by Jerry Ingalls, Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church, New Castle, IN
There are two things I want to share with you about how my experiences with the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program have continued to bless me over six years later.
1. Through my experiences with this program I was introduced to the Lilly Endowment Inc. Thanks to this relationship I applied for the Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant, received it, and recently participated in a 3-month fully-funded sabbatical. I know that without my time in the Wabash Program I would not have known about, nor benefited from, this grant that facilitated not only the financial means, but also my moral courage to ask for and participate in a sabbatical. My local church, which benefited greatly from this grant and my sabbatical, was strengthened by this experience and I can now look forward to another sabbatical in less than seven years. That is a gift that keeps on giving!
2. Through my experience with this program I gained confidence to pursue my doctorate. The Wabash Program is a rewarding and stimulating program to go through, in and of itself, but it is also a great platform to build upon for your future professional development. My local church was already in rhythm with me being at professional development on a regular basis so that made attending class an easy next step. Additionally, the Wabash Program got me in rhythm with reading and preparing for sessions, as well as participating in high caliber conversations, and those rhythms easily transferred into a doctoral program.
Finally, I want to thank the Wabash Pastoral leadership Program, specifically the Reverend Libby Manning, for so graciously allowing me to partner with this wonderful group of pastors for my doctoral research. It was a joy to collaborate with all these amazing pastors.
I praise God for my two years in the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program! Six years later, I continue to praise God for my ongoing involvement with them and the Lilly Endowment Inc. The Lord has used both to bless me, my local church, and the communities we serve.
With faith, hope, and love,
Pastor Jerry Ingalls, WPLP Cohort 3