Transition to Leadership

Grow in your leadership as a new pastor and get the support you need as you transition into ministry.

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.

One-on-one mentoring

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.

Learning Events

Learning Events 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 Learning Event, 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.

Expertise in pastoral leadership and intercultural competence

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.

Transition to Leadership program acceptance criteria

A successful applicant for this program will:

  • be a pastor in a congregational setting
  • be in the first four (4) years of pastorate work
  • have a seminary education or equivalent experience*
  • be a North American resident or AMBS alumni
  • have been in their congregation at least six months before the start of the program

*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.


Transition to Leadership participants can begin in either the fall or the spring at one of our two Learning Events. 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.

Upcoming Learning Events will take place:

  • Nov. 9-11, 2023
  • April 4-6, 2024
  • Nov. 7-9, 2024
  • April 24-26, 2025


Transition to Leadership does not have a registration or program fee. However, participants will need to cover their own travel, lodging, and food for in-person gatherings. Lodging and food costs will be determined before each event. If these costs are a barrier, please reach out to Julia Schmidt, the Program Administrator, for possible assistance.

Apply for Transition to Leadership

The application deadline for the Fall 2023 cohort is Oct. 9.


Email Julia Schmidt, Program Administrator, or call 574-296-6245.