The following material is oriented for the CPL program for MDivs. Looking for program outcomes for the CPL program for MAs? Click here!


Because the contextual needs of Christian public leaders are as diverse as Christian public leaders themselves, the CPL program is not designed to enforce a certain list of specific outcomes. By contrast, the CPL program is designed to support seminarians as they identify their own vocational traits and characteristics, explore their own personal and professional identities, and develop their own practical skills.

As a result, the onus of responsibility for the work of identification, exploration, and development in their contextual work lies not with Contextual Learning, but with the seminarian and his or her mentor. Contextual Learning does not prescribe the type of ministry setting students participate in; instead, we offer support and guidance as students define their own goals and hopes for each semester of contextual work.

That being said, a seminarian unsure where to begin may find the following list of ideas helpful. Please review this list for some outcomes the CPL program supports and encourages.



  • Developing a sense of God’s mission within yourself, your contexts, and your communities

  • Developing a capacity for deep, intentional listening within yourself, your contexts, and your communities

  • Lifting out your heart’s greatest joys in the context of the world’s greatest needs

  • Recognizing and developing your own strengths, gifts, and experiences

  • Defining and highlighting your own limits, growing edges, and lack of experience

  • Developing emotional and spiritual, health, and well-being

  • Working on thoughtful servant leadership, humility, and resilience


  • Exploring the shape, contour, and origins of your theologies and personal worldviews

  • Learning to critically examine those theologies and personal worldviews in order to better understand the Other and build a wider frame of reference in Christian public leadership

  • Developing a sense of what it means to engage pastoral, community-based, and/or other types of professional leadership, especially through one-on-one examples

  • Developing a sense of what it means to engage in teaching, writing, communications, pastoral care, mission development, youth leadership, social work, arts, and/or other types of professional roles, especially through one-on-one examples

  • Witnessing how your mentor lives into their own emotional and spiritual health and well-being


  • Building a knowledge base of theology, language, behavior that enhances the worth and dignity of others:

    • Understanding theology as a foundation for intercultural relationships with others

    • Developing skills of empathy and verbal/non-verbal communication with others

    • Crafting attitudes of curiosity, respect, and openness toward others

    • Learning how to engage in respectful silence and learning

  • Taking on the skills of a professional pastor:

    • Preaching

    • Teaching

    • Leading worship

    • Planning services and events

    • Providing pastoral care

    • Engaging in visitation

    • Connecting with the congregation’s contexts and communities

    • Evangelizing by personal, theological, and ethical example

    • Understanding issues of stewardship and financial administration

  • Taking on the skills of a professional community-based leader:

    • Coordinating programs

    • Supporting stewardship and writing grants

    • Working on marketing and publicity

    • Mapping assets and building networks

    • Facilitating service-learning

    • Reaching out to campus settings

    • Building partnerships with congregations

  • Learning to teach, write, publicize, develop mission work, support youth, provide social services, make art, etc.

  • Developing healthy models of emotional and spiritual well-being

  • Ensuring that your skills can support you as an emerging, valuable Christian public leader



View Teaching Congregations outcomes here.