At its November 2017 meeting, the Board of Directors of the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) discussed the future of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI) in response to its recent program evaluation. UCBMA Directors overwhelmingly affirmed NGLI and gave thanks for the vitality and vigor that pastors are stirring in the United Church of Christ from the mix of coursework, field trips, and cohort engagement.
NGLI began in September 2008 with UCBMA’s funding of 10 cohorts to become transformative leaders in the United Church of Christ. Currently, there are eight cohorts with 115 pastors actively participating.
“NGLI has moved beyond a program with informative classes and interesting field trips, it has become one of the movements of the Spirit that is bringing energy, creativity, and vitality to congregations,” said the Rev. Krista L. Betz, Director of Ministerial Assistance.
The following program enhancements were approved by the UCBMA Directors. These changes will be effective with the new cohort chosen in 2018 and following, while agreements with prior cohorts will remain.
- Additional Cohorts: Approval was given for 10 additional cohorts with 15 pastors in each. This means that about 300 younger clergy (including the original cohorts) will be engaged in these transformative leadership experiences in order to be leaven for the whole United Church of Christ.
- NGLI Duration: The program will last six years. The first four years of core curriculum and field trips will remain as is and there will now be two years of continuing education funding. This change will give greater focus to the program and establish a path for pastors to move into their individualized learning needs. The program evaluation revealed that the first four years are when the greatest learning and integration occurs, so the UCBMA Directors felt this change would have very little effect on the overall objectives of NGLI.
- Capstone Event: The program will start with an in-person Orientation and end with an in-person Capstone event. NGLI already begins with an Orientation that has evolved over the years to be an important time of building the covenantal and communal nature of the cohort as well as providing some practical educational experiences. The addition of a Capstone event will provide an opportunity to reflect on, and harvest from, the whole of the NGLI experience.
- Annuity Plan Contribution: The amount of seed money contributed to participants' Annuity Plan accounts will now be $6,000. The contribution should have the value of approximately $46,000 at the end of a 35-year career. (These figures are calculated based on an assumed growth rate of 6% per year over a 35-year period.)
Applications Now Open!
The application process for NGLI9 cohort is now open and information is available on the Pension Boards website at: http://bit.ly/PB_NGLI_PROG. UCC clergy who meet the eligibility criteria are invited to apply themselves, and to encourage eligible colleagues to also apply. "NGLI continues to be an opportunity that is relevant and responsive as clergy expand their faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry and life," said Rev. Betz, “we encourage all who are eligible to apply and join this movement of transformative leadership.”