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) touches this reality, encouraging curiosity and growth. Since 1997, we have worked with thousands of pastors and multiple partners nationwide. Our name change from NALIP to LuTMA 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 an optional field practice (see separate registration for this option), this course consists of two inter-related components:

  • Congregational Dynamics and Transitions (CDT)
  • The Transitional Leader (TTL)

The first phase, Congregational Dynamics and Transitions (CDT) is offered as a virtual platform, twelve, one and a half hour sessions, beginning October and concluding in February. Follow the registration directions to sign up for the virtual platform offered on Thursdays, beginning at 12:00 noon Central Time.

The second phase, “The Transitional Leader,” is offered as a residential platform. Each registrant must complete all Phase 1 assignments.

The third phase, “Field Practice in Transitional Leadership,” is offered as an optional, virtual platform. In this five-month mentored experience, the participant “puts into practice” the material learned in Phases 1 and 2. Go to the Education drop-down menu at the top of this page to register separately for this option. No additional registration cost is incurred for participants who began Basic Education training in October 2020. For those who completed training prior to October 2020, a separate $500.00 tuition fee is due.


  • 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.


  • $1600 – This tuition covers the two course components and the optional mentoring phase for participants who began training in October 2020, but not the books for required reading.
  • A limited number of scholarships are available. Please click here for more information.

Note that expenses (travel, food, lodging) related to the residential 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.

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 the necessary minimum number of registrations thirty days before the scheduled start date. Enrollment is limited to 24 students or any maximums for a site noted with the registration. LCMS participants are expected by their District Presidents to be informed of enrollment in this training and to receive their blessing and support.

Please note for the virtual sessions: The reading and preparation for each session requires that time be set aside in the pastor’s busy schedule as part of this continuing education experience. Please allow at least two hours per week to complete readings and other homework as assigned.

  • Basic Education Audit
  • Offered only to those who completed transitional training with LuTMA (or previously NALIP).
  • CDT (Phase 1) virtual through LuTMA-Google Classroom.
  • TTL (Phase 2) residential; if desired contact the Executive Director to discuss tuition.
  • Tuition is $300.00 for Phase 1 only.
    Registration is open.

    Send an email to: to indicate which class you would like to audit.

  • Basic Education 2024-2025
  • CDT (Phase 1) virtual through LuTMA-Google Classroom.
  • TTL (Phase 2) May 5-9, 2025 at the Maritime Conference Center, Linthicum Heights, Maryland
    Registration is open.

    • 13 Online Sessions
    • Congregational Dynamics & Transitions (Phase 1) – Online beginning in October 2024 with 13, 90-min sessions on Thursdays at 12:00 PM (Central) as follows:
    • 2024: Oct 3, 10, 17, 24; Nov 7, 14 and 21; Dec 5
    • 2025: Jan 9, 16, 23 and 30; Feb 6
    • Oct 3 - Google Classroom introduction - required attendance
    • The Transitional Leader (Phase 2) – Residential week May 5-9, 2024 at the Maritime Conference Center, Linthicum Heights, Maryland


    Please order the required books in advance of the course start date and complete the reading to be prepared for the online classes.

    • Uproar: Calm Leadership in Anxious Times by Peter L. Steinke, 2019
    • Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, 4th edition by William Bridges, with Susan Bridges, 2016
    • Interim Ministry in Action: A Handbook for Churches in Transition by Norman B. Bendroth, 2018

    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.


    • Basic Training for Transitions tuition is $1600. This tuition covers the two course components (Phases 1 and 2) and the optional mentoring phase for participants who began training in October 2020, but not the books for required reading. Tuition and fees need to be paid in full no later than three calendar weeks 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. Options will be noted on the event description.

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


    Registration Payment/Deposit
    Fifty percent of the tuition is required with 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.

    Room and Board
    Some events are scheduled with room and board available for the residential week Phase 2 (TTL). Each site has different costs and requirements for payments. Cost and other pertinent information will be given to participants prior to the start of the residential phase. Any dietary or other special needs must be handled between the participant and the site staff.

    Payment for applicable room and board is due at least 30 days prior to, or within 30 days following a residential event, depending on the arrangements with the local venue. Participants will receive an invoice for the amount due.

    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 6 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 6 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 participant 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 $150.00 fee for the change, including postponement of the Phase 2 residential week. If a 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 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.

    Association Membership
    ELCA and LC-MS participants in LuTMA educational training events are strongly encouraged to become members of LuTMA and/or 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.