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.

For Frequently Asked Questions about the purpose and structure of NGLI click here for a direct link.


Criteria for selection fall into four main categories, summarized below:

Basic Expectations of Candidates

The ideal candidate will:
  • Be 35 years of age or under as of the point of admission to NGLI (or June 1, 2019)
  • 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
*Note: applicants will be considered without regard to race, sex, national origin, disability, marial status, or sexual orientation.

Professional Development Expectations of Candidates



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 experiences in 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

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. Years 5-6 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


In order to be considered as an applicant for the NGLI Cohort, you must complete the three steps of the Intent to Apply section by February 1,
2019 and the Video Application by March 1, 2019. Your application will be completed only when you have submitted all four parts by the designated deadlines.

Step 1: Intent to Apply Form - Deadline February 1, 2019

type your answers to the Intent to Apply form in the boxes provided and when finished, hit "Submit form" at the end. You will receive a confirmation email when the form has been received.

Link to the 2019 NGLI Intent to Apply Form

Step 2: Congregational Support Document - Deadline February 1, 2019

Print the "Congregational Support Document" and have your congregation's Moderator/President sign, acknowledging their awareness of your application and their support if you are selected to participate in NGLI. This completed document should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Link to Congregational Support Document

Step 3: UCC Ministerial Profile - Deadline February 1, 2019

Submit a copy of your UCC Ministerial Profile. We will only accept profiles with background checks that were completed after January 2014. Contact Darrell Ludwig in the UCC/LCM/MESA office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request a copy be forwarded to the Pension Boards, in care of the Director of Ministerial Assistance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Step 4: Video Application - Deadline March 1, 2019

Videos are an important part of the application process as they give the Selection Committee the opportunity to see and hear you -- your personality, your commitment to the Church, and your vision for the future. The artistic qualify of the video is not as important as the quality of your responses. It is essential, however, that the Selection Committee be able to see and hear you with adequate sound and lighting through out the video.  Also, please note that if you reorder the questions, be sure to specify the number that coordinates with the question so we know which question you are answering. Video applications should be submit via a private link to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Application to NGLI will include a video of no more than 20 to 25 minutes during which the candidate will address the following:
  1. How has God called you to: a. the ministry, b. the parish, and c. the United Church of Christ?
  2. Share the core purpose of your life through one of these lenses: Vision (why you do what you do), mission (what you do), or core values (how you do what you do).
  3. Choose a Biblical text and give specific examples on how it calls you and your congregation to faithful and fruitful ministry.
  4. What leadership lessons have proven valuable in your ministry?
  5. What spiritual practices do you engage in that deepen your faith and nurture your resiliency for ministry?
  6. What would it look like for a cohort of colleagues to encourage and challenge one another in ministry?

Application Time Line 

February 1, 2019*
  1. Notice of Intent to Apply Form Due
  2. Congregational support Document Due
  3. UCC Ministerial Profile

        March 1, 2019* - Video Application due

June 2019 - Invitations issued (telephone, web, and /or face-to-face interviews may be conducted at the discretion of the Selection Committee)

 August/September 2019 - Orientation of new cohort at the UCC Church House in Cleveland

 January 2020 First NGLI Core Session

*Note:  These are hard deadlines. Extensions should not be expected.

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