Advancing Pastoral Leadership

Date Posted: 12/15/2014

Following the graduation of the first group of clergy through the TAC’s extensive leadership program, cohorts of 15−20 leaders can soon apply for the sixth class in the Advancing Pastoral Leadership program in 2015.  
At 32, Rev. Daniel Irving has been in ministry since age 25, but realizes “you don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve been on the steep learning curve related to the practical matters of a church that seminary does not really cover.” Daniel, who serves as pastor for the Journey worship community at Memorial Drive UMC, Houston, is entering his third year of the 5-year Advanced Pastoral Leadership program and admits the program has been an accelerator for learning about handling conflict, personnel and budget related matters. “I might learn about a hypothetical church leadership situation one week and find it has relevancy to my life almost immediately,” he shares. Daniel is particularly enjoying the relational benefits of being in a tight knit group of young clergy four times a year during his first two years of the program. “I have made lots of friends who I now know at a deeper level that comes with sharing common failures and successes within a safe community,” he says. “The atmosphere during the APL program really brings out the best in the participants, and I will be forever grateful to those who generously give to the Ambassador program and other organizations supporting this unique ministry.”

Years three, four and five provide each cohort with the freedom to begin to stretch their leadership wings. Rev. Romonica Malone-Wardley, Blueridge UMC, Houston, is beginning her fourth year and enjoys sharing the experience with husband Julius who is in another cohort. “Our experiences in APL have brought huge benefits to our ministries individually and collectively,” she shares. “I personally love sitting at the table with other clergy and sharing best practices and frustrations in a way that is educational and encouraging. Through this I have developed new friendships with younger clergy that I may not have had otherwise and my preaching has improved via the constructive feedback of my peers.”
Romonica still finds herself flipping back to her notes from the first few years as a resource that “keeps on giving.” She appreciates the support and investment in her that assures her she is not alone.
“I highly recommend ordained clergy consider applying for this unique training. It has not interfered with my  ministry, instead has enhanced it. Every bit of time devoted to APL is worth it,” Daniel adds.
Applications and program description are online at
Interviews will take place August 2015 with a fall start date sometime in November.