Clergy Leadership Academy

This three-year cohort learning experience is designed to equip leaders with essential skills and practices for leading in such a time as this. The spiritual landscape is going through huge shifts, and that is requiring new ways of leading and reinvention of what it means to be church. This time is calling forth bold Spirit-led leaders who can shape and lead fearless, Spirit-led congregations into the mission field, offering Christ to all. 

 The Academy* meets in 2 day sessions, every other month from September to May. Community is built as peers engage in learning, covenant groups and mentoring relationships for 10 days a year over three years. It is a significant commitment of time and energy, and we ask each person to enter into a covenant for their participation. 

2018-2019 Retreat Dates

  • September 20-21, 2018
  • November 8-9
  • January 17-18, 2019
  • March 7-8
  • May 9-10

The Curriculum

Each year has a different focus (although clergy can begin the program during any year of the cycle). All sessions are held at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo:

Year 1: Authentic Spiritual Leadership (2018-19)**

  • Clergy Wellbeing: Flourish
  • Body of Wisdom: Physical Wellbeing
  • The Heart of Leadership: Emotional Intelligence
  • The Mind of a Leader: Thought Leaders
  • The Soul/Spirit of a Leader

Year 2: Leadership Skills for Clergy (2019-20)

  • Strengths Based Leadership
  • Building your Team(s) & Collaboration
  • Supervising & Managing Others
  • Strategic Visioning
  • Leading Change

Year 3: Creating Systems of Five Fruitful Practices (2020-21)

  • Systems Thinking & Leading Cultural Change
    • Radical Hospitality
    • Intentional Discipleship
    • Passionate Worship
    • Risk Taking Mission and Service
    • Extravagant Generosity


To sign up: The Clergy Leadership Academy welcomes a new group each fall. If you are interested in being part of the next clergy group to participate in this experience or if you have questions, e-mail Director of Ministry Development, Jody Thone. Seasoned clergy wishing to participate must have the recommendation of their district superintendent. Learn more about Clergy Leadership Academy.

Hear it firsthand

Rev. Nate Melcher, an elder who serves at Hennepin Avenue UMC in Minneapolis, said the best part of the academy is the connection it creates among clergy. “I’ve gotten to know pastors from all over the state who are in different places in their ministry and who are on different ends of the theological spectrum,” he said. “It’s a reminder that we can speak really well to each other and of each other.” Academy members have read and discussed many books that have given them new perspectives—and they regularly share ideas and best practices. Melcher helped a seasoned pastor create a website for his church. Another participant gave him good food for thought about how dynamics can work when it comes to a pastor’s family connecting with the congregation.

*The Academy is required for provisional members of the annual conference as a part of your disciplinary requirements for ordination. It is strongly recommended for licensed local pastors or clergy from other denominations in their first three years of pastoral ministry. And it is open by application and recommendation of the district superintendents to anyone who is appointed to a congregation and seeking an intentional leadership development experience.

**In 2018-19 you would be entering Year One of a rotating three-year cycle of curriculum. Participants may enter in any year, and will begin with the curriculum of that year. 

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058