Ministry Integrity Circles
Ministry Integrity Circles are focused on pastors facing a transition in their life and/or ministry. In this program, you will reflect theologically on your transition and develop relationships of support with peers.
“Because of Ministry Integrity Circles, I’m still a pastor”
David Moser, pastor of Southside Fellowship in Elkhart, Indiana, shared his testimony with Pastors & Leaders 2023 about how Ministry Integrity Circles supported him as he helped his congregation transition into a new phase of their life together.
“A little before the pandemic, I hit a wall. A brick one.”
“I began to doubt myself and my calling. Southside Fellowship needed to go in a new direction. I was not sure whether I was the pastor for that job to lead them through a time of transition. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to stay in the ministry maybe I needed to make a transition myself. … I reached out for help. I signed up for an Integrity Circle.”
“Maybe you’re a pastor who’s wondering what new direction your congregation should go. Or maybe you’re a pastor who’s wondering if it’s time to retire. Or maybe you’re a pastor wondering if it’s time to take up a new ministry in a new location. All of those conversations can be held safely in these Integrity circles and you can build deep connections with others who will help you make that journey.”
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.
A successful applicant for this program will:
- be a pastor in congregational setting
- have more than four (4) years of pastorate experience
- have a seminary education or equivalent experience*
- be a North American resident or AMBS alumni
- be going through a significant transition
*If you do not have theological education please reach out directly to Julia Schmidt, Program Administrator, to see if this program is a good fit for you.
If there are more applications than spaces available, we 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 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 will run each year with one cohort beginning in the fall and one cohort beginning in the spring/summer.
Spring 2023 Cohort
The first gathering will meet in person at AMBS and subsequent meetings will be held online (via Zoom) on:
- June 26-27, 2023
- Sept. 25-26, 2023
- Jan. 29-30, 2024
- April 22-23, 2024
The application deadline for the Spring 2023 cohort is May 26.
Fall 2023 Cohort
The four gatherings will be held in person at AMBS or Camp Friedenswald on:
- Oct. 23-24, 2023
- March 4-5, 2024
- June 10-11, 2024
- Sept. 16-17, 2024
The application deadline for the Fall 2023 cohort is Sept. 23.
Ministry Integrity Circles is free for participants who begin in 2023! Participants will need to cover their own travel. However, if you live over 100 miles away from the AMBS campus, you can apply for a travel scholarship.
Email Julia Schmidt, Program Administrator, or call 574-296-6245.
What participants are saying
“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
“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
“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