Transition into Ministry (TiM)

Programs of training and support designed to help seminary graduates successfully make the transition from student to full-time clergy. Beginning in 1999, the Lilly Endowment has funded 45 pilot programs that seek to nurture and foster strong leadership habits and practices in new pastors and priests.

Two main types of TiM programs are currently being implemented and evaluated:


Congregation-based programs that employ seminary graduates for one to three years, providing an intensive training ground where participants can learn from seasoned clergy, peers, and congregation members. Examples include the pastoral residency programs at Wilshire Baptist Church and Charles Street AME Church.

Peer-based programs

Broad-based programs directed by seminaries, judicatories, regional ministry centers, or national denominational offices. They organize regular gatherings of recent seminary graduates who are moving into first positions of leadership and ministry in a variety of settings (mostly congregations). Leaders in ministry serve as mentors for the groups, providing training, support, and opportunities for reflection. Examples include the Company of New Pastors, the Congregational Immersion Project, and the Second Three Years program at Virginia Theological Seminary.