Leadership and Ministry Development

From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus engaged in the recruitment and development of disciples for spreading the Good News among the people of Israel and eventually to all corners of the world. His approach was deceptively simple: calling to fishermen, a tax collector, a hairdresser, and other ordinary folks he encountered, with the simple declaration: “Follow me.” And though he sent them out on the byways with little more than the clothes on their backs, he instilled in them the principles of discipleship through his teaching and his action. He did not make light of the challenges and dangers facing the disciples—or the cost they would incur. But through his courage and commitment to reuniting all humanity with God and each other and restoring the Kingdom of God, he inspired confidence and devotion to the same mission in them.

Prayer, study, and praxis continue to be the foundations of our work to develop ministry and leaders in the church today. Our tools and procedures may be more complex, but the goals we strive for are much the same: developing effective leaders and ministers of the Gospel.

Commission on Mission and Development

The Commission on Mission and Development (COMD) is given the task of working with congregations who are aided parishes, parishes facing serious difficulties, or those who want to improve their leadership or ministry. We are appointed by the bishop. We do not have a chair, rather we have a convener who is selected by the members and approved by the bishop. We work collaboratively using consensus to make decisions. 

As a commission of the diocese, we are committed to:

  • Supporting the ministry of the diocese
  • Developing healthy congregations
  • Providing resources including tools, programs and people (as speakers or facilitators)
  • Making connections and links for congregations and the diocese
  • Encouraging congregations and leaders to take risks, to be innovative
  • Creating dialogue and conversation about the now and about the future by raising the opportunities for this to happen, providing formation experiences and asking tough and challenging questions
  • Identifying possible new missions and ministries and assisting those developing new missions and ministries
  • Dreaming of the future
  • Being a proactive force within our diocese

 As a ministry team, we value and see ourselves:

  • As expecting opportunities for ministry to happen and being committed to working to create them
  • As seeking to discover how church is ‘done’ and how is God calling our parishes and diocese to be church today and in the future
  • As energetic hard working and have that expectation for all members
  • As listeners to the parishes, the diocesan leaders and our bishop
  • As both supporting and challenging our bishop and our diocesan leaders
  • As a learning community and then as leaders or facilitators of that learning to the larger community

 Major tasks for Commission on Mission and Development:

  • Continue to learn about congregational development in a variety of ways including, where possible, having a focus topic or issue that is explored over a period of time
  • Address the issues facing our congregations in a changing culture
  • Help conversation happen between congregations, communities and leaders
  • Oversee grant opportunities
  • Review of parish requests to the Standing Committee regarding encumbering of parish property including sale or purchase of property and entering into loans
  • Provide or make possible workshops and training in leadership and congregational development for vestry members and/or wardens and treasurers

Our Diocesan Aid Process

The Commission on Mission and Development is in a season of transition, discernment, and hope with our approach to diocesan financial aid to parishes. Over the past few years, the COMD and other parish and diocesan leaders have been working hard on a number of fronts to move towards greater sustainability for our parishes. Thanks to a bold debt-reduction program, four parishes are no longer dependent on aid to assist with mortgage payments. Several regional collaborations and parish partnerships are taking shape, to share resources and ministry effectively. Also, we’ve committed to supporting parish revitalization in several key locations with great potential for growth.  

During this time of change, we will continue to accept applications for aid using a similar process as in the past. However, starting in 2017, we anticipate that we will be offering less aid to fewer parishes. We encourage parishes seeking aid for 2018 both to apply for the assistance you anticipate needing, and also to begin conversations with your parish leadership about what sustainability and renewal might look like in your context. Please know that Canon Peggy Bean and the members of the Commission on Mission and Development are available and happy to be resources and conversation partners for you!  

Application for Financial Aid for 2018

Leadership Development

For clergy, this work takes place in structured programs like the Church Development Institute, Fresh Start, seminars and consultations through the Alban Institute, Credo Institute conferences, and Clergy Day gatherings; and more informally through collegial networks and fellowship opportunities at Convocation and Diocesan Convention. Additional opportunities for spiritual and vocational development are available through the Commission on Ministry and the Commission on Ministry and Development.

Leadership Days

Introduction to Systemic Racism

Save the date for our next Leadership Day on Saturday, March 23, at Zion, Oconomowoc. Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training will present a day-long Introduction to Systemic Racism.

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to the idea that oppression and, in particular, racism is not only a matter of individual prejudice but a systemic, institutional problem of power, which requires structural intervention to dismantle.

Participants will be exposed to a definition of systemic racism. A rationale will be explored for developing a fuller analysis of racism, including understanding its historical and legal roots and contemporary functioning. The cost of the training is $10 to cover materials and lunch (you may mail a check to the Diocese of Milwaukee Finance Office or you may pay with check or cash at the training).

Saturday, March 23
8:30 am — Registration
9 am to 4 pm — Workshop
Zion, Oconomowoc

Leadership Day


Alban Institute
Credo Institute
Episcopal Church Foundation
Fresh Start


Peggy Bean, Canon for Congregations
(800) 236-3028 x158