Transition into Ministry

Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa has a salaried 27-month residency program for recent seminary graduates, ordained or eligible for ordination. The residents become Associate Ministers of the pastoral staff of Plymouth Church. The Associates perform all the functions of the other ministers—leading worship, pastoral care, preaching sermons, weddings, funerals, and developing programs for the life of the congregation.

Funded by the Lilly Endowment, the TiM Program allows for a salary and benefits in line with Iowa Conference Guidelines. The Associates receive a significant and rich experience in the core activities of ministry. The two Associates, in addition to performing all duties of the current ministerial staff, meet weekly with the Senior Minister. That meeting could include sermon discussions and critique, review and reflections on core aspects of ministry, possible readings on ministry and theology and integration into the program staff of Plymouth.

Plymouth’s multi-person staff is blessed with varying skill sets as well as ways of interacting with members of the 3200 member congregation. The pastoral staff includes the Senior Minister, a Minister of Discipleship, Minister of Community Engagement, and Minister of Care and Welcome. These seasoned ministers provide a rich and supportive collegial, collaborative and teaching cohort for the Associates.

The Plymouth Associates are integrated into the staffing patterns of the church quickly and are involved with learning experiences outside of Plymouth as well. Each Associate has opportunity to preach in the Sunday worship as well as through an established and popular Saturday worship which earlier residents helped to revise and lead. Plymouth provides the Associates with the freedom to imagine and implement teaching programs for the church and community.

The Residency is designed to be an intensive learning and work environment within a congregation that is both supportive and demanding. It provides a tremendous growing experience that will leave each Associate better equipped for a long and fruitful career in ministry.

This is one of the ways in which Plymouth continues its ministry to this community and the greater community beyond Des Moines by helping to prepare emerging pastors for the challenge before them as well as the joys of ministry.


Application materials may be submitted electronically or by U.S. Postal Service.

Application Instructions
Application Questions
Letter of Reference Form
Telephone Reference

Transition-into-Ministry
Contact:  Frank Thomas  515.255-3149  Ext. 47
fthomas@plymouthchurch.com

The opening video is from the Plymouth Church Transition into Ministry Jubilee celebration in the fall of 2014. Other videos from that historic event are available on Plymouth Church DSM’s YouTube Channel. Please check them out.

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