Leading Congregational Vitality

Healthy things grow. It’s fundamental in the natural world; it’s fundamental in the spiritual life. When vitality is lagging, whether it be in the lives of leaders or congregations, the spiritual work needed is revitalization – starting inward, then working outward. In this cohort, Asbury’s Doctor of Ministry Program partners with FaithWalking to offer their widely-tested “Congregational Transformation” process that helps leaders master a retreat-based formation process. The process begins with leaders and their core team and is replicated eventually throughout a congregation to as many who are willing to engage in this discipleship renewal process. The experienced faculty mentors for this cohort are convinced that if leaders can find safe places to surrender masks, reinvest in spiritual intimacy and avail themselves freshly to the Spirit’s leading, everything changes. Everything basic to a disciple’s life–from communion, ministry workplace patterns, staff relations, marriages, preaching, budgets, membership expectations, missional outreach and witness–undergoes transformation. Participants in the cohort will:

  • Experience a series of FaithWalking Leadership Renewal Retreats (See: 101-401 Retreats at
  • Reflect theologically and socially on the transferrable implication of formation principles experienced during pre- and post-residency coursework.
  • Diagnose revitalization opportunities and obstacles in the systems and practices of congregational communities represented.
  • Replicate this renewal process in the communities they lead, conducting evidence-based ministry transformation research projects as they do.

Cohort Syllabi

DM915 Seminar I Spiritual Formation
DM916 Seminar II Managing Yourself In Anxious Systems
DM917 Seminar III Adaptive Leadership Skills
DM918 Seminar IV Understanding the Context

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Jim HerringtonRev. Jim Herrington is a pastor of 41 years. He has served as a denominational executive, and has worked with hundreds of congregations from a variety of traditions around the challenges of personal and congregational transformation. He is the co-author of three books, and currently serves as the Team Leader for Faithwalking, a multi-year spiritual formation process that equips individuals and congregations for missional living.

Rev. Trisha Taylor

Rev. Trisha Taylor is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a licensed psychotherapist. Along with Rev. Jim Herrington, she is a co-author of The Leader’s Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation and is a co-founder of the discipleship process FaithWalking. Together, they have worked intensively on fostering personal and congregational transformation through the Ridder Church Renewal process with Western Theological Seminary and the Reformed Church in America and their partners. This course is based on their learning from that process.

Dr. Bryan D. Sims

Dr. Bryan D. Sims is Associate Professor of Leadership and Lay Equipping at and the Director of the Center for Lay Mobilization within the Beeson International Center at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has worked since 2001 as a Leadership and Organizational Change Coach with Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI) where he has trained and coached leaders, teams, churches, and organizations over extended periods of time to bring spiritual awakening and missional effectiveness. He is now integrating his work with SLI with his work at the seminary. In each of these places, significant transformation is occurring in leaders, churches, and communities. He has also led groups of business leaders through WorkLife Incubators in which leaders are growing in Christ and learning new ways to integrate their faith and work. He and his wife MyLinda have been happily married since 1997 and have four children: Isaiah, Luke, Silas, and Lydia.