In 2008, the United Church Board of Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) undertook bold steps to strengthen congregational ministry in the United Church of Christ by birthing the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI or the Initiative). The implementation documents stated that “having been richly blessed by resources given by our forebears and having a more than century-old mandate to care for and work with those at the frontiers of ministry, [UCBMA] is committed not just to the future of the Church but to the Church of the future.” NGLI has emerged as a leadership development initiative that equips, energizes, and empowers younger UCC local church pastors to build vibrant congregations that change lives and further God’s mission in the world. It seeks to honor and challenge younger clergy who have accepted the high calling to parish ministry, who demonstrate significant potential, and who view parish ministry as a career path and are willing to make a long-term commitment to service in congregational settings of the United Church of Christ.
NGLI has a specific focus and does not seek to address all leadership development needs of the Church. UCBMA is mindful and respectful of the various programs of leadership development across the United Church of Christ and beyond and attempts to work collaboratively and seek out strategic partnerships where practical and appropriate.