Basic Education

Basic Education

Do you desire to become a more effective transitional leader and agent of the Gospel? Are you considering intentional interim ministry as a possibility for your future?

As the world continues to change, we confront both profound grief and tantalizing possibilities. How can we better equip ourselves to guide congregations through difficult transitions and into new life?

Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association (LuTMA, formerly NALIP) touches this reality, encouraging curiosity and growth. Since 1997, we have worked with thousands of pastors and multiple partners nationwide. Our name change reflects our own ongoing process of transformation.

Taking this six-month course in “Basic Training in Transitions” will help you navigate congregational dynamics and aid you in being a transitional leader. Because all ministry is essentially transitional, this course is appropriate for both settled and interim pastors.

Offering a total of 60 contact hours of continuing education plus field practice, this course consists of three inter-related components:

  • Congregational Dynamics and Transitions (CDT)
  • Field Practice in Transitional Leadership (FPTL)
  • The Transitional Leader (TTL)

During the COVID-19 crisis, the first two components (CDT and FPTL) will be offered in continuity, online over a period of about four-five months. Anticipating face-to-face possibilities in the Spring 2021, the third component (TTL) will begin at 1:00 pm on Monday and conclude at noon on Friday at these dates and locations:

  • St. Louis, MO (Concordia Seminary) April 12—16, 2021

  • Stow, OH (St. Stephen Lutheran Church, NEOS Synod) April 19—23, 2021

  • Farmington, MN (Mt. Olivet Retreat Center) April 26—30, 2021

  • Irvine, CA (Pacific Southwest District Office) May 10—14, 2021

Notes for the future: After the Covid-19 pandemic has no longer restricted assembly, the fieldwork component (FPTL) will follow “The Transitional Leader” (TTL) as the final component to the training. “Congregational Dynamics and Transitions” (CDT) will continue as an online offering and “The Transitional Leader” (TTL) will be offered in a residential, face-to-face week in various locations.


  • Process tasks, which guide a leader in helping a congregation move into a healthy future
  • Guidelines in creating a learning team to aid a congregation as they discover their direction going forward
  • Tools to help congregations discover and assess their present reality and plan for their future
  • Areas of focus for a congregation to explore the future God is inviting them to discover
  • Vocabulary to describe and understand the dynamics of a system experiencing transition
  • Creative tensions that help increase self-differentiation while navigating transitions
  • Ways to manage conflict and appreciate power in a congregation
  • Increased awareness of self while functioning in a system that includes judicatory, leaders, and congregation
  • Deeper consciousness of God’s expectations and promises in developing transitional pilgrims, whether as an interim or settled pastor


Engaging required material with others

A resource manual will be provided to read and refer to in the future. You will also be required to read a few books in advance of the course beginning. Some pre-recorded videos may also be available to watch on your own time to whet your appetite.

You will be asked to engage others in what you have learned through participation in discussion groups and a Q&A chat, where you will submit short answers to posed questions and comment on responses from others.

Learning through propositions and scenarios

Propositional learning involves exploring an unfolding story of a hypothetical interim experience with its emerging dynamics. This sharpens your thinking, analysis skills, and self-awareness through individual and group reflection.

Being blessed during African Bible Reflection

With scripture and in community, you will listen, share, and pray together. You will gain insights and strengthen relationships while deepening your foundation with God’s Word.

Participating in online interactive experiences

Most of the faculty’s presentations will be live, with opportunities to ask them questions and to interact with others in discussion groups. If you must miss a session because of an emergency, these sessions will be recorded for later viewing.

Being trained in “Critical Incident Reporting”

You will write Critical Incident Reports (CIRs) to submit to faculty. In these one-page reports, you will analyze the congregational system and evaluate your functioning. When we gather in residential, face-to-face setting, you will present one approved CIR to a small group following a structured process as part of a learning community.


  • $1,500 – This tuition covers all three course components, but not the books for required reading.

Note that expenses (travel, food, lodging) related to the residential, face-to-face, week of training is not included in the tuition. Because each site differs, recognize that some sites may not include food. Check carefully to understand what is covered and what is not.


Congregational Dynamics and Transitions (CDT) is an online component focusing on the theory, theology, leadership skills, and congregational system dynamics that relate to intentional interim ministry and all transitions. In this course component, the interim journey is examined through scenarios (propositional learning) including the dynamics of leader and people during stages and tasks of the process. Also covered are entry and exiting, emotional systems, conflict, grief, power structures, and the leadership skills, spiritual resources, and process tasks necessary to lead the congregation, school, or organization. The brief, online, plenary sessions are offered live (in real time) weekly over a four to five-month period, allowing time for reading, question / answer, and online small group discussion. Additional online times are used for small, learning group discussions and spiritual support.

Field Practice in Transitional Leadership (FPTL) is a mentored experience in a parish or institutional setting, ideally in a leadership transition, in which the participant in this program "puts into practice" the material learned previously. During this time, participants practice contracting (covenanting), work on personal learning goals, review previous learning, and writing critical incident reports--all under the online supervision of a faculty mentor and in consultation with other members of the class.

Note: Online courses that begin in the Fall 2020 with CDT will continue directly online with FPTL. Participants are responsible for having a situation in which to complete their FPTL component. While most participants in the program will have a ministry site, some may not. LuTMA program faculty will help you define options available for your field work.

