You need a balanced diet for ministry development




What should my ministry diet look like?

A balanced diet for ministry helps to prepare clergy for the daily tasks of ministry. Over the course of ministry, clergy will encounter different challenges and situations. One of the ways to be ready for those is to have a balanced diet of development. 

Just as a balanced diet of food is made up of grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables, a balanced diet for ministry has different components: knowledge building, relationship building, capacity building, and spiritual formation.


Knowledge building and skills acquisition are practical, teachable tools that you can put in place in your ministry setting immediately.

Relationship building consists of the personal and professional relationships we have with others – family, friends, and colleagues.

Capacity building is our ability to come up with fresh ideas, tackle new challenges and frontiers, and brainstorm to overcome new problems.

Spiritual formation is both the regular devotional and prayer time we spend with God and the more intensive, retreat-style experiences we have. 


The resources listed on this page are intended to help you find the next step in your development.



Our Programs

Take our quiz to determine how you might build a more balanced development diet. Don't worry, your results are confidential and anonymous. 

Based on your answers, you can see below some areas on which you might want to focus. 


Knowledge BuildingRelationship Building Capacity BuildingSpiritual Formation


Annual Conference – Our annual gathering of clergy and lay leaders from around the Conference. Learn More


Sabbatical/Study leave – Pastors can benefit greatly from intentional time away from the local church, to study, rest, and grow. Learn More


Wellness Program – There are a variety of components to the Wellness program, which offers incentives for being active! Learn More


Peer Groups – We encourage clergy to be involved in a group with other clergy for fellowship and learning. Learn More


Residency Program – The two year process for pastors who have just been commissioned, on the path to ordination. Learn More


Advancing Pastoral Leadership – A five-year, cohort-based leadership program for pastors with at least 30 years of potential remaining service to the church. Learn More


Transforming Pastoral Leadership – A leadership development program for African-American clergy, currently in its first year. 


Vibrant Church Initiative – VCI helps churches discover and become what God is calling them to. Learn More


Extension Ministry Breakfast – Every year, extension ministers gather for fellowship, learning, and time with the Bishop. 


Coaches and consultants – Coaching is a part of many of our programs, in addition to being available through the Centers for Clergy and Congregational Excellence. For more information, contact the Center for Clergy Excellence. 



Refresh – Refresh is an opportunity for recognition, resourcing, and renewal made available every five years to pastors in active service. Learn More



Strengthening County Seat and Strategic Churches – A 12 month peer learning academy for county seat and strategic pastors. 

Order of Elders/Order of Deacons/Fellowship of Local Pastors – Every year these groups gather for retreats, to learn and grow together.



The Gathering – Our annual retreat for clergy. Learn More


Itinerancy & Relocation – Every spring we offer trainings for clergy moving and laity who are saying goodbye and welcoming a new pastor. Learn More


Intentional Interim Ministry Training – Training for pastors to become interim ministers around the Conference. Learn More


Abide – A program of spiritual leadership for churches worshiping under 50 people. Learn More



Sexual Ethics Training – Per our conference guidelines, a face-to-face training is required of all clergy every four years.  The next training will be in 2019. 



Pre-Retirement Seminar – Every other year, the Center for Clergy Excellence hosts a Pre-Retirement retreat and time of learning.


Retiree Retreat and Luncheon – Every year at Annual Conference, retirees gather for lunch.  There is also a retreat.



U35 – Every year at Annual Conference, clergy, laity and candidates 35 and under gather for fellowship. Learn More


  Marriage/Single/Family Retreats – A variety of retreats are offered. Look for updates in the clergy e-newsletter. Learn More



The Center for Clergy Excellence is always here to help answer your questions or get you the information that you need.


Rev. Gail Ford Smith, Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence:

Rev. Elizabeth Duffin, Associate Director for the Center for Clergy Excellence:

Nancy Slade, Administrative Assistant and Wellness Coordinator: