NGLI: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the vision of NGLI?
  Transforming younger local church pastors →Transforming churches →Transforming lives

Q:  What is the mission of NGLI?
A:  Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI) is a leadership development initiative that equips, energizes, and empowers younger United Church of Christ local church pastors to build vibrant congregations that change lives 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 participants gain by being involved in NGLI?
A:  NGLI consists of:

  • An initial, four-year core educational program that engages participants in developing transformational leadership skills and gifts:
    • Year One: Self-Differentiated Leadership and Bowen Family Systems Theory, with an emphasis on practicing non-anxious leadership and applying systems theory in a congregational context
    • Year Two: Inner Work: Adaptive Leadership and Reflective Practice with an emphasis on the evolving context of pastoral leadership and its implications for leadership formation and one’s inner life
    • Year Three: Building Great Teams: From Story to Practice with an emphasis on team formation and effectiveness in varied contexts.
    • Year Four: Leading Congregations to Faithful and Fruitful Ministry, with an emphasis on exploring trends that point toward a new paradigm of evangelism and spiritual formation and sharing practical strategies for more effective outreach and growth
  • An additional two years (if accepted in 2018 or after) or six years (if accepted prior to 2018) of advanced continuing education
    • These years will begin with a time of intentional assessment that will lead to the creation of learning goals and an action plan that will further develop the participant’s skills and gifts for transformational leadership
  • NGLI will begin with an Orientation and end with a Capstone event. There will also be participation in two United Church of Christ General Synods to build relationships within the wider church, two on-site learning visits (field trips) to foster experimentation and creativity, and occasional webinars to reflect and grow in specialized topics
  • Tools to participate in an ongoing cohort of colleagues who encourage and challenge one another in ministry
  • Yearly assessments to determine strengths and to develop plans for growth as a transformational leader

If accepted in 2018 or after, a $6,000 contribution to the participant’s Annuity Plan account occurs during the first year to help seed the participant’s pension account. 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.) It will be 50% vested at the end of the fourth year and fully vested at the end of the sixth year.  If accepted prior to 2018, a $10,000 contribution to the participant’s Annuity Plan account occurred during the first year to help seed the participant’s pension account. The contribution should have a value of approximately $75,000 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.) It will be 50% vested at the end of the fourth year and fully vested at the end of the tenth year.

Q: What is expected of the congregation where an NGLI pastor serves?
A: Responsibilities of the congregation where the NGLI participant serves include:
  • 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. The other years 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
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