NGLI: Application Process

Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI) equips and energizes younger UCC local church pastors to co-create vibrant congregations that change lives, engage their communities, and further God’s mission in the world.

NGLI seeks to honor and challenge younger clergy who demonstrate significant potential, who have accepted the high calling to parish ministry, who view parish ministry as a career path, and are willing to make a long-term commitment to service in congregational settings of the United Church of Christ.

For Frequently Asked Questions about the purpose and structure of NGLI click here for a direct link.


I. Basic Expectations of Candidates

The ideal candidate will:
  • Be 35 years of age or under as of June 1, 2025
  • Be authorized for ministry in and on behalf of the UCC by an Association/Conference
  • Have served a total of five years or less as an authorized minister in a parish
  • Hold a called position of 20 hours per week or more in a parish setting
  • Be committed to long-term ministry in local churches of the United Church of Christ
*Note: applicants will be considered without regard to race, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.

II. Professional Development and Personal Traits of Candidates



Be able to articulate a personal vision/ mission/ core values statement for leadership in a parish setting

Be a person of faith that shows love of God, trust in Jesus, and openness to the Holy Spirit

Be committed to the mission of the United Church of Christ

Be trusting, trustworthy, and able to engender a sense of trust in others

Have experiences in the various settings of the United Church of Christ

Demonstrate emotional and spiritual maturity appropriate to their age

Demonstrate experience in and love for the local church

Be persons of integrity – “what you see is what you get”

Willingness and capacity to help a congregation broaden its base for mission and ministry

Be committed to well-being in body and spirit

Engage in spiritual practices that ground life and leadership

Be able to deal with pressure

Demonstrate capacity to think creatively when confronted with complexity, new ideas, shifting paradigms, and challenging situations

Be open to expressions of diverse ideas and relationships with people of diverse backgrounds

Creates a spirit and experience of teamwork within the congregation

Be able to “think on their feet”

Embodies a commitment to diversity

Be vigorous and enthusiastic about life and ministry

Have competence in twenty-first century communications technologies

Be resilient and persevering

Have excellent written and verbal skills

Be teachable

Demonstrate ability to think critically and theologically reflect

Be self-confident without being self-centered
Willing to lean into conflict from a self-differentiated and non-anxious perspective

Be intellectually curious

Welcomes feedback and integrates new insights

Be self-aware and able to self-reflect

 III. Expectations of the congregation where the NGLI pastor serves

  • Partner with their pastor as they ask new questions, offer new ideas, practice new skills in ministry, and develop a mission and vision for the congregation,
  • Provide the time for their pastor to attend NGLI events, which occur twice a year for approximately one week each in Years 1-4. Years 5+ are more self-directed, but will also likely need time away for study. It is important to note that this is continuing education time, not vacation since the pastor will be hard at work learning and growing,
  • Provide for worship leadership, pastoral care coverage, and other critical ministerial duties while their pastor is away,
  • Avoid the scheduling of meetings or conference calls that expect to include their pastor during scheduled NGLI events,
  • Have identified leaders participate in annual assessments of their pastor as a transformational leader,
  • Complete the annual UCC Yearbook reporting so that trends and patterns can be observed across the churches participating in NGLI


NGLI applications are complete when all four steps below are submitted by the designated deadlines

Step 1: Intent to Apply Form - Deadline February 1, 2025

Complete the Intent to Apply form and when finished, hit "Submit form".  A confirmation email will be sent when the form has been received.

2025 NGLI Intent to Apply Form

Step 2: Congregational Support Document - Deadline February 1, 2025

Sign online the "Congregational Support Document" and obtain your congregation's Moderator or President's signature.  Their signature acknowledges that you have applied, and that the leadership supports your application and participation if selected. The completed document should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Congregational Support Document - Moderator/President 

Step 3: UCC Ministerial Profile - Deadline February 1, 2025

Submit a copy of your UCC Ministerial Profile. Background checks must have been completed no later than January 2022. Contact Darrell Ludwig in the UCC/LCM/MESA office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request a copy be forwarded to the Pension Boards, in care of the Director of Leadership Initiatives at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Step 4: Video Application - Deadline March 1, 2025

Videos are an important part of the application process as they give the Selection Committee the opportunity to see and hear you -- your personality, your commitment to the Church, and your vision for the future. The artistic qualify of the video is not as important as the quality of your responses. It is essential that the Selection Committee be able to see and hear you with adequate sound and lighting throughout the video.  Please note: if you reorder the questions, be sure to specify the number that coordinates with the question, so reviewers know which question you are answering. Video applications should be submitted via a private link to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The video should be no more than 20 to 25 minutes long and address the following questions:
  • How has God called you to: a. the ministry, b. the parish, and c. the United Church of Christ?
  • The Bible is full of stories where people say "here I am, send me" to God's call, and then actively pursue God's vision as they perceive it.  This deeply held vision becomes the compass that guides them into the future.  What is your vision for your life right now; in other words, why do you do what you do?
  • Choose a Biblical text and give specific examples on how it calls you to faithful and fruitful ministry.
  • What leadership lessons have proven valuable in your ministry?
  • Share a brief and specific narrative of your leadership in the congregation.  Discuss why you initiated this leadership move, how you connected with lay/community leaders and their response, and what was the outcome.
  • What spiritual practices do you engage in and how do they deepen your faith?

Application Time Line 2024

February 1, 2024*
  1. Notice of Intent to Apply Form Due
  2. Congregational support Document Due
  3. UCC Ministerial Profile Due

       March 1, 2024* - Video Application due

May/June 2024 - Applicants are notified on the Selection Committee's decision

October 2024 - Orientation of new cohort

*Note: These are hard deadlines. Extensions should not be expected.