An innovative approach to discipleship and developing leaders who need the Church to rise up now more than ever.

IML is the bridge between college and calling.




An innovative approach to discipleship and developing leaders who need the Church to rise up now more than ever.


Accelerate your leadership journey with IML while earning certificates from Fuller Seminary

This innovative program is the result of a fruitful partnership between Fuller Theological Seminary, esteemed professor Chap Clark, and the Institute for Ministry Leadership. Designed as a 9-month church-based leadership institute, it offers participants the opportunity to develop practical leadership skills while earning certificates in Practical Theology and Missiology, equipping them for impactful ministry. With the support of the Institute for Ministry Leadership, hosting churches can participate at an affordable cost, ensuring widespread accessibility to this transformative program.

Our mission is to help every emerging adult leader discover:

Who they are as a person

Who they are as a leader

Who God's calling them to become

Spiritual formation

Spiritual formation through seminary has long been the standard, but changing cultural needs have resulted in decreasing enrollment–New and innovative approaches are needed. New generations need to be empowered holistically so they may engage with our culture both theologically and practically. Many graduating students are not sure where to go to be trained and the Church can meet this need by partnering practical leadership ministry with seminary-level education. 

Communal Empowerment

Many people today are eager to explore spiritual awakening and connection, even though they may not feel drawn to the traditional institutional church. They possess a strong desire to contribute and share their unique perspectives, seeking a warm and inviting space to do so. By combining resources of the Leadership professionals, Fuller, and local churches, we hope to create spaces tuned perfectly for our cultural climate.

Leadership Development

Our program addresses the common feeling of being unprepared for pastoral ministry after Bible school. We bridge this gap through comprehensive leadership training, hands-on experience, and seminary-level education. Our goal is to empower emerging leaders with the skills and confidence needed for effective pastoral ministry. In a supportive environment, we cultivate capable and effective leaders who can meet the evolving needs of the spiritual community.


At the Institute for Ministry Leadership (IML), we believe in an empowering co-mentoring model that invites, encourages, and empowers emerging leaders to exercise their gifts while walking alongside experienced mentors in their church community.

In light of the challenges faced by prospective Masters students, Chap Clark, along with the support of Fuller Theological Seminary, have envisioned this onramp program that partners with Fuller Equip. This program aims to provide an external solution to the declining seminary-level Biblical proficiency by offering a transformative 9-month church-based leadership institute. One of the key benefits of this IML’s program in partnership with Fuller Equip is its focus on church leaders By participating in this program, staff members, volunteers, and motivated Jesus-followers can enhance their leadership skills, deepen their theological understanding, and gain practical insights for ministry. The program also provides a unique opportunity for churches to “train the trainer,” as Fuller Equip and IML work together to develop a comprehensive curricular platform. All that’s required from the hosting church is a modest investment in the program and the appointment of a staff member to supervise the bi-monthly sessions. If someone wants to join experience as an individual outside their church, feel free to contact us to be part of one of our hybrid cohorts.

At IML, we believe in a holistic approach to discipleship training, where churches partner with kingdom-minded people and provide them access to seminary-level education. IML offers three different mentorship models, In addition to the cohort experience with Fuller Equip—cohorts, residency, and coaching—allow flexibility for your church community to choose the approach that best fits your context and goals.

Join us on this transformative journey as we empower emerging leaders, revitalize ministry preparation, and create a vibrant, engaged church community. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the future of ministry.


HOW IT WORKS: Cohort Program with Fuller Equip

For the Associates:


Bi-monthly training sessions with Fuller Equip (results in 8 units toward a seminary degree at Fuller Seminary)


Weekly and Monthly coaching sessions for Associates


Online, in person, and Hybrid retreat experiences


Resources and coaching for program directors


Class sessions are led by a network of professionals in various industries (in other words, you will have access to Dr. Chap Clark and his decades-long network of industry leaders who will join you and your team to come and teach your associates).

