Step One – Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: The Work of the Leader (FTML)

With 30 years of ecumenical professional education experience the IMN faculty are a extensively trained and experienced team of practitioners of Intentional Interim Ministry.

Due to the COVID 19 uncertainties many venues have decided to not open until the first quarter of 2021. IMN has decided for the safety of our faculty and participants to reschedule in-person classes when it is safe. 

The Good news is that training will continue through virtual learning. Participants will receive the same training as in-person, just in a new way. IMN is ready to assist in the best possible way so participants are ready to guide their congregations through these uncertain times.

Thank you for your continuing support.

This three-day, self-contained Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: The Work of the Leader course introduces theories that are foundational to interim ministry. The class hours are devoted to providing opportunities for experiential learning through the use of case studies and sacred story. The work of the interim leader is presented and discussed along with tools and resources that facilitate the work of the transitional leader.

While this course emphasizes the work of the transition pastor, it is helpful to judicatory and lay leaders to make informed and healthy choices about clergy leadership during times of transition.

The three days are focused on:

Foundations of Transitional Ministry. Using General Systems Theory, Bowen Family Systems Theory and William Bridges’ Theory on Change and Transition, attendees explore the unique dynamics of congregations in transition and understand how a congregation as a system responds to loss/changes and begins to explore alternative responses. The day emphasizes importance of differentiation of self for the transition leader and resources to help others understand current relationships.

Tools for the Transitional Leader. Devoted to developing leadership skills that are basic to the practice of transitional ministry, this day explores the value of intentional and thoughtful listening, why power analysis is important in a congregation and the importance of taking care of self as a precursor to knowing and leading a congregation in transition.

The Work of the Transitional Leader. Examine the process that a leader goes through from beginning to end in an interim situation. This Process Task include Joining the System, Analyzing the System, Discerning Responsibility and Establishing Priorities, Connecting the Congregation and the Denomination, and Evaluating and Adjusting to a New Future.

2021 FTM: The Work of the Leader Classes, Fees and Registration

The 2021 tuition for each class is $750.00. Tuition includes a 1 year of IMN Membership and the FTML Manual.

FTM: The Work of the Leader
Virtual Classes

This drastic time of change requires knowledge, skills, and confidence to lead our communities of faith. This FTML training is especially important to help our faith communities deal with these changes.
IMN Adds Virtual Offerings of  Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry:  Work of the Leader
As IMN observes social distancing guidelines, we are adding VIRTUAL offerings of the Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: Work of the Leader (FTML) on the following dates:
Using Zoom videoconferencing, participants actively participate in real-time conversations with the IMN faculty member and fellow participants.


  1. Choose the dates of your desired class.
  2. Click on add to cart – You will then be directed to the shopping cart where you will select your payment option.
  3. Cancellations are considered on a case to case basis. Once the Manual links have be sent no refund is available.

All dates, times, locations and/or pricing are subject to change. 

2021 Virtual FTM: Work Of The Leader
February 23-26, 2021 (9-5)
April 13-16, 2021 (10-6)
May18-21, 2021 (9-5)
June 22-25, 2021 (11-7)
July 28-29 & August 4-5, 2021 (9-5)
August 24-27, 2021 (9-5)
September 28-October 1, 2021 (10-6)
November 16-19, 2021 (9-5)
December 6-9, 2021 (9-5)

Once registered, participants will receive a confirmation of their registration and instructions on obtaining the manual and Zoom access.
Event Schedules: All events will begin and end in Eastern time.
  • February 23-26, 2021 (9:00 am-5:00pm)
  • April 13-16, 2021 (10:00am-6:00pm)
  • May 18-21, 2021 (9:00 am-5:00pm)
  • June 22-25, 2021 (11:00am-7:00pm)
  • July 28-29 & August 4-5, 2021 (9:00am-5:00pm)
  • August 24-27, 2021 (9:00am-5:00pm)
  • September 28-October 1, 2021 (10:00am-6:00pm)
  • November 16-19, 2021 (9:00am-5:00pm)
  • December 6-9, 2021 (9:00am-5:00pm)
Arlen Vernava, IMN faculty and Education Team Lead
Rev. Arlen Vernava has served, since 1985, both settled and interim congregations in the Northeast and provided leadership to ecumenical and interfaith groups and organizations. Vernava is an IMN Professional Transition Specialist, an IMN Faculty member, Team Lead for the IMN Education Team and a Senior Consultant with Design Group International. His ministry includes coaching executive leaders during organizational change and transition, helping congregations and organizations live into their vocation, and serving as embedded strategic interim during a congregation’s seasons of change and transition. In March, he completed a year-long course of study and certification in Coaching and the Enneagram, through the Madanes School of Enneagram Coaching in Israel.

