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2024 Cohorts

Cohorts are about community, learning, networking, resources, and “a space where I don’t feel so alone.”

Cohorts in the Michigan Conference offer leaders regular meeting times with others in similar positions or interests. They have made a profound impact on leaders in Michigan and beyond. Past cohort participants have described the cohorts as a place for “community and relationship with people who do the same thing,” “building networks and resources,” “developing self-confidence to try new things,” and “learning opportunities.” The Michigan Conference is expanding the cohort opportunities for 2024. Most cohorts have a minimum required registration of 6 people and a maximum of 12. Additional cohorts may be added if needed. Scholarships are available for Michigan United Methodist Church leaders. Please contact Rev. Kathy Pittenger for more information. Explore each cohort below! 

“The seasoned cohort has been God-sent. For many years, I wished to have a group that I could talk and share ideas with regarding Children’s Ministry. I have thoroughly enjoyed building a community with others in Christian Education. I look forward to continuing to work with the seasoned cohort for many more years.” – Becky Lorenz, Big Beaver UMC, Troy, MI

What’s Included?

All cohorts will be led by trained facilitators and will include relevant resources and/or a book. Most will also include guest presenters to share on a specific topic. The cost of the cohort covers the costs of resources/books, honorariums,  and technology fees.

Foundations of Children’s Ministry Cohort

Facilitator: Rev. Carol Van Buskirk
Meeting Time: 2nd Tuesday of the month from 10am-12pm (Eastern) on Zoom
February-November (with a break for summer)
Registration Fee: $299/$399 (MIUMC/non-MIUMC)

This cohort focuses on basics of children’s ministry. There will be a blend of presentations on topics and cohort discussion. Topics may include: choosing and working with curriculum, planning and organizing your year, milestones, etc.

Seasoned Children’s Ministry Leader Cohort

Facilitator: Rev. Kathy Pittenger
Meeting Time: 4th Thursday of the month 10am-12pm (Eastern) on Zoom
February – November (with a break for the summer)
Registration Fee: $299/$399 (MIUMC/non-MIUMC)

The Seasoned Children’s Ministry Leader cohort is designed for leaders with 5+ years of ministry experience. We will have guest presenters and provide time for discussion among cohort members about specific topics and general ministry. 

blue and green pottery pieces

Seasoned Faith Formation Leaders Cohort

Facilitator: Sherry Stone
Meeting Time: 2nd Thursday of the month from 10a-12p (Eastern) on Zoom
February-November (with a break for the summer)
Registration Fee: $299/$399 (MIUMC/non-MIUMC)

A cohort for experienced faith formation leaders who work with all ages (an emphasis on ministry with children, youth, and families) with a blend of guest speakers and discussion. 

potter's tools

Lifelong Faith Formation Cohort

Facilitator: John Roberto
Meeting Time: Wednesday at 10am (Eastern)
Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 6, April 10, May 8, June 5
Registration Fee: $225 (MIUMC only; includes church team)
Includes the book Lifelong Faith by John Roberto 

The Lifelong Faith Formation cohort is designed to guide churches in envisioning and implementing a lifelong faith formation plan. John Roberto will walk cohort members through different models and approaches, building blocks for a plan, and resources for capacity building.

Orange and black pieces of broken pottery

Timely Topics & Faith Formation Cohort

Facilitator: Erica Kozlowski
Meeting Time: 1st Thursday of the month from 9:30am-11:30am on Zoom
February – November (with a break for the summer)
Registration Fee: $299/$399 (MIUMC/non-MIUMC)

The Timely Topics cohort will focus on topics like: Trauma Informed Ministry, Anti-Racism, Enneagram and Ministry, Mental Health, and Neurodivergent Ministry. Each month will be a different topic with a presentation and discussion. 

Ministry with Gen Z Cohort

Facilitator: Lisa Batten
Meeting Time: 2nd Thursday of the month from 1:30-3:30pm (eastern) on Zoom
Cost: Registration Fee: $199/$299 (MIUMC/non-MIUMC)

The Gen Z Cohort is for those who have a passion for young people and would like to be in ministry with Gen Z, the generation quickly becoming the largest in American yet, born between 1999-2015 (ages 8-24). This cohort will specifically focus on the youth and young adult age range of Gen Z, explore resources to support leaders in knowing motivations, worldview, and Gen Z’s views on faith and church. Cohorts will include hearing from those who are in ministry with Gen Z who will share their experience, knowledge and ideas for faithful ministry with Gen Z. There will be an opportunity for funding to attend a young people’s ministry conference at the completion of the cohort.

Seed to Harvest Cohort

Facilitator: Lisa Batten
Meeting Time: Monthly on Zoom with two in-person gatherings. January – November, no July meeting. Day and time tbd based on availability of those who register.
Registration Fee: $299 (MIUMC only)

The StH cohort will meet monthly for content rich training and peer support around preparing to launch a new ministry. The cohort will have an opportunity to hear from experienced incubators about the joys and challenges of launching something new.

For individuals and small groups from congregations who have a seed of an idea for new ministry or adapting an existing ministry.

Additional cohorts may be added in 2024. If you have a suggestion for a cohort or are interested in a listed cohort if it was offered at a different time, please contact Rev. Kathy Pittenger.


Contact Rev. Kathy Pittenger