Journey: A Missional Leadership Development Program

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

Program Details

Journey is a non-credit program for personal enrichment for active leaders of congregations, church planters, pastors called to ministry without a formal 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 over a two-and-a-half-year period. The program is open to people from any geographic region and any denomination (or no denomination).

Participants who successfully meet the requirements of the program receive a certificate of completion. The certificate carries no academic credit. We are exploring the possibility that completion of the entire program will earn participants 15 undergraduate credit hours upon admission to select Mennonite colleges and universities. These arrangements are currently pending and cannot be guaranteed.

AMBS offers Journey in collaboration with two Mennonite regional conferences, Central District and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences. Members of these conferences receive pricing discounts and have additional responsiblities. (See details below.)

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.

The program is built on three key elements:

  • online coursework with other participants
  • annual visits to the Elkhart area
  • meetings with a local pastoral mentor every two weeks

Five units of online coursework 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

Request an overview of the Journey curriculum.

Request a list of expectations for pastoral mentors.

Important 2018 Dates for the Program

  • Jan. 5: Registration deadline for winter session
  • Feb. 2-4: Winter gathering at AMBS (New participants arrive by 2 pm Friday; all others by 5 pm)
  • Feb. 13: Online Session 1 ends
  • Feb. 21: Online Session 2 begins 
  • July 11: Online Session 2 ends
  • Aug. 7: Registration deadline for fall session
  • Sept. 7-9: Fall gathering at Amigo Centre, Sturgis, Mich.
  • Sept. 12: Online Session 1 begins

Applicants must be: 

  • capable of working in an online environment
  • responsible for approaching a suitable pastoral mentor to request his/her involvement in the program
  • willing and able to attend annual fall Weekend Learning Events*

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

*Participants from outside the US may petition for alternative local projects to replace Weekend Learning Events.

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 learning and learning sessions at annual gatherings for the participant and pastoral mentor. Travel, lodging and meal costs are not covered, and the pastoral mentor does not receive remuneration.

Timeframe for completion of the program

The entire Journey program is five units long, each unit running 20-22 weeks. Participants are asked to commit to a minimum of 5 hours of study per week for the duration of each unit.The total amount of time to complete the five units is two-and-a-half years. Central District and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences require an additional final project, bringing the total program time for participants from those conferences to approximately three years.

Annual rhythm

The program launches with a face-to-face gathering on a Friday evening through Sunday noon in early September, followed by the first online session mid-September through mid-February. A winter gathering at AMBS in early February is required for participants and mentors who join the program in February and for participants and mentors from Central District and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences. It is optional for all other participants and mentors. The second online session runs mid-February through mid-July. This cycle repeats each year as participants progress through Units 1-5. 

To Learn More

Write to [email protected] or call 574-296-6269.  

To Apply

Complete the online application.

Journey: A Missional Leadership Development Program



  • $600 USD per unit plus lodging and meals at annual Weekend Learning Events (see below). For members of sponsoring conferences, $450 USD per unit plus lodging and meals at Weekend Learning Events.
  • A $300 USD non-refundable deposit is due Jan. 5.
  • The remaining tuition payment is due Feb. 2.

Lodging and meal fees are due January 19 and are non-refundable. Participants and mentors may choose among the following 2017-18 packages (fees quoted cover both participant and mentor for the weekend, including two nights). 

  • Meals plus shared room, 4 per room: US $168 per pair
  • Meals plus shared room, 3 per room, US $196 per pair
  • Meals plus shared room, 2 per room, US $252 per pair
  • Meals plus individual rooms: US $422 per pair

Pay online


  • A $300 USD non-refundable deposit is due Jan. 5. 
  • The remaining tuition payment is due Feb. 2. 
  • No refunds will be granted after Feb. 9.
  • Weekend Learning Event lodging and meal fees are due Jan. 19 and are non-refundable.


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