Pastoral Leadership About Us
The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program selects up to 18 Indiana pastors who in their first five to ten years 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 calling and potential through reflection, renewal, stimulation, and leadership development as they build friendships and relationships across the state.
The Pastoral Leadership Program is funded by the Lilly Endowment.
The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program was the greatest opportunity to grow as a pastoral leader I've ever been given. After two years of learning and journeying with the group, I know my gifts for leadership in a way I didn't before. I'm ready to engage the broader community, I'm ready to take bold steps with my congregation, and I feel more at home in my skin as a pastor than I did at the beginning of the program. I will be grateful for this gift for the rest of my vocational life. – Brent Wright
This program inspired my imagination around my role as pastor and gave me the opportunity to engage with other quality pastoral leaders in a way that has helped me to grow in my leadership capacity and hope for the future of the church. – Rebecca Craver
The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program was a tremendous gift and blessing to me. I learned more about what it means to be a Christian leader, a professional minister, and pastoral caregiver. I met new friends and colleagues who helped me with their prayers, support, and practical wisdom. The multiple presentations and speakers were phenomenal and helpful in formulating new approaches to my ministry and leadership. I am grateful for my two year experience as a member of Cohort II. - Michael Mathews
My time in the Wabash Pastoral Leadership program has inspired my leadership in both practical and holy ways. I've been challenged by the insights of our many wise and experienced guests. I've made some real friendships and established faithful partnerships with many excellent pastoral leaders from a wide range of denominations and life experiences. I've grown personally, spiritually and vocationally because of the time I've invested in the program and through all the program has so generously gifted to me. —Mark Havel
While I was in seminary and starting in the local church, I was told plenty of times that I needed to be a good leader. But I was given little space or time to reflect on leadership. Part cloister and part think tank, the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program has been a tremendous gift in my life that has created a community for theological and practical reflection on leadership. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with key Indiana leaders on challenging issues like education, demographics, the economy, and health care. I love the chance to travel and experience community development in other places. Most importantly, I treasure the other fellows who will be walking this journey of ministerial leadership with me for the rest of my life. Their prayers, support, encouragement, and laughter have allowed me to learn, grow, and deepen the leadership I have to offer the church and the world. —Lisa Schubert Nowling
By spending time in dialogue about key issues with community leaders in government, education, economic development, and industry, I have discovered how sectors of our communities intersect for the common good. This program has helped me see where the church stands at the intersections in Indiana, how pastors can bring the witness of the church to these intersections, and how we can support leaders from our parishes whose vocations call them to these intersections. — Grace Burton-Edwards
My fellow pastors and I have come to know each other in a way that true relationships have been formed. And our time together, in conversations, prayer, and fellowship, helps us to understand that ministry isn't always a lonely place and that there are others who like you, experience similar successes and challenges. This program is one of the most rewarding leadership experiences that I have ever had. —Dennis Laffoon
I was just saying to another Wabash fellow yesterday, this has the potential to be a life- changing program. 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 Wagoner Meade