Launching into Ministry Initiative Helps Clergy Build a Solid Foundation

The initial years of ministry are a distinct stage of ministry. Research shows that the first three years are the most formative for a priest’s identity, confidence, and agility in ministry practice. Launching into Ministry of Lifelong Learning offers intentional and focused conversations for developing Spiritual Leadership Habits and Practices for a lifetime of ministry. 

Man with gray hair and glasses speaking to a younger woman in an office setting.

Launching into Ministry is a two-year program that provides one-on-one mentoring and peer relationships to support recent Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) graduates. All members of a VTS graduating class are invited to join the cohort that is forming now. VTS and Lifelong Learning invest in our graduate’s life-long and life-wide formation. The Launching program, training, and resources are supported by the seminary. In addition, the seminary supports the annual mentor stipend and Lifelong Learning credits for the mentees.  

Launching into Ministry mentees form a cohort group. For example, this year is Cohort 2023. The cohort is comprised of a diverse group new clergy and lay ministers setting out along different ministry paths. What they hold in common is that this path is brand new to all of them. Cohort members come together as a group for program orientation and then four times a year during the program year.

Each Launching mentee receives two years of one-on-one mentoring with an experienced priest who is recruited and trained by Launching. (An optional third year of mentoring is available.) These mentoring sessions occur monthly for one hour over the 10 months of the program year according to a schedule mutually agreed upon by the mentor and the mentee. 

Forging a relationship with a mentor enables new clergy to build a solid foundation of pastoral identity that is informed by the type of practices and knowledge that will serve them throughout their career.

The Launching into Ministry team provides resources that help spark introductory conversations with potential mentors and support the mentor/mentee relationship as it develops. To learn more about the program and opt in, or, to learn more about mentor competencies both graduating students and potential mentors are encouraged to contact Carol Pinkham Oak –

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