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, over a two-and-a-half to three-year period.

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
  • meetings with a local pastoral mentor every two weeks

See overview of Journey curriculum (PDF)

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, and for any participants beginning the program in February. All other participants are welcome, but not required, to attend the winter gathering.  

Pastoral mentors must be ready to support applicants through: Meeting every two weeks, regular reading of the student’s learning journal, and participation in annual fall gatherings. Other qualifcations include: experience as a pastor, church planter, missionary or other relevant role; and ideally, a seminary degree. Request a Journey Mentoring Handbook

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 Dates for the program:

  • Jan. 5: Registration deadline
  • 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

Timeframe for completion of the program

The entire Journey program is five units long, each unit running 20-22 weeks. 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 from Central District and Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conferences, and 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. 

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.

Before you apply

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.
Journey: A Missional Leadership Development Program


  • Complete online application.
  • Submit a one-page autobiography. (See details at bottom of the page.)
  • The deadline to be considered for Winter 2018 is Jan. 5


  • $600 per unit plus lodging and meals at annual Weekend Learning Events. For members of sponsoring conferences, $450 per unit plus lodging and meals at annual Weekend Learning Events.
  • Costs for 2017-18 Weekend Learning Events are below.
  • A $300 non-refundable deposit is due upon acceptance.
  • The remaining tuition payment is due the first day of the session.

Lodging and meal fees are due two weeks before the event and are non-refundable. Participants and mentors in 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 non-refundable deposit is due upon acceptance.
  • The remaining tuition payment is due by the first day of the session. 
  • No refunds will be granted after the first week of class.
  • Weekend Learning Event lodging and meal fees are due 2 weeks before the event and are non-refundable.


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