Nehemiah Leadership Network
NLN Video OverviewAbout 14 minutes

NLN offers a uniquely powerful three-year experience that helps pastors deepen their self-understanding, develop new and potent skills for leading human systems, increase emotional intelligence, and find healthly life-balance.

How can our churches move and adapt to a rapidly-changing world?

There is no shortage of books, theories, and techniques that claim to provide the answer. But no matter what program or technique is used, if a church is going to move to new and renewed vibrancy there is one consistently necessary factor — the ability of the pastor to function as a "change leader."


Since 2002 the Nehemiah leadership Network has been committed to equipping the best pastors to be more effective change leaders.

Pastor Participants
  • 3 components to the 3-year NLN experience: Individualized learning plan, mentored colleague groups, annual conference learning event.
  • Being a pastor can be a lonely experience. Colleague groups provide a powerful collegial experience of mutual support and trust.
  • A Covenantal Partnership between pastors, congregations, regions, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and MMBB.
  • NN graduates earn continuing education credits, and are certified by the Office of the General Secretary ABCUSA as having achieved a mark of pastoral excellence.
**About Us
The Nehemiah Leadership Network

The Nehemiah Leadership Network was founded in 2002 as a ministry of American Baptist Churches USA partners. NLN was created as a highly cooperative effort to help equip the best pastors to be more effective change-leaders in and with their congregations.

Since 2005 NLN has graduated over 100 pastors, many of whom credit the NLN experience for enriching and empowering their pastoral ministry.

For details on requirements and application procedures, see various documents in the Resources section.

The Network: A Covenantal Partnership
Institutional Partners
  • American Baptist Home Mission Societies (Website)
  • Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (Website)
  • Office of the General Secretary (Website)
  • Center for Career Development and Ministry (Website)
Participating Regions
  • American Baptist Churches of Connecticut (Website)
  • American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky
  • American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (Website)
  • American Baptist Churches of New York State (Website)
  • American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware (Website)
  • American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island (Website)
  • American Baptist Churches of Vermont and New Hampshire (Website)
  • District of Columbia Baptist Convention (Website)
  • Greater Indianapolis
  • Rochester Genesee Region, American Baptist Churches USA (Website)
  • The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (Website)
  • The Philadelphia Baptist Association (Website)
NLN Board of Directors
Rev. Tom Wiles (chair)Executive Minister for the American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island
Rev. Tom BeersProgram Coordinator, Nehemiah Leadership Network, and Pastoral Partner of Central Baptist Church, Wayne, PA
Rev Mary Day Miller 
Rev. Tom HiltsleyABCVNH
Rev. Perry HopperAssociate Executive Director and Director of denominational relations of MMBB
James KelseyExecutive Minister for American Baptist Churches of New York State
Dr. Ross Peterson 
Dr. Leon RunnerAdmin. Coordinator-NLN; Pastor, Lowville Baptist Church, Lowville, NY
Rev Soozi Whitten-Ford 
**Program Details
The Network's Operation

The Nehemial Leadership Network is a three-year intensive journey that is built around three elements: an individualized learning plan, the colleague group experience, and the annual conference learning event. These three experiences combine to provide a powerful tranformational experience that has significantly impacted the ministry and lives of participating pastors.

Components of the Network (click area for info)
1. Individual Learning Plan

NLN is not a scripted program! Participating pastors draft their own three-year learning goals and yearly action plans. Pastors choose individualized learning goals for four key areas. Pastors receive valuable input from a visit to the Center for Careen Development in the Ministry to deepen their learning plans.

The Learning Plan areas:
  1. Spiritual Growth
  2. Emotional Maturity
  3. Skills for Leading Change
  4. Conceptual Models for the Congregation as a System
2. Colleague Group

Colleague groups are the heart of the NLN experience. All incoming pastors are formed into colleague groups of three to five pastors, with a skilled mentor/coach/facilitaor. Colleague groups meet at least five times each year. It is in this intimate, confidential, and collegial setting that pastors work out how to get movement on their learning goals. The colleague group is a powerful experience that combines collegial support, accountability, and peer coaching.

group pic
3. Annual Conference

Each pastor attends 4 learning events in the course of her/his time with NLN. The four-day conference, in early February of each year at the Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center. These gatherings feature prominent speakers on themes related to leading change. The conference is an invigorating time of learning, group sharing, collegial bonding, and worship.

participants conference speaker
4. Conference (cont.)

Some of our past conference themes:

  • Family Systems
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Leading Discipleship
  • Rethinking Discipleship
  • Making the Shift to "Missional Church"
  • The Life-cycles of Congregations
conference speaker
**How to Apply
How a Pastor Gets Involved

Although many pastors, with varieties of backgrounds and experiences, are in the Nehemiah Leadership Network, participation is not automatic. Pastors must be nominated by their regional Executive Minister (of a NLN participating region) and go through an application and selection process.

Additionally, the pastor's church must officially approve the participation, sign a congregational covenant, and agree to an annual financial commitment of $400.

Application Steps
  • Pastors must be nominated by their regional Executive Minister of a participating region. (Contact your regional office.)
  • Applicants must attend a one-day session at the Center for Career Development and Ministry. (If the applicatant has attended the center within the last 2 years, this can be accomplished by a telephone session.)
  • Applicants complete the NLN application. (Get application form on the Resources page.)
Application Costs and Requirements
  • Apply and succcessfully complete the full application process.
  • Submit a signed covenant from the pastor's congregation.
  • If the applicant is an MMBB enrollee the cost for the Center for the Ministry evaluation is $250.
  • Pastor makes a $300/year contribution.
  • Pastor's congregation makes a $400/year contribution.
Requirements for Successful Completion of the NLN Journey and NLN Certification
  • Drafting personal learning goals and updating them on a yearly basis.
  • Attending all Annual Conference Learning Events.
  • Participating in all meetings of a colleague group.
  • Complete an annual self-evaluation and an exit evaluation.
For More Information:

Several items that give more detail about the Network, as well as more application information are available in the Documents and Downloads section of this website.

Rev. Leon Runner is the Network Adminstrative Coordinator. Please feel free to contact Leon:

Email: resandlife@gmail.com    Telephone: 484-614-5728

Leon Runner
7484 S. State Street
Lowville, NY 13367
**Support Us
You Can Help Us Invest in the Church of the Future by Supporting the Nehemiah Leadership Network

The Nehemiah Leadership Network receives financial support from Regions, Home Mission Societies of ABCUSA, the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board, congregations and Pastors

If you would like to join in investing in pastoral excellence, will you consider making a financial contribution to NLN?

How You Can Help!
  • Make a one-time gift to the Nehemiah Leadership Network.
  • Make a pledge for an on-going annual contribution to the Network.
  • Have your church make the Nehemiah Leadership Network an ongoing part of its Outreach or Missions support.
  • If your church is unaware of the NLN, consider inviting the NLN Coordinator to make a presentation on the work of NLN.

Make checks payable to "American Baptist Churches of New York State", with "Nehemiah Leadership Network" on the memo line.

Send contributions to:

Rev. Leon Runner
Administrative Coordinator, Nehemiah Leadership Network
7484 S. State Street
Lowville, NY 13367
Documents and Materials

We have a few informational items available to view and/or download. Any avaialable to the general public are listed in the section below.

If there are any questions or you want information that does not seem to be available, please contact the NLN Administrative Coordinator, Leon Runner:

Email: Leon Runner     Telephone: 484-614-5728

Leon Runner
7484 S. State Street
Lowville, NY 13367

Note: Materials for pastors already in the Network are listed and available in the Members section of this website.

Documents for Download
© 2017 Nehemiah Leadership Network