NGLI: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the vision of NGLI?
  Empower younger local church pastors to lead and partner with congregations in imagining and cultivating God’s faithfulness and fruitfulness in the United Church of Christ.

Q:  What is the mission of NGLI?
A:  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.

Q:  What is a transformational leader?
AA transformational leader is one who manifests the capacity to:

  • Live a faith that shows love of God, trust in Jesus, and openness to the Holy Spirit
  • Practice self-reflection
  • Embody a contagious faith and hopeful confidence in sharing the good news of the Gospel with believers and non-believers
  • Develop an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Exhibit a commitment to continuous improvement in their personal and professional life, welcoming feedback and integrating awareness and insights
  • Participate in a network of mutual care and learning with colleagues
  • Articulate a personal vision/mission/core values statement for their life
  • Engage with the congregation to develop a vision/mission/core values statement that will shape the congregation’s life and vocation
  • Create an environment in which effective engagement with peoples of diverse ethnicities and cultures is encouraged
  • Recognize dysfunction and practice self-differentiated leadership in order to avoid becoming enmeshed in dysfunctional issues and behavior
  • Apply adaptive leadership methods-- embrace experimentation, manage anxieties, learn from failures, and demonstrate resilience in order to move into the future
  • Synthesize solutions within the congregational context
  • Empower teams of persons to experience trust and achieve desired outcomes
  • Pay attention to their holistic health and family relationships not only for themselves but also within the congregation they are called to serve
  • Live out an appreciation of the United Church of Christ’s historical, cultural and missional identity
Q:  What would make me a good candidate for NGLI?
A:   The ideal candidate will:

  • Be 35 years of age or under at the point of admission to NGLI
  • 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
Applicants will be considered without regard to race, sex, national origin, disability, marital status or sexual orientation.

Q:  What will the Selection Committee look for in my application?
A:  The Selection Committee is made up of members of the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance and one wider church representative. They each carefully review all the written and video applications, then gather together to discern the invitations. They are looking for candidates who demonstrate the following characteristics:



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 connections to 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

Q:  Can you say more about what pastors receive and experience through NGLI?
A:  NGLI consists of:
Years 1-4 include an in-person Core Curriculum Course and Field Trip each year 
  • The annual core curriculum course assists pastors in evolving their transformational ministry skills:
    • Year One: Navigating the Waters: Bowen Family Systems Theory as Foundation for Thriving Leadership is about understanding a congregation as an emotional system and identifying pathways of effective leadership that are responsive to real needs in a congregation. Pastors will start to see how their family of origin informs their leadership and learn the difference between feeling and thinking, as well as reacting and responding.
    • Year Two: Art of Adaptive Leadership is about co-creating with God and community an equitable, purposeful church that makes positive change in the world through a lens of love, even amid church and social conflicts.
    • Year Three: Relational Leadership: Strengthening Skills and Heart for Team Building and Community Engagement is about learning and practicing methodologies and frameworks that foster connection, wisdom, experimentation and purpose in diverse teams and communities.
    • Year Four: Next Faithful Step Leadership is about naming and claiming a theology of leadership that will be a guide for evolving and sustaining pastoral ministry.
  • An annual field trip to experience God’s presence in and call upon the today’s world as well as opportunities to build on theories, methods, and practices learned in the core curriculum classes.
Years 5-6 include funds to pursue self-identified leadership or spiritual development opportunities

  • Pastors engage in a guided reflection process that leads to the creation of learning goals and action plans that deepen and widen a pastor’s transformational leadership skills or spirituality.  Each pastor receives up to $2,000 per year to pursue their individual action plan.

Additional Offerings:
  • NGLI begins with an “Orientation” in Year 0 and ends with a celebratory event called “Benediction” in Year 7. These in-person gatherings offer pastors the space and time to form and grow relationships as a cohort, which are often relied upon and treasured for years to come.
  • In support of pastors that are raising families during this time, each pastor is eligible for up to $1,000 per year for child-care/family expenses in Years 1-4.
  • A formal assessment tool that is developmental, not judgmental about a pastor’s character, competence, and contribution in ministry is utilized three times throughout a pastor’s NGLI journey. Feedback is gathered from both the pastor and lay leaders in the congregation.
  • A $6,000 contribution to the pastor’s Annuity Plan account occurs during Year 1 to help seed the pastor’s retirement savings. It is estimated that the contribution will be valued at $45,000 at the end of a 35-year career. The seed money is 50% vested in Year 5 and fully vested at the end of Year 6. (These figures are calculated based on an assumed growth rate of 6% per year over a 35-year period.)
Q: What is expected of the congregation where an NGLI pastor serves?
A: Responsibilities and opportunities for the congregation where an NGLI pastor serves include:
  • •Partner with their pastor as they ask new questions, offer new ideas, practice new skills in ministry, and co-create a congregational mission and vision.
  • Provide the time and space for their pastor to attend NGLI events, which occur twice a year for approximately one week each in Years 1-4. Years 5 & 6 are more self-directed and may also need time away for study or renewal. It is important to note that NGLI time is considered continuing education time, not vacation since the pastor is hard at work learning and growing to serve the congregation more effectively.
  • Provide for worship leadership, pastoral care coverage, and other critical ministerial duties while their pastor is away.
  • Avoid the scheduling of in-person or Zoom meetings that require the pastor’s attendance during NGLI events.
  • Have identified leaders complete a formal assessment of their pastor’s character, competence, and contribution 3x in six years.
  • Complete the annual UCC Yearbook reports so that trends and patterns can be observed across the churches participating in NGLI.
Q: How can I learn more?
A:  Explore the website at, or contact:

The Rev. L. Krista Betz, Director, Leadership Initiatives
The Pension Boards–United Church of Christ, Inc.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1.800.642.6543, ext. 2716