Hampton University’s Pastoral Renewal Initiative for Ministerial Excellence (PRIME) Program is designed to help pastors build and sustain collegial relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors, guiding them through key leadership stages, challenges and seasons in congregational ministry. The PRIME Program is a three-year Christian pastoral education and clergy development program designed to strengthen and expand the current Church Development and Leadership Academy (CDLA) developed to function continuously as the professional development arm of the highly regarded Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, now in its 105th year of continuous service and support to Christian leadership promoting congregational growth and church vitality. The program takes a benchmark-based developmental approach to pastoral education and well-being by offering a set of restorative retreats for pastors constructed on years of experience clustered along a pastoral leadership arc: exploratory (0-3 years), early (4-10), and middle (11-20 years). Each pastoral stage and ministerial career benchmark require a specific skill-set needed to lead churches and congregations efficiently and effectively. . Specifically, selected pastors will be invited to serve as PRIME mentors, exemplars and instructors to help clergy men and women from across the United States grow, transition, thrive and flourish through shared knowledge in sacred space. The pastoral mentors will serve as role models and guide the 40 participants we call PRIME Fellows, through a series of four restorative retreats will address common ground challenges pastors face and share in their work, while developing supportive relationships. The culminating component of the PRIME Program will require each PRIME Fellow to develop and implement an innovative Flourishing in Ministry project in their congregations with a modest mini-grant or sub-award. To sustain the program, Hampton’s office of development will actively seek funding from donors, and the university will leverage its resources and infrastructure to support the pastors.
The PRIME Program: Pastoral Initative for Ministerial Excellence