 9 am – 12 pm.

  • November 4th & 5th, 2022 – Volunteers in Service
  • December 2nd & 3rd, 2022 -Legal Aspects of Governance
  • January 6th & 7th, 2023 – Effective Communication & Handling Conflict
  • February 3rd & 4th, 2023- Marketing and Community Presence
  • March 10th & 11th, 2023 – Financial Management for Effective Service
  • April 21st & 22nd, 2023 – Fundraising Aspects of Stewardship
  • April 22nd, 2023 – Graduation

Class Day Overview

Best Skill Best Churches is a 6-month program consisting of 6 course modules, 12 classes total. There are 2 classes per module. This year we will continue to host the program via Zoom. The schedule is shown above. We will meet on Friday evening from 6 pm – 9 pm, where an ASU instructor who is a topic expert on current best practices within the secular nonprofit community. Then on Saturday morning, from 9 am – 12 pm, a topic expert responder from the Diocese of Arizona will share details and insights on how to apply this to our church world. This is an interactive program. There will be a case study and other required coursework.  Prework assignments will be released two weeks in advance of each module and there will be supporting assignments to follow. The supporting assignments, along with any absentee essays (see ‘Absences’ section below) will be due 2 weeks after each specific course module. Please submit all coursework to Toni Murdock at  


In order to successfully complete the Best Skills Best Churches program and receive your certificate, attendance is expected at all 12 classes. We allow up to 2 class absences. If you need to miss a class, please contact Toni Murdock at You will then be required to watch the recorded module (both the Friday and Saturday class) and submit a 500-word essay answering a question pertaining to the module topic. The recorded module and question will be sent the Monday following the absence. As mentioned above, the absentee essay, along with the supporting assignments, (see ‘Class Day Overview’ section above) will be due 2 weeks after each specific course module. Please submit all coursework to Toni Murdock at  

Course Descriptions

Volunteers in Ministry

Managing our most valuable assets: Volunteers in service. People, whether they are employees or volunteers, are the life force of any nonprofit organization. This training module will provide tools for developing job descriptions, recruiting/hiring, orienting, training, and evaluating and coaching the performance of employees and volunteers. Special emphasis will be placed on communication, motivation, and recognizing volunteer and employee efforts including appreciation and celebration.

Legal Aspects of Governance

Participants will learn about the legal aspects of nonprofit governance. The role of the vestry will be discussed as high-quality leaders in the parish and their role in leading the church into the future.  An understanding and appreciation of the roles of board members will be discussed. The role of strategic planning in governance will also be discussed.

Effective Communication & Handling Conflict

This course will provide participants with a foundation for dealing with the types of internal and external communications needed to effectively manage staff, volunteers, and congregants. Participants will explore various ways to address conflictual issues from governance to financial stability, and best practices in managing parish ministries programing

Marketing and Community Presence

What is the public face of your faith-based organization in the larger community? What role does marketing play? How can you better use new technologies and relevant language to reach members and prospective members? How do you become known in your community?  How do you develop your brand?  This course will explore marketing concepts that offer an inviting message to the community and appeal to non-attending people.  It will provide practical insights on using tools such as websites, blogs, Facebook, etc., to create a message that will resonate with and welcome people outside of your current membership.

Financial Management for Effective Service

How do you ensure you have the necessary resources to meet the mission of your nonprofit organization? Accounting practices for nonprofits will be explored, as well as ethical and legal/tax issues. In addition, budgeting, and how to read financial statements will be covered.

Fundraising Aspects of Stewardship & Graduation

This course will explore tools to enhance your congregation’s stewardship and giving, with checks and balances to maintain transparency. This module explores the basics of philanthropy and the donor-centered fund development process and how to create a plan that will result in effective fundraising strategies for staff and volunteers – even in tough economic times.  The discussion will be on how to raise enough funds to effectively cover the operating budget.

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