Journey: A Conference-based Leadership Development Program

Journey seeks to develop leaders who are centered in Jesus Christ for Mennonite congregations. The program is available to people in any conference of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada who are in pastoral and congregational leadership or who are exploring a call to pastoral ministry. Sponsors are Indiana Michigan and Central District Conferences and the Church Leadership Center of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

The program is grounded in Anabaptist-Mennonite theology. It offers an Anabaptist perspective, based on Jesus Christ, and interpreted by the work of the Holy Spirit through scripture and the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.

The program works in cooperation with Mennonite Church institutions that engage in pastoral leadership education and training. It supports and encourages the pursuit of college and seminary training. It uses programs and resources from Mennonite colleges and seminaries. The program is designed for leaders in local churches who would not typically be trained at academic institutions.

Competency Development

The program helps participants identify and develop competencies in specific transformational areas:

  • Spiritual disciplines: studies focus on prayer and nurture of the inner spirit.
  • Theological and biblical studies: studies focus on developing familiarity with Anabaptist theology and approaches to Bible study.
  • Character development: studies explore courage, consistency, love, self-discipline, etc.
  • Mentoring and community: studies provide students with strong mentors and help them learn to mentor others, and to pay attention to what it means to live in Christian community.
  • Gift development: studies challenge participants to identify and develop their own spiritual gifts and work at developing the call and passion of every congregational member.
  • Leadership skills: studies strengthen areas in preaching, teaching, worship leading, worship planning, conflict transformation, leading a group, time management, etc.

Program Details


Journey uses the Leading God's People curriculum. Those who complete the three-year program will receive a Certificate of Completion from Indiana-Michigan or Central District Conference. In addition to individual study of the Leading God's People curriculum, all Journey participants gather together biannually for Weekend Learning Events.


The Cost for Journey is $750 per year per team of two—one mentor and one mentee. Each additional mentee: $375 each per year, with a limit of three mentees for one mentor. Congregations are encouraged to cover or contribute to the costs of the team’s participation. Grants may be available through your conference office.

Invoices for the full year's tuition will be sent to all participants on August 15. Full payment is due September 1.  Participants may arrange to pay tuition in two parts for an additional $100 fee per participant. Invoices will be sent January 15 to participants who have chosen to spread their payment over two semesters. The remaining payment is due February 1 for those who have chosen to spread payment over two semesters.

To apply

There are two ways to complete the application:

  1. Open the file, enter the information requested using your computer, save the completed form to your computer, and send it as an email attachment.
  2. Open the file, print it, complete it by hand, and send it by mail.

Central District Conference applications should be submitted to the conference minister's office by July 15 of each year. Contact information is listed in the side bar.

Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference applications should be submitted to the conference minister's office by July 15 of each year.  Contact information is listed in the side bar.

Illinois Mennonite Conference applications should be submitted to the conference minister's office by July 1 of each year. Contact information is listed in the side bar.

If the applicant's congregation is not a member of Indiana-Michigan Conference, Central District Conference, or Illinois Mennonite Conference, applications should be submitted to the AMBS Church Leadership Center by July 1. Contact information is listed in the side bar.

Financial Aid

Journey holds a fund that has been designated for Journey participants with financial needs.  Participants from any of the supporting conferences are eligible to receive these funds. The sequence for financial responsibility lies first with the participant and congregation, second with conference leadership development funds, and third with Journey grants.

Grant Policy

Where financial need exists beyond what the participant and congregation can reasonably afford, each conference’s leadership development fund will be accessed first. If further financial assistance is required then an application for Journey grants funds may be submitted. Applications for Journey grant funds must be made to one's conference minister by August 1.

Grants will be awarded from the Journey Grant Fund for up to $200 per person per year. The conference minister will be responsible to assess the financial capacity of the participant and their congregation and make a recommendation to the board for their approval.

Weekend Learning Events

Twice per year all Journey participants gathering for a Weekend Learning Event. Read more about these gatherings here. The next two gatherings will be held on the following dates:

  • September 8-10, 2017, at Amigo Centre, near Sturgis, Mich.
  • TBA, Spring 2018, at the AMBS campus.

Mentors and mentees will attend all Weekend Learning Events in their 3-year program. If a mentee misses a Weekend Learning Event, he/she will need to attend that particular WLE three years later in order to complete the program.

Additional Information

  • View the Journey Mentoring Handbook
  • View a PDF brochure for Journey.
  • Read about the Pastoral Studies Distance Education program, which uses the same curriculum as Journey and gives participants the opportunity to earn up to 15 undergraduate credits.


Please feel free to contact any of the conferences below or the Church Leadership Center for more information about Journey. For more information about the Leading God's People curriculum, contact the Church Leadership Center.

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference
109 E Clinton Street Suite 100
Goshen, IN 46528
(574) 534-4006 or (800) 288-8486
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Central District Conference
1015 Division Street
Goshen, IN 46528
(574) 534-1485
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Illinois Mennonite Conference
214 S Sampon Street
Tremont, IL 61568
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Church Leadership Center
3003 Benham Ave
Elkhart, IN 46517
(574) 296-6269 or (800) 964-2627
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