What is PULPIT?

PULPIT (Program for Urban Leaders and Pastors in Transition) is a monumental program for Missio Seminary and will equip pastors in the Philadelphia metro region with effective strategies to thrive personally and professionally. The program will involve expert teaching/training, small group learning, large group retreats, multi-generational cohort-based peer groups, and individual activities.

PULPIT is funded through the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations. This has been a grantmaking priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years. “Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including PULPIT, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”


  • More than 1/3 of pastors are a high or medium risk of burnout (Barna Group, 2017)
  • 43% of pastors are at high or medium relational risk in family, friendships, or other close relationships (Barna Group, 2017).

Program Details

PULPIT is a two year program that will strengthen, equip, and support pastors in the Philadelphia metro region with the aim of producing healthier pastors (personally and professionally) and churches and increasing effective cooperation among pastoral leaders in the region. PULPIT will accomplish this by:

  1. Increase the health (spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional) of pastors.
  2. Equip pastors to engage urban issues (e.g., gentrification, increasing immigrant and refugee populations, and issues of social justice) that directly impact their ministry.
  3. Develop healthy support systems for pastors through peer and mentoring communities.

The PULPIT program will involve multiple opportunities for expert teaching/training, small group learning, multi-generational, cohort-based peer groups, and individual activities. The two year program will be built around the following 12 modules:

Total Health and WellnessLife Transitions and Stress Management
Time ManagementManaging Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships
The Psychology of MoneyEthical Decision Making
Urban Community Transitions and Congregational ChangeConditioning the Inner Self: Spiritual Development
Addiction and Substances of AbuseMinistry of Presence in the Neighborhood
Engaging DiversityBuilding Partnerships Among Diverse Pastors

These modules will be facilitated through the following structure:

Large Group Multi-Day Retreats (2x per year)

  • Three-day retreats will have specific topics addressing key areas of pastoral health and will include two teaching modules relevant to that retreat’s theme. Small and large group learning will take place to engage material and allow for application to each person’s unique context.
  • Time will be provided for individual reflection, assessment, prayer, and worship

Personal and Professional Assessments

  • Program participants will use 360 degree assessments at the beginning and end of the two year program to measure personal growth, develop continued growth goals, and provide evaluation of the program’s effectiveness.

Small Group Cohort Meetings (<10x per year)

  • Cohorts will have up to six participants
  • Diverse cohorts include pastors of various ages and stages of ministry to provide generational, professional, and cultural diversity, as well as represent pastors from a variety of perspectives and faith traditions.
  • Cohorts will lead to deeper peer relationships, ministry partnerships, and stronger church unity across the Philadelphia metro region.
  • Cohort members will support one another as each seeks to apply the teaching/training from the retreats to their individual contexts and implement action steps resulting from the retreats.
  • Each cohort will be led by trained mentor facilitators to keep cohorts on track with program goals.  These mentor facilitators will also provide small group processing and teaching in the retreats


The total cost for the two year program is $500, which includes all program activities, including retreats, materials, and assessments.

Is this program right for me or my pastor?

  1. Are you a pastor or ministry leader?
  2. Are you looking for ministerial and spiritual development?
  3. Are you in the midst of a transition in pastoral ministry? (e.g. – entering ministry, leaving ministry, leadership transitions, building changes, or some other form of transition)
  4. Are you looking for additional training on key urban issues in Philadelphia?
  5. Are you in need of personal and professional revitalization?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then PULPIT could be a good fit for you. Click the button to start your journey to thriving in ministry.

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Program Leadership