Transitioning Into Ministry

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-12.

Studies show that the early years of a pastor’s experience can either make or break their long-term commitment to pastoral ministry. New pastors start ministry and develop their pastoral identity in a context that is unfamiliar to them, while also charting out their own identity in this new role. This process is complex and can be fraught with challenges and surprises. Often energy is misspent, poor habits are at risk of developing, and new pastors feel alone.

The Transitioning to Ministry Program (TiM) is meant to equip and encourage new pastors with mentors and partners from the very beginning. The purpose of TiM is to provide a two or three year formational experience for a cohort of beginning pastors and their congregations. This will help them establish good habits and faithful practices for a lifelong ministry of joining God’s mission in the world.

Who is TiM For?

TiM is a program meant to equip pastors at the beginning of their ministry. Eligible applicants include someone who is:

  1. in her/his first placement as a pastor or in an associate pastor role and
  2. within the first two years of her/his pastoral placement.

What does TiM involve?

  1. Group Coaching During the first two years, 3 – 5 pastors will be placed in a ministry cohort together, and will meet regularly with a coach, either in person or via video conferencing. Coaches will be selected by the Mennonite Church USA Leadership Development team and will be specially trained to walk alongside new pastors.Each year the coach will meet with the group five times, and will have at least one individual meeting with each pastor. In addition, the coach will provide regular written feedback to the pastors in her/his cohort.Group coaching sessions will include:
    • exploring ministry case studies
    • developing personal growth goals
    • engaging reading assignments and discussions
    • exploring methods of spiritual self care
    • working with personality inventories
  2. Pastoral Mentors Recognizing that many area conferences and congregations provide mentors for beginning pastors, we recommend that the pastor relationship continue at this regional level. National staff will offer annual webinar training for mentors seeking to grow in this role.
  3. Values-Based Leadership Program tuition scholarship For those beginning pastors who successfully complete the first two years of the TiM program as outlined above, a $500 scholarship will be given to attend the Values Based Leadership Program, co-sponsored by Mennonite Church USA. This scholarship is to be used within two years of completing the TiM program.
What is the cost to participate in TiM?

The cost is $500 per year. The cost will be split between three groups:

  • Local congregation
  • Area conference
  • Mennonite Church USA

Limited scholarships available.


Download the brochure here.

For more information or to apply contact:

Sandra Shenk Lapp
Office Manager for Leadership Development
1-866-866-2872, X23032