For the Sponsoring Churches:


Training and mentoring for the church's advisory board and/or designated leader


Marketing materials and coaching to find participants who are willing to commit to the 9 month program


Curriculum for the staff-led coaching segments


Mentorship from IML Staff throughout the year to ensure churches are continually equipped to engage and support their associates.

Program Details:

How Long is it?

  • The program should be about 9 months (labor day to memorial day) and we recommend a class of 4-8 associates each year.

What is the commitment?

  • We ask for churches to commit to a 2-year cycle so we can help you adequately get the program launched and sustainable.

How does seminary content fit in?

  • Our seminary relationships allow IML to offer two fully advanced standing courses in a setting that is biblically solid, theologically robust, and yet contextually accessible and engaging for any associate, regardless of background or previous training or experience. 

Do I need to be sponsored by a church?

  • No! There are two ways to be part of a cohort. One way is to be part of a church who’s sponsoring the program for a group of associates. The other way is to sign up as an individual, where you will join other associates in a hybrid-online format.


What will this Cost?

Great question! The cohort model costs $400 per student which covers the cost of the seminary accrediation. We are committed to helping churches develop leaders, and believe our model is a fantastic way to train young leaders and provide access to seminary level education at a fraction of the price. As such, each church and project will look a little differently so if you are interested the next step is to contact us.

Cohort Program

The IML cohort program is the key experience IML offers.

Each church cohort is designed to provide a unique learning experience for associates who are interested in pursuing deeper involvement or even a career in ministry or church leadership. This program is available to anyone who wants to pursue their faith in an intentional way through a mentoring church.

The cohort associate program is structured from a practical theology model to provide practical training in various aspects of church ministry, including preaching, teaching, pastoral care, evangelism, and administration. The program typically lasts for 9 months and requires a commitment of 5-10 hours per week from the associate and a mentor from the hosting church. During this time, associates will work closely with experienced coaches from IML and local church leaders to gain hands-on experience in their area of interest.

In addition to the practical training, associates will also receive academic credit for their participation in the program. Typically, associates will receive two seminary class credits upon completion of the program, which can be applied to their advanced degree requirements.

One of the significant benefits of the IML cohort program is the level of biblical and theological training it provides, as well as being introduced to prominent seminary professors to guide associates in their own faith journey. 

Other benefits of the program include the opportunity to build relationships with other associates and church leaders, gain exposure to different ministry contexts and models, and develop leadership and communication skills.

Overall, the IML cohort internship program is an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience in church ministry while also earning academic credit and receiving tuition assistance. It is an ideal way to prepare for a career in ministry or church leadership while also building relationships and expanding one’s knowledge and skills.

All the local church needs to provide is:

  1. A mentor staff who will work with the IML staff to host the cohort
  2. Motivated associate(s) who are willing to participate in the cohort program as facilitated by the IML staff
  3. $400 per associate



Residency Program

The IML residency program adds two key components to the student experience. The church agrees to provide employment and housing to the associate in return for increased engagement from the IML staff creating a true working-ministry experience for the associate. This is perfect for churches who have the capacity and desire to raise up leaders who will be read for full time ministry or vocational ministry upon completion of the program. 

Each residency program can offer one or two “tracks”. Tracks are our way of classifying job descriptions into two categories, “ministry” and “professional”. The ministry track would involve hiring an associate into your church community in a role where they can lead, be part of a community, and be formed spiritually. The “professional” track would involve you helping the associate land a job in the local community that aligns with their interests while providing them with a prominent volunteer opportunity to discover how to integrate their faith, work, and life together. As a church, you can launch with either or both tracks.

While not necessarily the goal, often churches will considering hiring an IML associate upon completion of the program. Think of it like a very effective and theologically robust internship program that’s often only available to the top 1% of churches with resources.  

Coaching Program

Sometimes churches wish to have these seminary-level resources available to their staff and/or invested congregants. Our coaching program is designed to partner with existing church staff and others who want to dive deeper into their faith to offer the IML leadership resources, class sessions, and seminary credit. This is a great way to invest in current staff to provide an enriching workplace benefit.


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