Transition to Leadership

A gravel path leads through the woods with tree trunks on either side of the path. Photo by Rafael Morais dos Santos on Unsplash.
Grow in your leadership as a new pastor and get the support you need as you transition into ministry.

Free to participants who begin in the 2019-2020 year thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment and the Thriving in Ministry grant!

Learn and grow in Transition to Leadership

  • Develop increased self-awareness, curiosity and intercultural competence
  • Build your community of mentors and friends in ministry
  • Experience the joy of the work of reconciliation
  • Find clarity about your pastoral role in your own context

The Transition to Leadership program guides new pastors during the crucial first years of ministry. It is aimed at pastors who have recently completed a Master of Divinity degree.

Through one-on-one mentoring, regular gatherings with peers, and learning sessions, new pastors find adequate structure and sufficient freedom to learn in ways that are suited to their unique settings and experiences. Pastors will develop learning covenants to take personal responsibility for their own growth and development in their particular contexts. Regular gatherings of all pastors and mentors will inspire commitment to the learning process and provide consistent, ongoing engagement.

As a novice pastor, you will be paired with an experienced pastoral mentor. If you have already been assigned a mentor by your conference, regional church or district, we will invite them to participate. If you do not have a formal mentor, we will invite a person whom you nominate to serve in that role. Your mentor can be someone from earlier life experiences, from current regional conference congregations or a retired leader. Each fall and spring, you and your mentor will spend a weekend together in person with other mentor-mentee pairs.

You will also meet together every other week throughout the program, either in person or by video-conferencing. During regular mentoring times, your pair will discuss ministry formation challenges and opportunities in your ministry. You will also use this time to evaluate your progress on the goals you set and talk about any related continuing education events and readings you are engaged in.

Weekend Learning Events (WLEs) provide a time for community and conversation with other mentor-mentee pairs. During this time you will also join learning sessions that focus on developing aptitudes and skills for ministries of reconciliation, including intercultural competence, character formation, spiritual disciplines and conflict transformation. At the first WLE, mentor-mentee pairs will complete a learning covenant, set short-term and long-term goals, identify what resources you need to achieve these goals, and consider where you can find these resources.

Alongside your mentor, you will also receive training from specialized Church Leadership Center consultants. During the year, you and your mentor will also participate in two 90-minute sessions with a pastoral leadership consultant and two 90-minute sessions with an intercultural competence consultant. Meet our consultants >>

A successful applicant for this program will:

  • be a pastor in congregational setting
  • be in the first four (4) years of pastorate work
  • have been in their congregation at least six months before the start of the program
  • have a Master’s degree in theology or a similar field

Pastors are welcome to apply even if they do not meet all the criteria. Transition to Leadership staff can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Transition to Leadership begins at the fall Weekend Learning Event (WLE) each year and gather again for the spring WLE on campus at AMBS. Throughout the program, participants will meet every other week with their mentor in person or by video-conferencing. Joining this program commits you to two years for mentorship and learning. In the 2020-2021 year, the fall WLE will be October 23-25, 2020 at a location to be determined.

Applications for the Fall 2020 cohort of Transition to Leadership will be accepted until Sept. 1, 2020.

Thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment and the Thriving in Ministry grant, there is no cost to participants who begin in the 2020-2021 year. Travel, lodging and meals are also included for Weekend Learning Events. Read more about the grant.

Registration for the 2020-2021 cohort is due by Sept. 1, 2020.

Learn more

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