Congregational Leadership Academy (CLA)

Mission: To equip lay leaders with the newest, freshest, best practices for using their God given gifts in service to the congregation.

water-circle-handsThe role of pastor is complex and ever-changing. In a world where faith issues are too often drowned out by competing voices, pastors are ever more vital in community leadership and they must find ways to share the demands of ministry. The demands of ministry are complex; the gifts of laity are needed now more than ever. The Congregational Leadership Academy (CLA) equips lay people with knowledge and skills which will help others strengthen their walk of discipleship and leadership in the congregation.

The CLA is an opportunity to tap into congregation members with gifts for leadership and offer them a place to come and learn how to use their gifts for the ministry of your congregation.  One of our participants in the Evangelism Focus says it well:

The CLA course gave me the confidence to become more involved in my church as a leader and to help my congregation move forward in faith.
CLA participant

Who in your congregation could come?  Who has the potential to become a leader in stewardship, worship, or evangelism?  We strongly encourage you not to miss out on this great opportunity to equip the saints for the work of the baptized!


  • Does the same congregational member attend all the focuses?

    No. The CLA is designed to enhance specific gifts, so it is not the intention that the same person would enroll/participate in all four focuses (Evangelism, Stewardship, Education, and Worship). In fact, as the CLA moves forward, some of the focuses will run simultaneously! Over an extended period of years, it is feasible that one person could possibly participate in all four focuses, but that is not the framework under which the CLA was developed. Congregations are encouraged to see the CLA as an opportunity to engage multiple congregational members in growing their gifts. The more people enrolled from your congregation, the wider the benefit to your congregation.

  • How much time is involved in each focus?

    CLA training consists of five sessions (5 hours each), participation in a mentor group, and completion of assignments/readings. It takes 6 months to complete. To receive a course completion certificate, the candidate must commit to all five sessions of a selected focus.

    The cost for training is $200 per participant. The congregation is encouraged to help bear the cost of the training with the participant. Scholarships are available. Anyone who wishes to audit a class/course for personal growth may enroll at anytime. Only the enrollment form and a $30 payment is required.

    Class sessions are held on Saturdays (9:30 am – 3:00 pm) at United Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, ND. Because the CLA includes an action/reflection component, the classes are not held on consecutive Saturdays. Rather, participants attend class followed by a break (3+ weeks) as participants are engaged in specific assignments, practical experiences, and interaction with their peer cohort.

  • Where can I find more information about CLA?

    You may download enrollment forms, recommendation forms, class schedules, and syllabi at  You can also contact Rev. Keith Zeh, Director for Evangelical Mission, with any questions or need for additional information.

The Congregational Leadership Academy is being sponsored by the Eastern North Dakota Synod in partnership with the Northwestern Minnesota Synod and the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit of our ELCA.