Lewis Fellows

The Lewis Fellows program is a post-graduate, post-ordination leadership development opportunity for young clergy offered by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. The program brings together outstanding young clergy (generally under the age of 35) for intensive leadership development activities and sustained peer interaction. Over 250 clergy from over a dozen denominations have been Fellows. The program began in 2005 as part of Lilly’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Initiative. In 2012, the Lilly Endowment awarded the Lewis Center another grant through its Transition into Ministry Initiative that currently provides significant funding to support the program.

Program Overview 

Each year, the Lewis Center selects an ecumenical group of outstanding young clergy to be part of a learning community that meets together three times over the course of a year for four-day meetings (Monday – Thursday), generally held in a hotel or conference center.

Learning Agenda

Each gathering is built around a learning agenda facilitated by the staff of the Lewis Center. Group activities include presentations on leadership themes, group discussion, the use of leadership assessment instruments, and worship. A central feature of each meeting is a series of visits to local congregations. These site visits serve as “experiential case studies” allowing participants to observe ministry in a variety of cultural contexts and converse candidly with outstanding ministry practitioners about their personal leadership. Fellows prepare in advance of each meeting through assigned reading and occasionally through the completion of additional pre-work. Two units of Continuing Education Credit (2 CEUs) are issued for each of the three gatherings.

Eligibility Requirements

The Lewis Fellows program seeks applicants who: 

  • Are under the age of 35
  • Are at least two years but no more than ten years beyond seminary
  • Serve in a congregational setting
  • Reside in the continental United States (due to travel budget limitations)
  • Are motivated by a desire to be fruitful in ministry by developing their personal leadership
  • Are open learning from peers and presenters representing a diverse range of cultural contexts and theological perspectives.
  • Can commit to attending all three cohort gatherings.

Because there are many more qualified young clergy than can be accommodated in any one year, participants are selected in a manner that promotes group diversity in terms of gender, racial/ethnic background, denominational affiliation, geography, educational experience, and theological perspective.

Applying to Become a Lewis Fellow

Information on how to apply for the next cohort of Lewis Fellows will be posted in early 2019.  

For More Information

Questions can be directed to Dr. F. Douglas Powe, Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership (dpowe@wesleyseminary.edu), or Dr. Ann A. Michel, Associate Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, (amichel@wesleyseminary.edu).


Also see “Lewis Community Leadership Fellows ‘Lift their Gaze,’” an article about former Lewis Fellow Rev. Nathan Adams.

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