As an integral part of its ongoing expansion plans, Company of New Pastors (CNP) — a transition-into-ministry program for seminary students and first-call pastors — is launching a new series of programs on pastoral formation. 

CNP’s Conversations on Pastoral Formation — which have been designed for a broad audience of pastors, congregational leaders, presbytery staff members and other church leaders — will focus on pastoral leadership and identity in a changing church landscape.

The inaugural conversation — to be jointly hosted by Company of New Pastors and Fuller Theological Seminary — will feature the Rev. Tod Bolsinger, a pastor and writer who recently joined Fuller Seminary as vice president for vocation and formation and assistant professor of practical theology. Bolsinger believes that in today’s climate of changing expectations for ministers and churches, pastors can feel overwhelmed by all the “things they didn’t teach us in seminary.”

The conversation, which is open to the public free of charge, will also include how pastors and congregations can be formed by the core Presbyterian theological identity of grace and gratitude. It will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, Calif.

“We’re especially excited that Tod will lead this first conversation,” said the Rev. Karen Russell, CNP coordinator. “His work and writing affirm the approach of Company of New Pastors — that pastoral leadership requires deep spiritual work in addition to ‘learning the ropes’ of any given call.”

Russell said that because pastors face and will continue to face changed and changing expectations from the congregations they serve, she believes in the importance of Bolsinger’s message.

“In talking with Tod, I heard him echo what we tell our program participants: that a deepened personal faith will sustain a lifetime of ministry rather than a particular call,” she said.

CNP’s second fall event will be a conversation featuring the Rev. Joseph Small, former director of Theology, Worship and Education for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. It will be held Oct. 23 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative.

A series of webinars will begin in October, with dates and details to be announced later. The first webinar, to be led by the Rev. David Gambrell, associate for worship in the office of Theology and Worship, will be a review of the proposed revisions to the Directory for Worship, which the 221st General Assembly (2014) referred to the church for review and study.

Company of New Pastors (CNP) is a transition-into-ministry program which focuses on pastoral formation through spiritual disciplines and mentored peer groups. The program, which has been part of the office of Theology and Worship since its inception, currently has over 800 current and former participants and mentors. For more information on CNP, contact Karen Russell by email or telephone at (502) 569-5401.

Emily Enders Odom ― Communications Strategist for Theology, Worship and Education  ― will be writing and editing for Presbyterian News Service from late-August until mid-November while PNS associate editor Bethany Furkin Daily is on maternity leave.