New certificate programs to mentor clergy in addressing today’s challenging ministry contexts

Photo: Amos J. Disasa (MDiv ’06), Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, leads worship. Photo by First Presbyterian Church of Dallas.


Media Contact: C. Mark Batten | | 336.758.3959

Wake Forest University School of Divinity, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is excited to launch two continuing education programs for clergy in different stages of their careers to learn and grow in community with other similarly situated individuals – “Clergy in Community” and “Thriving in Ministry”. Both programs are made possible with support from Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Clergy in Community

“Clergy in Community” is for early-career clergy members, those with 5-10 years experience in ministry, located in North Carolina and regions of Virginia to engage with civic leaders in intentional conversation. In this 2-year program, the selected clergy members will have an opportunity to reflect on and hear the voices of their peers to learn ways to better integrate their work as public religious leaders in the public square. These cohorts will align themselves with the ecumenical focus of the School of Divinity, containing leaders across denominations and traditions. 

Previous participants of this program have gained valuable leadership skills, an expanded sense of their pastoral calling, and renewed energy for ministry. They have also developed or expanded ministries in their congregation in partnership with civic, business, and community organizations as a result of their time spent in conversation with community leaders. 

“Clergy in Community” consists of five cohort retreats in 2020 and 2021, with all travel, food, and lodging expenses covered by the program. Upon completion participants are awarded a Certificate of Civic Religious Leadership.

Thriving in Ministry

“Thriving in Ministry” is for church planters and intentional interim ministers. This 2-year program is the product of an innovative partnership between the School of Divinity and the Center for Congregational Health in the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center FaithHealth Division to create enriching pastoral communities centered around clergy well-being and mentoring. 

Both church planters and intentional interim ministers face challenges unique to their callings, and “Thriving in Ministry” will promote meaningful and purposeful ministry in these diverse, but often overlapping contexts. “Thriving in Ministry” will include three cohorts of up to 24 people that will reflect the gamut of ministerial careers – early-, mid-, and later-career clergy – and each cohort will gather in-person for three retreats where the members will have space to share and recharge in community. Additionally, the cohorts will meet online quarterly to learn from mentors in fields pertinent to the needs of clergy in these contexts, like spiritual growth, asset-based community development, and discernment. Later cohorts will include head and associate pastors, multi-vocational ministers, and solo pastors.

Church planters and intentional interim ministers from across the United States are invited to apply for this program, which covers food and lodging for the three long-weekend retreats and a $300 travel stipend for each retreat. Upon completion participants are awarded a Certificate of Advanced Ministry Leadership.

Clergy in Community

Thriving in Ministry

Early career clergy
Church planters and intentional interim ministers
2-year program
2-year program
What’s Involved:
5 cohort retreats in 2020 and 2021
3 cohort retreats in Winston-Salem and 8 online quarterly meetings in 2020 and 2021
All expenses for food, lodging, and travel are provided
Food and lodging provided; $300 travel stipend for each in-person meeting
Certificate Received:
Participants awarded Certificate of Civic Religious Leadership upon completion
Participants awarded Certificate of Advanced Ministry Leadership upon completion
Application Deadline:
Monday, September 23, 2019
Monday, September 23, 2019

Detailed Information and How to Apply

Detailed information on cohort meeting dates, program leadership, and application instructions for both programs are available.

Learn more and apply

Application Deadline

Deadline to apply is Monday, September 23, 2019.


Questions about the program can be directed to Rev. Demi McCoy, assistant director of public religious leadership and community at the School of Divinity, at

Categories: Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership, Community Engagement, Continuing Education, Grants, Leadership Development