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Spiritual Formation

Spiritual discernment is an integral part of formation for Christian discipleship. Discernment is a lifelong process of discovering the activity of God within an individual and a community. It is a foundation for nurturing Christian leadership.

Discernment is a process of exploring who we are as disciples of Christ because it involves reminder of the Christian identity and the guidance to a missional call. Both individual and group discernment should weave together for spiritual formation and guidance. Individual discernment focuses on personal spiritual formation and growth pertaining to personal faith. Group discernment is related to congregational life or a faith community, finding a collective reality that shapes its identity in relation to Christ.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry is committed to supporting effective Christian leadership and discernment through spiritual formation.

Clergy Peer Learning Programs:  Nurturing Innovative Clergy Leadership & UMC Clergywomen Health Initiative

Nurturing Innovative Clergy Leadership (NICL) & UMC Clergywomen Health Initiative are peer-based continuing education programs. The goal is to foster healthy and competent UMC clergy through collaborative learning. It is intended for ordained and licensed United Methodist clergy who serve as full-time pastors. Funding is available for each peer group in the program.

To learn more about the program, please contact the Clergy Lifelong Learning office at

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Duke University

Seeking ordination? GBHEM can connect you with one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries or other United Methodist-approved theological schools.

Students studying

Interested in training to become a local pastor? Learn more about licensing and the Course of Study process.

Need assistance setting and reaching ministry goals for your congregation? Want some guidance with your own continuing formation? Effective Ministry 360 can help.

Message at podium

Find out how the Young Clergy Initiative (YCI) works to grow the next generation of clergy in The United Methodist Church.

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