Used to be that “ministry” meant “serve a congregation.” Used to be that new congregations got started by a denomination paying a “pastor” and putting up a building. Used to be an education for ministry prepared people to fit that template. Earned the MDiv? Done.

Not any more.  That’s why there is a Ministry Incubator@Iliff.

The Ministry Incubator@Iliff is all about experiments. Experiments in kinds of ministries. Experiments in creating particular ministries without much funding. Experiments in discerning how to remain in ordained ministry as a targeted person.

The Ministry Incubator is a community of leaders who are experimenting. Some are ordained, others are not. Most have a theological degree already, others are still students. Some are persons targeted as LGBTQ or allies in denominational fights, others are privileged. They all share a willingness to follow the Spirit’s leading into new paths. And they share a desire for companionship on the journey.

Associates of the Ministry Incubator have been accepted into a cohort of 8 to 10 leaders that meets virtually once a week. There are “creating” cohorts and “discerning” cohorts. “Creators” have a specific vision for a ministry. They are making it happen.  “Discerners” have a strong sense of call, but their vision for what they are to do has been shaken up by the actions of their community of faith. They are figuring out what is next.

Cohorts help associates

  • dream
  • plan strategy
  • figure out what to do with the surprises that come along;
  • build networks
  • learn new skills as needed
  • remain accountable
  • receive regular encouragement
  • share tactics
  • access ReSource@Iliff’s growing knowledge base of specific approaches to start-up, organization, financing, recruitment, and assessment
  • reshape the Ministry Incubator itself as needed.

In some denominations, such as The United Methodist Church, Associates may arrange with their judicatory to have the Ministry Incubator be their appointment or place of call. Thus, the Incubator may be a safe place for ordination credentials during a season of transition.
There is no cost to become an Associate of The Ministry Incubator.  There is also no salary provided by the Incubator. This is an experiment in fostering “tent-making” ministries that may or may not become a leader’s primary income over time.

Application to become an Associate of the Ministry Incubator can be found here.
Want to financially support the Incubator or stay in touch with developments? Friends of the Incubator can sign up here.

The Ministry Incubator is one response to the current fluid situation in North America. It is designed to support following the leadings of the Spirit while traditional religious structures are struggling. Not waiting for denominations to find their way. Not requiring leaders to adhere to one theological view. Trusting the Spirit to lead in many languages and all sorts of directions. And yet being a community of support and respect. Living out Iliff’s core values.

Iliff’s 50in5 Initiative is our commitment to recruiting, nurturing, and sustaining a student body consisting of 50% racial and ethnic diversity in 5 years.

Inspired by intentional conversations with students, staff, faculty, board, alumni and the greater Iliff community, the 50in5 Initiative focuses particularly on racial and ethnic diversity in response to the following:

1. Iliff recognizes its current 35% LGBTQ student body and 41% racially/ethnically diverse faculty do not yet reflect the dynamic diversity the community envisions.

2.  Iliff’s accreditation bodies noted the need for more racial/ethnic diversity in our student body.

3.  Our students are expecting racial/ethnic diversity.

4.  Iliff consistently seeks to address inequitable systemic structures within society and within our own institution.

5.  Iliff recognizes the individual, institutional, and global educational benefits that a racially and ethnically diverse student body provides.


More about the Ministry Incubator

Our Core Values