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Plus Program Bridges the Academy and the Church to Seek Best Practices for Ministry Leaders

August 10, 2012

Garrett-Evangelical’s innovative Plus Program, an executive education program for congregational leaders and other faith-based organizations, will begin its third cohort this fall. Though the Plus Program was just launched in 2010, it is already having great impact on our churches and communities.

“I have been able to take the lessons learned through the Plus Program and apply them directly to the practice of ministry,” said Rev. Wesley Dorr, Minister of Education and Outreach at Rogers Park United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois. “I have learned new ways of leading staff and have gained a better understanding of how to budget for outreach ministries. It has been refreshing to get a business education to compliment the M.Div. I earned from Garrett-Evangelical.”

In collaboration with the Center for Non-Profit Management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, faculty members from both Kellogg and Garrett-Evangelical have designed six seminar sessions held over the duration of three years, one each in the fall and the spring. Seminar topics include developing personal leadership; financial and general management; building external relationships; and managing people and resources.  

While the Kellogg School of Management is most often sought-after by corporations and CEOs, the faculty has also worked with a number of faith-based leaders including members of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and The Jewish Federations of North America. With the combined expertise of the Kellogg faculty and the senior faculty at Garrett-Evangelical, the Plus Program curriculum has been customized specifically for clergy and other faith-based leaders. The program has enabled participants to hone their skills and to develop additional competencies necessary to meet the number of problems facing our churches and communities in today’s ever-increasing complex world.

The Plus Program has also provided an opportunity for Garrett-Evangelical to work more closely with annual conferences in The United Methodist Church. Recently, two annual conferences, anticipating the limited space available in each cohort, reserved spaces for pastors entering the program this fall with talks of reserving additional spaces for the 2013 cohort. “We continue to listen to the needs of the church and are doing our best to prepare highly regarded and effective spiritual leaders in a world under a great deal of stress," said Dr. Philip A. Amerson, Garrett-Evangelical president. “In light of limited resources and shrinking budgets, it is evident that for clergy to be effective we must equip them with additional skills and best practices.” Garrett-Evangelical remains committed to the church and programs such as Plus fulfill the seminary’s mission to prepare leaders who are equipped to live and proclaim the Gospel.

Enrollment in the Plus Program is open to leaders of congregations and other faith-based organizations, regardless of denominational affiliation or ministry setting. Cohorts for the fall of 2012 are forming now and space is limited. The next session will be held October 16 and 17 at Kellogg’s Chicago campus located at Wieboldt Hall, 340 E. Superior Street. For more information, including registration, go to