The Rev. Samuel Scott Colley-Toothaker, is an Episcopal Priest who currently serves in the Diocese of Oklahoma, where he is priest in charge at The Episcopal Church of St. John, in Tulsa. Prior to his current position, he served in the Diocese of Western New York, the Diocese of Chicago, the Diocese of Southern Virginia and his home Diocese of Maine. Since returning to full time ministry in 2000, Sam’s work in the Church has focused on transition and conflict resolution and mediation in troubled parishes, as well as a consultant at the judicatory level. In 2012 he joined the Interim Ministry Network (IMN) and shifted his focus to “Intentional Transition Ministry” recognizing that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Sam is an apprentice member of the IMN faculty and is current chair of the National Board of Directors for Interim Ministries in the Episcopal Church.

A former member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), a Roman Catholic missionary order, Sam has a broad business background with experience as an investment banker and a corporate consultant. Sam is noted as a retreat leader for clergy and lay people. He has served on numerous boards and foundations. He holds a Master of Theology from St. John’s in Boston, a Master of Divinity from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has an extensive background in clinical psychology with a concentration in family systems and corporate psychology.

Dr. Keith Copeland was born in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.A. in Finance. After graduating from college he worked in management with Eckerd Drugs before answering the call to ministry. He graduated from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 1992 and has served three congregations as the settled pastor and 12 congregations as interim in three different denominations. Trained as an interim pastor in the Presbyterian Church, he received his D Min from Hood Theological Seminary with special focus on church renewal. Since then, he has been developing processes and tools for congregational renewal during times of transition between an installed pastor. Dr. Copeland has the Professional Transition Specialist designation and is a Faculty Apprentice with IMN. Currently he serves as Transitional Senior Pastor of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Southern Pines, NC.

FTM: The Work of the Leader
Face to Face Classes

The total cost of the workshop includes the Tuition + Room/Meals.


  • The housing cost is priced for 2 nights stay, Sites have single and double accommodations and 3rd night stay options may be available. IMN cannot guarantee single rooms. 
  • If a Double Room is requested-IMN will assign a like-gender roommate in the order received.  Should a roommate not be available you may incur the Single Room Rate.
  • The commuter cost is priced for 3 days which includes lunch/ breaks, depending on the center Breakfast and Dinner may also be included.
  • For early and/or late stay, special dietary meals and accommodations, Contact the IMN Office 800-235-8414 or
  • We have included the name of each classes venue. Click on the venue to view the location. This is only for information, DO NOT contact the center. They will not be able to help you with arrangements. Contact the IMN Office 800-235-8414 or


Most classes begin at approximately 8:00 am with breakfast and registration and concludes at 2:30 pm on the last day. Additional information regarding schedule will be sent out once registration has been received.


  1. Choose a date and location from the 2021 schedule.
  2. Click on either Room and Board or Commuter to make your event selection. Room and Board means you will stay at the venue/site/facility and participate in all meals. Commuter means you will not stay at the venue/site/facility. Fee includes breaks and lunch. IMN cannot guarantee single rooms. 
  3. Click on add to cart – You will then be directed to the shopping cart where you will select your payment option.

All dates, times, locations and/or pricing are subject to change. 


The Goals

  • To introduce basic theories that are a foundation to interim ministry,
  • Provide opportunities for experiential learning through the use of case studies and sacred story,
  • Present and discuss the work of the interim leader,
  • To introduce the tools/resources that facilitate the work of the interim leader.

These goals are accomplished by providing information about the impact of the departure of the clergy person on a congregation and to describe healthy attitudes and practices of the Intentional Interim Leader.

Who Should Attend?

  • Senior or associate pastors wanting to gain skills in managing transitions
  • Retired or partially retired pastors wanting to advance skills in change  management
  • Experienced ministers considering a call to the professional specialty of intentional  interim ministry. (Pre-requisite course for interims.)
  • Current interim pastors trained more than five years ago
  • Lay ministers or leaders with management responsibilities
  • Denominational middle management
  • Seminarians interested in change/conflict management specialization 


Before Class Begins

It is important to prepare prior to attending the course with our REQUIRED READINGS. You are asked to read in advance and bring with you to the event the following materials:  All books can be purchased through the IMN Amazon bookstore. By clicking on any of the book titles you will be connected to the amazon or other publishers.


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