Pastoral Studies Distance Education is now Missional Leadership Development

A distance education program for forming and preparing missional leaders

Program details

The Missional Leadership Development program is for active leaders of congregations, church planters, pastors called to ministry without a college or seminary education and lay leaders preparing for a variety of ministries in the church or community.

Six units of study cover the following topics:

  • Unit 1: The Mission of God and the Witness of the Church
  • Unit 2: The Biblical Story
  • Unit 3: Anabaptism: Foundations and Future—A Way of Being Church
  • Unit 4: The Ministry of Reconciliation: Leadership for Communal Formation, Process and Witness
  • Unit 5: Living into the New Creation
  • Unit 6: Announcement and Celebration: Proclamation and Worship that Participate in the Mission of God

The program is built on three key elements

  • online coursework with other students
  • annual visits to the Elkhart campus or a nearby camp
  • bi-weekly meetings with a local pastoral mentor

Applicants must be capable of working in an online environment, willing and able to attend annual gatherings, and responsible for approaching a suitable pastoral mentor to request his/her involvement in the program.

Pastoral mentors must be ready to support applicants through: bi-weekly meetings, regular reading of the student’s learning journal, and annual visits to AMBS.

Both applicants and pastoral mentors must be recommended for study in the program by conference or district ministers or other suitable officials. The program is open to applicants from any denomination or no denomination.

Program fees cover the cost of online instruction, annual gatherings for the student, and annual gatherings for the pastoral mentor. Travel costs are not covered and the pastoral mentor does not receive remuneration.

Important 2016 - 2017 Dates for the program:

  • September 12: Registration deadline
  • September 20: Videoconference meeting for all students, pastoral mentors, instructors and program director, 7-9 pm EDT
  • September 21: Session 1 begins
  • February 21: Session 1 ends
  • March 8: Session 2 begins
  • March 17-19: Annual Missional Leadership Development weekend
  • August 1: Session 2 ends

Curriculum & undergraduate credit

Each of the curriculum's six units takes 20-22 weeks to complete. Students are asked to commit to a minimum of 5 hours of study per week for the duration of the unit. We are exploring the possibility that completion of the entire course (six units) will earn the student 15 undergraduate credit hours at select Mennonite colleges and universities. These arrangements are currently pending and cannot be guaranteed.

The Missional Leadership Development Program launches with a videoconference on Tuesday evening, September 20, followed by online work for Unit 1: The Mission of God and the Witness of the Church, beginning Wednesday, September 21. The final day for Unit 1 is Tuesday, February 21.

Before you register

Online learning is not for everyone. To help evaluate your skills and abilities to benefit from an online course, please follow this link to a quiz provided by Washington Online. Question 5 asks about available time to devote to the course. Missional Leadership Development courses require, on average, five to eight hours per week rather than the 10-15 hours mentioned in the quiz. With this in mind, we encourage you to take the quiz and find out whether you are a good candidate for online learning.