Journey: North American applicants

Cultivate your spiritual formation. Nurture your leadership abilities. Deepen your theological perspectives.

The two-and-a-half to three-year Journey program is designed for pastors, those exploring a call to ministry, church planters and other congregational lay leaders.

Throughout the program, learners will find a rhythm of group and individual learning that includes a combination of online classes, bi-weekly meetings with a mentor and face-to-face gatherings. In addition, your congregation or community ministry setting will be an important place to try new ideas, test new skills and deepen the self-understanding you will gain.

Through Journey, you’ll name and develop strengths in six Transformation Areas:  

  • Spiritual disciplines, especially prayer and inner work
  • Bible study and theology from an Anabaptist perspective
  • Personal character, including courage, consistency, love and self-discipline
  • Mentoring and community, as you mentor others and are mentored yourself
  • Recognizing spiritual gifts in yourself and your congregation
  • Leadership skills, including preaching, worship, conflict transformation, time management and more

The Journey curriculum

The Journey curriculum consists of a combination of online classes, regular meetings with a pastoral mentor and face-to-face gatherings. 

Online classes

Five online classes introduce the following themes:

  • Unit 1: The Biblical Story
  • Unit 2: The Mission of God and the Witness of the Church
  • Unit 3: Anabaptism: Foundations and Future—A Way of Being Church
  • Unit 4: Leadership: The Ministry of Reconciliation
  • Unit 5: Announcement and Celebration: Proclamation and Worship that Participate in the Mission of God

To request an overview of the Journey curriculum, email us at [email protected] or call 574-296-6269.

Pastoral mentors

As a student in the Journey program, you will be matched with a pastoral mentor who is recommended by a conference minister or other suitable official.

Your mentor-mentee pair is expected to meet every two weeks for one-to-two hours, in person or online. In addition, your mentor commits to regularly reading your learning journal and to participating in all Weekend Learning Events.

Qualified mentors typically have experience as a pastor, church planter, missionary or have served in another relevant church role. Ideally, your mentor also has a seminary degree or has completed the Journey program. Journey mentors may have up to three mentees simultaneously. Mentors do not receive remuneration.

Weekend Learning Events

At Weekend Learning Events, you will gathering with mentor-mentee pairs, conference leaders, seminary faculty and staff, and other pastoral teachers.

These events are a time set apart for worship, learning, reflection and friendship planned by seminary and conference staff. They are typically held at Amigo Centre in Sturgis, Michigan and on the AMBS campus in Elkhart, Indiana.

These gatherings happen twice each year – once in the fall and once in late winter or early spring. Attendance by all students and mentors is required at the fall gathering. Attendance at the winter/spring gathering is required for students from sponsoring conferences and optional for all others. If students choose not to attend the winter/spring gathering, they are required to view videos of the event and submit a reflection paper on the videos.

Ready to begin your application?

International applicants

Interested in studying from outside of the U.S. or Canada? We welcome pastors, lay leaders and church planters from any church affiliated with Mennonite World Conference to visit the International page.

Program requirements

In order to participate in Journey, you’ll need: 

  • A pastoral mentor. On the Journey application, you may nominate a mentor or indicate that you would like help identifying a mentor.
  • Availability to meet with your mentor in person or online every two weeks for one-two hours.
  • Reliable highspeed internet.
  • Availability to participate in the Fall Weekend Learning Event each year. (Students from sponsoring conferences have additional requirements.)
  • A congregation or other community ministry setting in which to practice your learning.

How much time will this take?

  • Plan to spend at least five hours of study in online classes each week. 
  • Each online class session lasts 20 weeks.
  • The total amount of time to complete the program is two-and-a-half to three years.

Journey follows a typical annual schedule:

  • Early September: Fall Weekend Learning Event at Amigo Centre (Sturgis, MI)
  • Mid-September to mid-February: Online class 
  • February or March: Winter Weekend Learning Event at AMBS (Elkhart, IN)
  • Mid-February to mid-July: Online class

Academic credit

Once you’ve met all the requirements of the Journey program, you’ll receive a certificate of completion.

Because Journey isn’t a graduate-level program, your certificate won’t carry academic credit at AMBS. You can, however, apply for undergraduate-level credit at one of our educational partners. We currently partner with Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Requirements for receiving undergraduate-level academic credit include:

  • Successfully completing the full Journey program, electing to receive letter grades and earning grades of B or higher.
  • Requesting documentation of satisfactory completion from AMBS. 
  • Sending your Journey documentation to the EMU Registrar’s office, along with a recording fee of $300 USD.  
  • You will be entered into the EMU student database and will receive 15 credit hours that can be used as elective or general credits toward an undergraduate degree at EMU.

2022-23 important dates

Key dates for the Fall 2022 cohort:

  • July 12 – Early application deadline (save $100)
  • Aug. 9 – Final application deadline
  • Aug. 19 – Tuition deposit and Weekend Learning Event fees due
  • Sept. 9 – Final tuition due
  • Sept. 9-11 – Weekend Learning Event
  • Sept. 14 – Online class begins
  • Feb. 14, 2023 – Online class ends

Key dates for the Spring 2023 cohort:

  • Dec. 7, 2022 – Early application deadline (save $100)
  • Jan. 11, 2023 – Final application deadline
  • Jan. 27, 2023 – Tuition deposit and Weekend Learning Event fees due
  • Feb. 17, 2023 – Final tuition due 
  • Feb. 22, 2023 – Online class begins
  • March 10-12 – Weekend Learning Event at AMBS
  • July 18, 2023 – Online class ends

2022-23 costs

Online classes cost $600 USD each before the early registration deadline and $700 USD after the early registration deadline.

  • A $300 non-refundable tuition deposit is due upon acceptance.
  • The remaining tuition payment is due prior to the start of the session (see dates above). 
  • Weekend Learning Event fees are an additional cost (see below). 
  • Members of Journey’s sponsoring conferences are eligible for a tuition discount. 

Refund policy

  • No refunds will be granted after the first week of the online class.
  • Weekend Learning Event lodging and meal fees are due in advance of each gathering (see dates above) and are non-refundable.

March 2023 Weekend Learning Event lodging and meal fees

Weekend Learning Event fees cover both the student and pastoral mentor and are non-refundable. 

  • Meals plus individual rooms: $480 per mentee/mentor pair
  • Meals plus shared room, 2 per room: $300 per mentee/mentor pair 
  • Meals only: $120 per mentee/mentor pair

Details for applicants from sponsoring conferences

We are grateful to our sponsoring conferences for their support and guidance in shaping the Journey program. Sponsoring conferences are: 

  • Central District Conference
  • Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference
  • Ohio Mennonite Conference

Students from sponsoring conferences enjoy unique benefits and take on unique responsibilities in the Journey program. 

Learn more about being a student from a sponsoring conference.

Students from sponsoring conferences are expected to attend both Weekend Learning Events each year and to design and implement a final independent project. Like each of the online Journey classes, this independent project lasts approximately twenty weeks, bringing the total time in the program to three years.

Benefits to students from sponsoring conferences include:

  • Reduced tuition fees (25% off tuition)
  • Help from the conference minister in finding a suitable pastoral mentor
  • The opportunity to develop a relationship with one’s conference minister, peers and select AMBS professors through two Weekend Learning Events each year
  • Supervision of a final project by the conference minister
  • Confidence that your conference minister will use your input to help shape the future of the Journey program!

If your conference is interested in becoming a sponsoring conference for the Journey program, please email [email protected] to request more information.

Ready to begin your application?

Important Journey online forms

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Who (and what) makes AMBS unique?