There is a “critical character of first years” in ministry and this program increases our capacity to assist Brite students in transitioning from seminary to their ministerial setting. From Brite to Beyond Brite begins with a one-week intensive course in January of a student’s last year and continues with smaller mentoring groups and two larger gatherings a year for the next two years. Leadership comprises members of the permanent faculty as well as experienced pastoral leaders from the community.
A new cohort forms each year through the January course which includes conversations about diverse settings and contexts for ministry, transitioning into congregations, imagining two jobs with one vocation (routinely called bi-vocational ministry), and the development of a well-being strategy. The co-leaders work with the group of students not only in the January week-long intensive, but also throughout the rest of the semester as the students move toward graduation. For the next two years, they follow the graduates through smaller mentoring groups, as well as joining the preceding cohorts in twice-a-year gatherings in late May and mid-October.
The experience helps graduates navigate ongoing choices and decisions about vocation and ministry and identify specific impediments and strategies for transitioning from their formal education into ministry contexts. Forming a network of peers serves them not only in this two-year post-graduation transition, but helps them establish relationships into the future that will sustain their ministries. This work is supported by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Thriving in Ministry Initiative which makes it possible to provide this program free of charge to our participants, including travel to the May and October gatherings.
The next cohort forms in the Transitions to Life and Ministry course from January 11-15, 2021 which will be co-taught by Dr. Shelly Matthews, Professor of New Testament, and Rev. Nathan Russell, Senior Pastor, Washington Avenue Christian Church, Elyria, Ohio.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Brite’s Thriving in Ministry program.