Leaders In Ministry (training program)

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Do you feel a sense of call to serve God in practical ministry in your local parish or school?  Do you see a need in your area that you feel you may have the gifts to fulfil?  Do you already serve in active ministry in your pastoral area and feel like you could use some more support for your role?  Are you hungering to meet others in ministry who understand your joys as well as your challenges?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, Leaders in Ministry (a continuation of Walking New Paths) may be the program for you.


Leaders in Ministry is a program designed to provide support in formation and education for adult lay ministry within the Dunedin Diocese.  Over a two-year period participants will engage in spirituality and formation, theological studies, and a practical pastoral ministry that fits their gifting and fills a local need.  These opportunities are supported by the Bishop of the Diocese of Dunedin.

Leaders In Ministry is for people responding to the call of ministry in the Catholic Church.  All components are designed to prepare lay people for active ministry within the changing realities of the diocese.  Participants are required to work in partnership with ordained ministers and laity in their areas. 

One strong component of the program is the cohort you will be training with, other lay leaders in ministry in their own areas, coming together for retreats and formation to support each other in this sometimes challenging role.

Discernment to join LEADERS IN MINISTRY

People who are interested in joining Leaders in Ministry enter into a discernment process to determine their suitability and readiness.  This may include talking to people who know you well, your parish priest, graduates from the WNP program, and the director of this program (please see below).

In discerning your call to this program it is helpful to think about your own gifts and how you might use them to serve in ministry in your pastoral area.  It is also essential to consider how much time you will have to commit to the training.  It is similar to undertaking part time study.  You may have to give up another 'extra-cirricular' commitment to enter this program.

Some qualities candidates should possess are: a personal faith commitment, a strong prayer life, a lifestyle in accord with the Gospel, a willingness to serve and respect the needy, good communication and leadership skills, empathy, and an openness to ongoing education and formation.



Spiritual Growth

Participants engage in structured opportunities for spiritual growth.  These include annual weekend retreats (one per year) and monthly spiritual direction.


Participants are given the opportunity to learn about the key teachings of the Catholic Church about God, Jesus, Scripture, the Church, Sacraments, Social Justice and Evangelisation. They participate in distance learning courses provided by The Catholic Institute (TCI) of Aotearoa New Zealand.  They also attend workshops offered in the Dunedin Diocese.

Pastoral Experience

Each year participants undertake a supervised pastoral experience.  Participants learn skills for pastoral ministry.  They work closely with a mentor in their local area to decide what the experience will entail.  It will be a practical ministry that both meets a need in your area and fits the natural giftings you have. 


There are two reviews annually.  The last review includes an assessment to ensure participants have met the criteria for the course in order to graduate.


At the conclusion of Leaders in Ministry participants graduate at a Sunday Mass at which the Bishop presides.

For more information about joining this program contact:

Amy Armstrong, Pastoral Leader: Formation, Outreach and Growth

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (03) 474-5755