Journey: A Missional Leadership Development Program

A program to develop leaders who are centered in Jesus Christ for ministries in local churches and communities

Program Details

The Journey 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. The program is distance-friendly, requiring one visit to the AMBS region each year.

Journey will help you name and develop strengths in six areas:  

  • Spiritual disciplines, focusing on prayer and nurture of the inner spirit.
  • Theological and biblical studies, developing familiarity with Anabaptist theology and approaches to Bible study.
  • Character development, exploring qualities such as courage, consistency, love and self-discipline.
  • Mentoring and community, providing strong mentors and discerning what it means to live in Christian community.
  • Gift development, challenging students to develop their own spiritual gifts and to nurture the gifts of congregational members
  • Leadership skills, strengthening preaching, worship leading, conflict transformation, time management and other ministry skills.

Five 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: 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 area
  • bi-weekly meetings with a local pastoral mentor

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

*Participants from outside the US may petition for alternative local projects to replace annual gatherings.

*A winter gathering (February 2-4, 2018) is also required for participants from Central Distict and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences. All other participants are welcome, but not required, to attend the winter gathering.  

Pastoral mentors must be ready to support applicants through: bi-weekly meetings, regular reading of the student’s learning journal, and participation in annual fall gatherings in the Elkhart area. 

Both applicants and pastoral mentors must be recommended for study in the program by 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 and learning sessions at annual gatherings for the student and pastoral mentor. Travel, lodging and meal costs are not covered, and the pastoral mentor does not receive remuneration.

Important 2017 - 2018 Dates for the program:

  • Aug. 25: Registration deadline
  • Sept. 8-10: Annual gathering at Amigo Centre for all participants and pastoral mentors (Friday evening through Sunday noon)
  • Sept. 13: Session 1 begins
  • Feb. 2-4: Winter gathering at AMBS (required by Central District and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences; optional for all others)
  • Feb. 13: Session 1 ends
  • Feb. 21: Session 2 begins
  • July 11: Session 2 ends

Curriculum & Undergraduate Credit

Each of the curriculum's five units takes 20-22 weeks to complete. Participants 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 (five 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 Journey Missional Leadership Development Program launches with a face to face gathering Friday evening through Sunday noon, Sept. 8-10, followed by online work for Session 1, beginning Sept. 13. The final day for Session 1 is Tuesday, Feb. 13 . A winter gathering at AMBS Feb. 2-4 is required for participants from Central District and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences, and optional for all other participants. Session 2 begins Feb. 21 and runs through July 11, 2018. 

Before you register

Online learning is not for everyone. To do well in an online course you will need some technical skills, excellent time management skills, and initiative.

Technical skills:

  • comfort reading and replying to e-mail, including sending attachments
  • comfort using a word processor 
  • comfort downloading and installing software on your computer
  • comfort (or enjoyment) figuring out how to navigate different websites

Time management skills:

  • ability to respond promptly to email and discussion posts
  • ability to dedicate several hours each week to the class for the duration of the class
  • ability to manage unexpected interruptions and delays gracefully 


  • willingness to read instructions carefully to understand assignments
  • willingness to contact the instructor to make alternative arrangements if needed
  • willingness to stay on top of the various things required in the class

If these things sound like things you're good at, you're well-positioned to succeed in the program. If you know that you struggle in one or more of these areas you should consider how you will overcome those challenges to complete the program. If you know that you struggle in most of these areas you should seriously reconsider enrolling in the program.

To Apply:

  • Submit an online application.
  • Provide a one-page autobiography, briefly describing your family of origin, your family today, your commitment to Christ and the church and your reason for applying to the Journey Missional Leadership Development program.
  • Submit via email, or via postal mail to Journey, 3003 Benham Ave, Elkhart, IN 46517.


  • Complete online application.
  • Submit a one-page autobiography. (See details below.)
  • The deadline to be considered for Fall 2017 term is Aug. 25


$600 per unit plus lodging and meals at annual retreats. A $300 non-refundable deposit is due upon acceptance. The remaining tuition payment is due the first day of the session.  


Cheryl Zehr
Administrative Assistant
Send an Email
(574) 296-6269