Ministry Integrity Circles

Small green sprout growing from the middle of an old tree stump

Thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment and the Thriving in Ministry grant, Ministry Integrity Circles are free to participants who begin in 2021!

Reflect theologically on your transition

As part of Ministry Integrity Circles, you will write reports on the specific ministry transitions and challenges you are facing. Each report will include a description of a ministry encounter or event and a personal reflection on the experience in order to develop better self-awareness. The reports will also include a theological reflection to frame the experience theologically and biblically, as well as discernment of possible follow-up actions or attitude shifts.

Pastors will share these reports with each other and the consultants during the gatherings. Through the sharing and conversations, pastors will gain greater awareness of what barriers stand between them and wholeness, insight into situations of brokenness around them, and clarity about how to take the next steps toward healing and restoration for themselves and the congregations they lead. 

Develop relationships of support

Through meeting and sharing together with peers, you will build relationships and gain support from others who are also navigating important life transitions. Your circle will be led by two thoughtful consultants—one with expertise in pastoral leadership and one with expertise in intercultural competence—to help you gain the needed insight and skills to navigate in your particular setting.

Each participant has the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the consultants via video for two 90-minute sessions. Each participant will take the Intercultural Development Inventory at the beginning and end of their time in the program and work to develop intercultural goals, which will help them in their time of transition.

Read more about our consultants >>

Ministry Integrity Circles acceptance criteria

A successful applicant for this program will:

  • be a pastor in congregational setting
  • have more than four (4) years of pastorate experience
  • be going through a significant transition

If there are more applications than spaces available, staff will make acceptance decisions based on the additional following considerations: 

  • Diversity of the group including race, gender, age, etc. 
  • Immediacy of a participant's transition(s)
  • Similarity of a participant's transition(s) to others in the group

Ministry Integrity Circles logistics

Ministry Integrity Circles will meet four times over the course of 12 months, with each event beginning at noon on Monday and ending at 3pm on Tuesday. Two cohorts of Ministry Integrity Circles will run each year with one cohort beginning in the fall and one cohort beginning in the spring.

Ministry Integrity Circles Fall 2021 Cohort

  • The four gatherings will be on Oct. 4-5, 2021; Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2022; May 2-3, 2022; and Aug. 8-9, 2022.
  • If possible, Camp Friedenswald in Cassopolis, Mich. will be the location for all of these gatherings. However, if we are unable to gather in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, this cohort will meet over video conference. 

Applications for the Fall 2021 cohort are due by Aug. 31, 2021, although we reserve the ability to close the application process early depending on response.

Thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment and the Thriving in Ministry grant, there is no cost to Ministry Integrity Circle participants who enroll in 2021. Travel, lodging and meals are also included. Read more about the grant.

Learn more

Have Questions? Email Julia Schmidt, Program Administrator, at [email protected] or call 574-296-6245.

Application deadline: Aug. 31, 2021

Tonya Ramer Wenger

“Participating in Ministry Integrity Circles has given me a safe and encouraging space to be bluntly honest about how I'm feeling and the questions I'm asking at this point in my pastoral ministry. It has been life-changing because it has created space for movement and has brought me to a renewed sense of confidence in my identity and call.” —Tonya Ramer Wenger, Pastor at First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson, KS

“As a pastor, Ministry Integrity Circles helped me to understand myself better. It helped me minister more effectively as I better learned my strengths, weaknesses and challenges. Not many times in life does one get an opportunity to be listened to by a genuine group of colleagues, not for the purposes of judgment but to build up one another.” —Ron Moyo, Outreach Pastor at Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston, KS

Steve Heatwole

“Ministry Integrity Circles has encouraged my faith and calling to ministry. Being in a cohort of pastors, giving and receiving counsel, helped me gain new insights into ministry in a cross-cultural setting. I gained understanding not only of myself but also of others with differing opinions.” —Steve Heatwole, Pastor at Lockport Mennonite Church, Stryker, OH

Paula Snyder Belousek

”My experience in Ministry Integrity Circles was incredibly valuable, providing a place to reflect on my ministry and to receive feedback from others. The facilitators are top notch—I benefited from a well put together program, their thoughtful questions and their feedback.” —Paula Snyder Belousek, Pastor at Salem Mennonite Church in Elida, OH