College of Pastoral Leaders
Now accepting applications. Deadline May 15, 2013
Through the College of Pastoral Leaders, Austin Seminary offers pastors resources to enliven, invigorate and sustain the life of ministry. It’s not a place where one earns a degree; it is an association of church leaders committed to learning in community, over time, for their own flourishing in ministry and the sake of the Gospel.
- an organized association of persons having certain powers and rights, and performing certain duties or engaged in a particular pursuit
- a company; assemblage
- Also called collegium, a body of clergy living together for religious service or similar activity.
Five Foundational Assumptions
1. First and foremost, the quality of pastoral leadership matters for the church. When pastors become more fully alive, congregations and ministries become more fully alive—for the sake of the world and the glory of God.
2. Vital, high quality, compelling church leadership demands commitment to life-long learning and transformation.
3. Adults generally know what they need to learn and how to learn it; they need to be trusted and given both challenge and support.
4. People in ministry are often lonely and isolated. They need communities of peers who know and understand each others’ callings.
5. People most often experience transformational learning with other people they trust and across an extended period of time.
The College is built on these assumptions.
The College challenges pastors to create a learning community of four to six ministers who will design and pursue their own learning agenda over a two-year period. Each learning community is accountable for setting and reporting on their own benchmarks.
The College supports pastors by providing funding for pursuit of their learning community’s agenda. Each learning community is accountable for reporting on funds expended.
The College meets together once as a whole community during the grant period for spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical learning and support.
More than 80% of College members agreed that their peer groups allowed for frank disagreement, made them better listeners, were fun, gave them new energy for ministry, and stretched them in many ways.
We believe it works.
Since 2003, nearly 40 learning communities have participated in the College. We have seen amazing variety and creativity, but regardless of whether they hike mountains, study the Belhar Confession or carve
wooden fonts, they share certain core experiences of tremendous value:
- spiritual refreshment in being surrounded by people who learn with them in a safe place where everyone is heard without fear of rejection;
- intellectual empowerment through the design of their own learning goals and the garnering of fresh ideas;
- new vocational energy for commitments to ministry; and
- physical renewal through breaks from day-to-day routines, including family care-giving, immersion in meaningful activities with people and simple fun.