Lewis Community Leadership Fellows

This program is on hiatus. Please see the Lewis Fellows program instead.

For gifted early career clergy seeking to engage their communities

The Lewis Community Leadership Fellows is a peer-learning experience offered to United Methodist clergy with demonstrated leadership ability, who have mastered the day-to-day tasks of congregational ministry, yet hunger for a more expansive, outwardly focused approach to ministry. The program seeks to help gifted clergy live into a vision of leadership that reaches beyond the typical, inwardly focused, parochial patterns of congregational life.

Photo of Asa Lee leading a discussionThe Lewis Community Leadership Fellows is designed around the premise that leadership growth is fostered in a collaborative, peer-learning environment that provides challenge, accountability, and support. The program seeks to help participants broaden the horizon of their leadership through dialogue with leaders in government, the private sector, and non-profit organizations, as well as clergy and congregations embodying outwardly focused, innovative leadership. Each gathering focuses around a theme that suggests possibilities for how church and community can come together – such as responding to racial injustice in policing, engaging public schools, and community revitalization.

This initiative is a pilot program, funded through the Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s “Early Career Pastoral Leadership Development Program.” As a pilot, it is currently available only to a select group of clergy invited to participate.

Photo of Doug Powe and the Fellows on a neighborhood excursionLearning Agenda

This fellowship provides a learning opportunity characterized by:

  • Fellowship with United Methodist pastors from around the country with a common desire to become more impactful leaders
  • In-depth encounters with high-profile public leaders
  • Exposure to pastors and congregations embodying effective community ministry
  • An engaging peer-learning environment to contextualize leadership learnings
  • Guidance in applying key lessons learned within one’s congregation and community.


Leaders from Wesley Seminary include Dr. F. Douglas Powe, director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Dr. Ann A. Michel, associate director of the Lewis Center, and Dr. Asa J. Lee, associate dean of Wesley Seminary. The program also draws on Wesley Seminary faculty in urban ministry, missional church, and public theology.


The 2020-2021 cohort of Community Fellows will gather for two 3-day meetings and a 1-day virtual meeting. The dates and locations are:

  • November 9-11, 2020 (Mon.-Wed.) — Baltimore, Maryland
  • February 9, 2021 (Tues.) — Virtual Meeting
  • May 17-19, 2021 (Mon.-Wed.) — Washington, DC


The Lilly Endowment, Inc. provides partial funding for this program. Thanks to Lilly’s generous support, this program is offered at reduced cost of $400 to the participants, and travel, meals, and lodging costs will be reimbursed within agreed-upon guidelines.

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Please see “Lewis Community Leadership Fellows ‘Lift their Gaze’” for an article about Rev. Nathan Adams, a Fellow in the 2016-17 cohort.