The Transitional Leader (TTL) is a residential week in which, through a collegial group process, participants share critical incident reports, review material learned earlier, and learn more about themselves as transitional leaders -- especially in congregations or organizations facing adaptive challenges. Participants also discuss the biblical and theological connections in this special ministry as specifically related to the Lutheran church and discover or refine their own personal vision for serving as a transitional, interim pastor or leader.

All participants who satisfactorily complete the assigned work in this educational opportunity will receive a "Certificate of Completion." Participants are cautioned that completion of the program is not to be construed as "certification" or "accreditation" as an intentional interim pastor. Participants are advised to speak with their district president or synod bishop about placement and further recognition.

Persons interested in enrolling in a LuTMA sponsored Basic Training in Transitions are advised to visit the website of the respective institutions at which the residential week is scheduled to learn more about the facility. There may be slight differences in course presentations and costs. Housing costs vary with each venue. Some classes register directly with the venue. Others register through LuTMA. The links below will take you to the correct form to use or direct you to the venue to register.

Please note that you must register for the training based on where you will attend your residential week.

Individual and judicatory inquiries are welcome. Judicatories, schools, and other Christian ministry organizations may wish to arrange for specialized group training.

Contact via email at


Events are subject to cancellation if enrollment fails to meet necessary minimum number of registrations thirty days before scheduled start date. Enrollment is limited to 24 students or any maximums for a site noted with the registration.

Stow, OH – Northeast Ohio Synod
Registration is open.

Contact The Rev. Karl Biermann, Assistant to the Bishop of the Northeast Ohio Synod
(330) 929-9022, ext. 31

  • Congregation Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Live Online beginning in October with 12, 90-min sessions on Tuesdays at 3:00 PM (Eastern) as follows: Oct 13, 20, 27; Nov 3, 10, 17; Dec 1; Jan 12, 19, 26; Feb 2, 9 (12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader –In-person April 19-23, 2021 at Stow, OH

St. Paul, MN – Luther Seminary
Registration is open.

  • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Live Online beginning in October with 12, 90-min sessions on Thursdays at 2:00 PM (Central) as follows: Oct 15, 22, 29; Nov 5, 12, 19; Dec 3; Jan 14, 21, 28; Feb 4, 11 (12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader – In-person April 26-30, 2021 at Mt. Olivet Retreat Center, Farmington, MN

St. Louis, MO – Concordia Seminary
Registration is open.

Contact Erika Bennett, Dir. of Continuing Education
(314) 505-7286

  • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Live Online beginning in October with 12, 90-min. sessions on Tuesdays at 2:00PM (Central) as follows: Oct 13, 20, 27; Nov 3, 10, 17; Dec 1; Jan 12, 19, 26; Feb 2, 9 (12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader – In-person April 12-16, 2021 at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO

Irvine, CA –Pacific Southwest District/Pacifica Synod
Registration is open.

Register Online or Contact LuTMA (717) 579-1875

  • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Live Online beginning in October with 12, 90-min. sessions on Tuesdays at 12:00PM (Pacific) as follows: Oct 13, 20, 27; Nov 3, 10, 17; Dec 1; Jan 12, 19, 26; Feb 2, 9 (12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader – In-person May 10-14, 2021 at PSD Office, Irvine, CA


  • Basic Training for Transitions (includes all three components) tuition is $1500 after July 9, 2020. There is no increase for those registered prior to July 9. Tuition and fees need to be paid in full prior to beginning the course because of contractual agreements with the trainers and sites.
  • On-site lodging and meals are additional and depend on the costs charged by the specific venues. These costs change annually. The seminaries prefer to charge each student while the retreat centers normally will have a group contract with LuTMA. Options will be noted on the event registration forms.

A limited number of scholarships are available for Basic Training in Transitions.
Please click here for more information.


Deposit and Registration
Fifty percent of the tuition (and room/board) is required with your registration at least 30 days prior to a training event. Full payment is due three weeks prior to the first day of the training. Tuition for the course and its components cannot be refunded after the beginning of training.

A full refund will be granted if LuTMA or a co-sponsoring institution is notified of a cancellation more than three weeks before the opening date of the LuTMA training. Cancellations less than three weeks prior to a training or event will result in a cancellation fee equal to 25% of the event tuition. Registrations are limited and accepted on a first-pay basis. If LuTMA cancels a course or component, full payment will be refunded. All fees, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

If a registrant determines that it is necessary to change class dates or venues and wishes to participate in training at a different time and/or venue, there will be a $50 fee for the change. During 2020-21 registrants are encouraged to complete FPLT work with their CDT faculty prior to transferring for the residential component (TTL). If transfer is due to the cancellation of a class by LuTMA the transfer fee will be waived.

Participants are expected to attend and participate in all sessions of the course from the beginning time to its conclusion. If there is an emergency, recorded online sessions will be made available. For the residential component, It is important, especially for commuters, to have pastoral coverage arranged prior to attending the training event. A certificate of attendance/completion will not be given to anyone who misses any portion of a session.

Participants will be provided a resource manual and additional learning materials. The purchase of books and other reading material recommended will be the responsibility of participants.

Room and Board
Some of our events are scheduled with room and board available for the residential week (TTL). Each site has different costs and requirements for payments. We will convey to you the information from the site about availability and cost. Any dietary or other special needs must be handled between the participant and the site staff.

Association Membership
ELCA and LC-MS participants in LuTMA educational training events are strongly encouraged to become members of their respective denominational interim ministry organizations (Interim Ministry Association – ELCA or Interim Ministry Conference – LC-MS). Further information about dues and membership is available on the Members page of this web site.