About Formation for Ministry

The call to shepherd and serve the people of God is a call that invites – indeed demands – the integration of an “inward journey” and an “outward journey” with both seen as integral to formation for ministry.

The inward journey includes classic spiritual practices of prayer, silence, contemplation, meditation on the scriptures, etc.

The outward journey calls us to practices of hospitality, advocacy, justice and friendship, especially with those who have been and are being pushed to the margins in society.

Along with these spiritual practices, we invite students and leaders to regularly keep and celebrate the Sabbath and to be faithful stewards of both our own bodies and the Creation.

But keeping the practices of the inward and outward journey is not enough for the kind of growth and maturity needed by the church and world in these times.

In Formation For Ministry we emphasize the essential role of a sacred community in shaping, encouraging, and challenging leaders to take their own discipleship seriously – to make ongoing and lifelong growth in the faith a priority. In small, sacred-communities of trust and mutual accountability we share the joys and struggles of Christian life.

Our vision is to ground present and future faith leaders in covenants of accountability that will lead to lifelong theological learning, holy friendships and a set of practices that will sustain pastoral excellence/virtue throughout the lifetime of the pastor/minister.

Parker J. Palmer

Leading From Within

“Great leadership comes from people who have made that downward journey through violence and terror, who have touched the deep place where we are in community with each other, and who can help take other people to that place. That is what great leadership is about.”.

The Space Between Us

Highlighted Resource Profile The following is a sermon by the Rev. Lisa Anderson and can be found in the publication Women Shall Preach (available...
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Silence, by Holly Woodall

As Christians, we often talk about the need for silence. The still, small voice of God is elusive, best found in quiet moments. Through Formation, I have come to realize that silence is not simply the absence of sound; instead, it is the presence of something far more...
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The Church, by Billy Vaughan

I had a friend, now deceased, who told the story of leaving the church as a young adult over the race issue.  He and his wife, while working with the youth, used Methodist literature showing blacks and whites together in friendship.  The parents of the youth and the...
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Why Formation for Ministry?

I had been out of seminary for 13 years. I was serving as co-pastor of a new multi-racial church and, along with some of the men of that church, was driving to Chicago to participate in a weekend retreat on building the reconciled and reconciling community. Along the...
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Billy Vaughan (901) 334-5864 bvaughan@memphisseminary.edu