About / Mission + Method

Mission + Method

The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program selects up to sixteen Indiana pastors who in their first five to ten years of ministry have demonstrated high potential for significant leadership. They participate in a series of meetings, conversations with outstanding leaders, and two study tours over a two-year period. The program provides occasions for the pastors to:

  • Reflect and discuss how they proclaim the gospel effectively in contemporary culture and in their local contexts;
  • Engage Indiana leaders about the challenges and opportunities in the state, exploring with them resources in Christian thought and practice for ethical analysis and effective response to such challenges and opportunities; and
  • Be honored for their high calling and potential through reflection, renewal, stimulation, and leadership development as they build friendships and relationships across the state.

Founded at Wabash College in 2008, the Pastoral Leadership Program has been generously funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Why Have a Leadership Program for Talented Young Pastors?

The period from five to ten years in ministry following ordination is one in which professional identity is shaped and the scope and manner of a ministerial career is set. That stage of professional development is marked by accelerated executive programs in business and industry, tenure review in educational institutions, and partner reviews in law firms. The needs of leaders in Christian pastoral ministry are unique among the professions and will be best addressed in a specialized program for pastoral leadership.

This is the career state when talented younger pastors are being tapped to take larger responsibilities in their communions and local communities, resulting in many demands upon their talent and leadership abilities.

The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program will assist them in acquiring the skills, knowledge, and contacts to become more effective and respected leaders. The Wabash program will focus directly on pastoral leadership in Indiana grounded in theological analysis and reflection.

Goals of the Program

The primary goal is to enhance excellence in ministry of a group of talented younger pastors. Pastors, to fulfill their calling, have to play some role in dealing with factors that make more difficult well-lived lives of their people. Pastoral imagination is required to know how best to foster a way of life that truly is life giving for the church’s faithfulness and the good of all creation. At the end of the program we trust that these pastors will have

  • More confidence
  • A larger vision of their ministry
  • A significant peer group in ministry in Indiana
  • A greater knowledge of the infrastructure of society as it affects their congregation and community
  • A clearer understanding of contemporary challenges
  • …and that they will be better leaders in the service of the common good.

We imagine a world in which high capacity early career pastors claim God’s vision for human flourishing by cultivating a deep affection for their local community, framing relevant social issues with their congregations, and convening conversations with an engaged public towards adaptive change. We think this contributes to God’s dream for the healing of the world. -WPLP Vision Statement


How to Engage Your Community's Leaders