Wesley Theological Seminary established a collaborative long-term program with the United Methodist Church in the Mid-Atlantic region to enhance the seminary’s capacity for preparing candidates for ordained ministry. Progressively implemented in three stages, the program identified these as: (1) Creating a Culture of the Call: Identifying and Nurturing Candidates; (2) Discernment and Preparation for Ministry; and (3) Establishing Patterns of Effectiveness in Ministry.
In the absence of a clear sense of vocation among potential ministerial candidates, the program emphasized the theme of “call”. Ministry Sundays were instituted as several local congregations during which staff from the seminary preached and encouraged the congregants to consider their call. Pastors from local congregations were intentionally involved in the M. Div. curricular process through small group colloquy. After graduation, students were offered avenues of support through online continuing theological education.