Basic Education

Training in Transitions

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

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

The second phase of training this academic year (2020-2021), “The Transitional Leader,” is offered either as a virtual or residential platform for each registrant, who completed the Phase 1 “Congregational Dynamics and Transitions” virtual classes October 2020 - February 2021. Students will select the section as they are comfortable and as conditions permit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dates and locations are:


  • Thursdays: April 22, 29; May 6, 13, 20 and 27
  • Six 90-minute, online sessions beginning at 2:00 pm (Central)
  • Students will be responsible for 5 hours of independently arranged CIR review sessions and either 1 or 2 African Bible Reflection sessions. No faculty will be present for these independent sessions.

Two Options – All COVID protocols will be in place

Epiphany Lutheran Church
4045 Holly Hills Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63116

April 12-16, 2021
Monday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

A variety of motels are near the church. Meals on your own, however, many motels include breakfast, lunch may be provided by the church (detail to be worked out) or ordered in, dinner on your own.


  • 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 congregational 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 manual of resources 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, analytical 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 as a leader. Gathering in residential, face-to-face setting (Phase 2, TTL), you will present at least 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 are not included in the tuition. Because each site differs, recognize that some sites may not include food. Check carefully to understand what is covered in a site package 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 in overview through the major topics: understanding transitions in general, congregational systems, components of a learning community, process tasks of the leader, the Critical Incident Report (CIR), the Transition Team, focus points, authority, power, conflict management, grief, congregational analysis, spiritual resources, contracting, self-care, entry and exiting. These topics are taken up within the context of the dynamics of leader and people during the stages and tasks of the processes that are required to lead a congregation, school, or organization undergoing transition. The brief, online, plenary sessions are offered live (in real time) in 12 sessions 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.

The Transitional Leader (TTL) is a residential week in which, through a collegial group process, participants share critical incident reports, review in more depth 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.

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, develop learning strategies, identifying critical incidents – all under the online supervision of a faculty mentor and in consultation with other accountability partners and cohorts.

Note: Online courses that begin in the Fall 2020 with Phase 1, CDT, and who complete Phase 2, TTL, will have the option to continue directly online with Phase 3, FPTL. Participants are responsible for having a situation in which to complete their Phase 3, fieldwork 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.


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. LCMS participants are required to obtain recommendation of the district president before training begins.

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.

  • 12 Online Sessions

  • Congregation Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Online beginning in October 2021 with 12, 90-min sessions on Tuesdays at 3:00 PM (Eastern) as follows: Oct 12, 19, 26; Nov 2, 9, 16, 30; Dec 7; Jan 11, 18, 25; Feb 1, 8 (12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader –Residential April 18-22, 2022 at Stow, OH

St. Paul, MN – Luther Seminary (CDT) Location to be determined (TTL)
Registration is open.

  • 12 Online Sessions

  • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Online beginning in October 2021 with 12, 90-min sessions on Thursdays at 2:00 PM (Central) as follows: Oct 14, 21, 28; Nov 4, 11, 18; Dec 2; Jan 13, 20, 27; Feb 3, 10 (12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader – Residential April, 2022 at a site to be determined.

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

  • 12 Online Sessions

  • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Online beginning in October 2021 with 12, 90-min. sessions on Tuesdays at 2:00 PM (Central) as follows: Oct 12, 19, 26; Nov 2, 9, 16, 30; Dec 7; Jan 11, 18, 25; Feb 1(12 sessions)

  • The Transitional Leader – Residential April, 2022 at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO

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

    • 12 Online Sessions

    • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions + Field Practice in Transitional Leadership – Online beginning in October 2021 with 12, 90-min. sessions on Thursdays at 12:00PM (Pacific) as follows: Oct 14, 21, 28; Nov 4, 11, 18; Dec 2; Jan 13, 20, 27; Feb 1, 8 (12 sessions)

    • The Transitional Leader – Residential 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.

    Refunds will be granted as follows:

    • Full Refund less scholarship awards, if LuTMA cancels a training event.
    • Full refund less merchant processing fees (i.e., PayPal) and/or scholarship awards, if LuTMA or a co-sponsoring institution is notified of a cancellation more than 3 weeks before the start date of the LuTMA training.
    • 75% refund less merchant processing fees (i.e., PayPal) and/or scholarship awards, if LuTMA or a co-sponsoring institution is notified of a cancellation 3 weeks or less before the start date of the LuTMA training (cancellation fee equal to 25% of the event tuition).
    • No refund if a participant withdraws from the training event after the start date, subject to LuTMA discretion.
    • 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.