Leadership Fellows Program
Envision an opportunity for clergy and laity pairs to be an intentional community, engaging in conversation about practical church strategies and understanding the ways that relational leadership skills are critical to a healthy congregational future. The Leadership Fellows Program dedicates itself to this vision.
We are now accepting applications for our new cohort, to begin in September 2022.
The Three Pillars of Leadership Fellows
The launching point for discussion and dialog, the curriculum is crafted for self-understanding and practical engagement of church leadership concepts.
14 sessions across two years
112+ hours content
practical and engaging
Helping to make key concepts take root, coaches encourage personal accountability to design and implement real solutions in the church.
monthly or bi-monthly calls
each Fellow paired with a coach
The heart of any Methodist experience, the deep sense of community and togetherness is what past Fellows say they miss the most.
8-12 clergy/laity pairs
Every Fellow is matched with a coach.
New Fellows have an initial coach matching call with the Center’s coaching coordinator. After prayerful discernment, clergy and lay Fellows are connected with an individual coach. This pairing remains throughout the two years, with 12 coaching sessions offered each year.
Coaching is relational.
Recognizing that the wholeness of leadership includes wellness of soul and attending to personal connection, coaches have a check in with the Fellows to start their conversation. The coaching relationship then offers opportunity for Fellows to talk through the content from the previous session and contextualize it for their churches.
Coaching is contextual.
Key to the coaching relationship is helping Fellows strategize a process and steps to implement changes. Coaches use appreciative inquiry to encourage Fellows along their journey.
Hear their story.
Deepened relationships between pastors and laity strengthen our connection and create built-in support for clergy, both in their congregation and in the wider conference.
These relationships can even transcend particular classes or cohorts. Hear from the Rev. Jane Leechford (Class of 2011-2012) and Linda Donnell (Class of 2014-2015), two Fellows alums who connected when Jane was appointed to Linda’s congregation and they found they “spoke the same language” due to their shared experience as Fellows.
How is the program funded?
The NC Conference covers 70% of the cost of the Leadership Fellows program. Annual tuition of $1000/team (or $500/person/year) covers the remaining 30% of program costs.
What does tuition cover?
Tuition, when combined with Conference support, covers an overnight retreat, faculty who facilitate each session, any inventories and books utilized by faculty, monthly coaching calls, community-building lunches the Monday of each session, shared hotel rooms for Fellows who live too far away to commute between session days, and program supplies.
Who pays tuition?
While some Fellows use personal funds, we strongly encourage congregations to cover the full cost of tuition. Fellows make a significant investment of time in order to learn new leadership skills and strategies to benefit the local congregation. Covering the cost of tuition is an important way a church can support their Fellows and acknowledge the significant gifts they will be bringing back to the program as a result of their participation in the program.
What if my church cannot afford tuition?
Churches have raised money to support their Fellows through a number of creative means. Consider hosting a BBQ or a church dinner where the Fellows share about the program with church members and a special collection is taken.
Are scholarships available?
Clergy are encouraged to request continuing education funds from Ministerial Relations to be used toward their portion of tuition. In addition, the Conference can support one or two 75% scholarships per year. If you are interested in requesting one of these scholarships, please reach out and let us know.
How to Apply
We admit new Fellows classes each summer. If you are interested in applying, here is a basic timeline and plan:
- Tell us you want to apply!
If you want to apply to the Leadership Fellows program, send us an email and let us know! We like to hear from all interested applicants by early June.
- Identify a Partner
The Fellows program begins in partnership with one clergy person and one lay person from the same ministry setting. Start praying about who that partner might be, and reach out to us if you need guidance.
- Apply Online
Complete the online application, due by the first Monday in August. Both partners (clergy and laity) fill out a separate application.
- Request Recommendations
Request an online recommendation from two people. Clergy need recommendations from their DS and S/PPRC chair. Laity should identify any two people who can speak to their leadership in the church context. Note: Clergy who applied after being nominated by their DS need only request a recommendation from their S/PPRC chair.
Annual tuition is $1000 per team (or $500/person/year). If you anticipate tuition being a challenge for your church, we can discuss strategies to cover the cost, including whether scholarships might be available. The Center is able to offer one or two 75% scholarships each year.