With great excitement, we announce that our Associate Minister, the Rev. Christian Briones, has been selected to participate in the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI) of the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ!
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. Begun in September 2008 with funding from the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance, the program 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 who are willing to make a long-term commitment to service in congregational settings of the United Church of Christ.
Each year approximately a dozen young clergy from across the UCC are selected to participate in NGLI. The program consists of a four-year core educational program that focuses on Self-Differentiated Leadership (year one), Adaptive Leadership and Reflective Practice (year two), Team Building (year three), and Leading Congregations to Faithful and Fruitful Ministry (year four). It also includes an additional two years of advanced continuing education based on intentional assessment, learning goals, and an action plan that further develop the participant’s skills and gifts for transformational leadership. In addition, NGLI begins with an orientation event and ends with a capstone event, includes participation in two UCC General Synods, two on-site learning visits (field trips) to foster experimentation and creativity, and occasional webinars on specialized topics. Participants also receive a $6,000 contribution to their Annuity Plan that serves to seed the participant’s pension account and should have the value of approximately $46,000 at the end of a 35-year career.
There are expectations for congregations where the NGLI pastor serves. These include:
- partnering with the minister as they ask new questions, offer new ideas, and practice new skills in ministry;
- providing time for the minister to attend NGLI events, recognizing that this is continuing education time and not vacation time;
- avoiding the scheduling of meetings and conference calls that expect to include the minister during scheduled NGLI events; and
- having identified leaders participate in annual assessments of their NGLI minister as a transformational leader.
Those chosen to participate in the NGLI program have survived a rigorous selection process. We rejoice that, like Mayflower Church, the wider United Church of Christ discerns the many gifts and great promise of the authorized ministry of the Rev. Christian Briones! We look forward to growing and learning together.