Eligibility + Selection Criteria

We seek younger early career pastors (generally in their 30s to early 40s) with 5-10 years of experience in ministry who have developed some confidence, optimism, and security in a pastoral role, and who demonstrate high potential for the next two to three decades of Christian ministry.

The WPLP is open to pastors who:

  • Currently serve as a pastor of a Christian congregation in Indiana
  • Hold an M.Div degree from an accredited seminary (In some cases, pastors who do not hold an M.Div degree but have completed a graduate level degree in a related field are accepted into the program.)
  • Have approximately 5-10 years’ experience in ministry since graduation or ordination
  • Will not be enrolled in a D.Min, Ph.D, other degree program, or other demanding continuing education program during the two years of the cohort.
  • Please inquire of the Associate Director if you have questions about any of the above requirements.

Criteria for selection will include:

  • Vocational clarity and confidence
  • Theological acuity necessary to interpret the program experience and apply it to one’s community
  • Appropriate balance of confidence and ability
  • A healthy ego necessary for creativity, integrity, and humility
  • An ability to listen to and communicate with a diverse group of people from different social, political, and theological backgrounds for the sake of the common good
  • A deep curiosity around the complexities facing Indiana communities, and a readiness to be surprised by imaginative collaboration
  • Readiness to think theologically about issues related to community well-being in Indiana
  • A posture toward hope
  • A readiness to move from advanced beginner to competent ministry (to use the language of Benner)
  • A particular kind of curiosity about one’s specific location in Indiana and role in shaping its future
  • A commitment to see anew how creativity and imagination support the work of ministry
  • A preparedness to engage in thoughtful conversations with civic leaders during program sessions and in their own communities between sessions throughout the two years of the program

We hope that the participants will share basic assumptions regarding pastoral collegiality across social and theological divides; the character of constructive engagement and dialogue; the value of pastoral congregational ministry; and the necessity of professional pastoral development.

Pastors from all Christian traditions, including Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, and Independent are welcome to apply.

Pastors selected into the program will reflect a broad spectrum of younger Indiana pastors, with the selection committee taking into consideration regional, denominational, theological, racial, and gender balance in each two-year cohort.

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The connections I have made with the other participants are priceless. This program not only strengthens and inspires my ministry but it has successfully solved the fundamental problem of loneliness in ministry. I believe the Wabash program creates a totally unique bond between ministers of different denominations and extremely different situations and backgrounds that is almost impossible to find anywhere else. The trust I feel and have with the other participants allows me to have conversations I thought were impossible. Where else would you see a Methodist, a Disciple of Christ, a Church of Christ and an Independent discuss the theology of a building, the role of women in ministry and the purpose of ministry for four hours without anyone getting angry and everyone still being honest?"

Amanda Meade, Jeffersonville, Indiana

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