About Formation for Ministry

Formation for Ministry is a year-long class which seeks to help students integrate the “inward journey” of prayer, silence, and contemplation with the “outward journey” of hospitality, advocacy, justice, and friendship, especially with those who have been pushed to the margins of society. Along with these spiritual practices, we invite students and leaders to regularly keep and celebrate the Sabbath and to be faithful stewards of their bodies and Creation.

Formation for Ministry classes are intentionally small and diverse, because in small, sacred communities of trust we can share the joys and struggles of Christian life. Through weekly shared reading and writing exercises, 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.

Through Formation for Ministry, 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.”.

“Blessed are the Meek,” a sermon by Billy Vaughan

We've heard the stories of those people the biblical writers considered meek.  They weren’t exactly the kind of folks we associate with that word,...

“Silence,” an essay 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...

“The Church,” an essay 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 Space Between Us,” a Sermon by Lisa Anderson

The following is a sermon by the Rev. Lisa Anderson and can be found in the publication Women Shall Preach (available through the Cumberland...

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...


Billy Vaughan (901) 334-5864 bvaughan@memphisseminary.edu