Company of New Pastors


Interested in Company of New Pastors?

If you are interested in joining Company of New Pastors, as a participant or a mentor, contact Karen Russell,, (502) 569-5401.

About the program

Company of New Pastors is a pastoral formation program that seeks to both deepen and sustain the theological foundation of pastoral leaders.  Company of New Pastors focuses on the critical period of vocational formation, beginning in seminary and continuing into the first years of ministry, helping to establish and nurture habits of theological reflection and spiritual formation to sustain a lifetime of ministry.

The objectives of Company of New Pastors are simple:  to encourage new pastoral leaders (and their mentors) to engage in daily prayer, daily scripture reading and regular and ordered theological reflection in community with others.  These objectives are so simple it is tempting to add other elements, or to ignore them altogether. Yet despite their simplicity, these disciplines can be transforming.  Pastoral leaders who are, first and foremost, dedicated disciples can lead worshiping communities to be communities of disciples.

The basis of the program is mentored peer covenant groups.  Groups are mentored by experienced faculty and pastors who bring to the program a wealth of pastoral knowledge and wisdom.

  • CNP groups meet for prayer, study, mutual admonition and encouragement, and table fellowship
  • CNP seminary groups meet monthly during the final year of seminary under the guidance of dedicated faculty mentors.
  • CNP covenant groups convene periodically for 3-4 days, to study and pray together, to continue encouraging one another, and to hold one another accountable to their shared covenant. Groups meet over the course of four to five years.
  • CNP meetings are facilitated by two mentor pastors, individuals who demonstrate faithfulness, fruitfulness, and fulfillment in pastoral work.
  • CNP covenant groups are intended to become close-knit communities of theological friendship whose members mutually fan the flame of their common calling, creating relationships that last a lifetime.

Why a Company of New Pastors?

Experience tells us it is not easy for pastors to change deeply entrenched habits midstream.  Research from the Lilly Endowment’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence programs shows there is a correlation between pastoral leaders who participate in peer groups and growing churches. Company of New Pastors provides an opportunity to begin ministry with the support of peers and seasoned mentors, as well as a framework for pastoral leaders to develop habits that will serve and sustain a lifetime of faithful ministry, regardless of changes in church structure, individual calls or situations.

Program Leadership

Company of New Pastors utilizes a shared leadership among program staff and three Program Mentors/Regional Directors. The Regional Directors, Rev. Jim Kitchens, Rev. Dave Rohrer, and Rev. Kristin Frederich, bring to CNP experience as pastors, leaders, scholars, and mentors of CNP Covenant Groups.  These Regional Directors serve as “mentors to the mentors” in CNP, as well as assist program staff in strategic planning, mentor recruitment and training, national meeting planning and program management.

Karen Russell

The Rev. Karen Russell serves the Office of Theology and Worship, overseeing the the Company of New Pastors programming and funds development efforts.  Karen brings extensive experience to her role in leading the team in support of this program. Karen may be contacted by telephone at (800) 728-7228, x5401, or by email.


Dave Rohrer is a native of Southern California and a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the PC (USA).  He is currently pastor of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Bothell ,WA.  He and his wife, Mary Ann have been married since 1986 and they have two children. He is the author of “The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a people for the presence of the Lord” (IVP 2012).


Jim Kitchens has served for 34 years as pastor in congregations in northern California and Nashville.  In addition to his leadership in the Company of New Pastors, Jim consults with congregations and presbyteries facing adaptive challenges.  His deep love for mentoring colleagues in ministry drew him to his current role with CNP.

Participant Resources

Expense reimbursement request – 2015 (be sure to read the guidelines on the reverse)  NOTE:  this reimbursement form should be used for CNP events ONLY

Have gotten a new call?  Have you moved?  Changed calls?  Send us your new information:  Participant Information Update form

Have a question about the program?  CNP Program Information

Graduated or about to graduate?  CNP Transition FAQ

Need a CNP letter to attach to a PIF? Email Karen Russell

Have a question about how meeting costs are handled? THIS may help.

Need to contact program staff?  CNP Contact Information

Have you moved?  Gotten a new call?  Make sure we have your current contact information:  Information Update Form

Do you have the latest update to the leader’s guide?  2014 Leader’s Guide

For pastor mentors


Meeting Resources

2015 Expense Reimbursement Request (be sure to read the guidelines on the back) NOTE:  this reimbursement form should be used for CNP events ONLY

Meeting Guidelines

Group Meeting Checklist   

How Meeting Costs are Handled

Suggested Reading List

 Program Overview

Company of New Pastors FAQ

Q:  What is the Company of Pastors?

A:  CNP is a transition into ministry program that focuses on the spiritual and vocational formation of pastoral leaders.  Beginning in seminary and focusing on spiritual disciplines in the context of a community of colleagues, CNP is different from other transition into ministry program which often focus more deliberately on particular skills for ministry.  CNP focuses on nurturing the faith that will sustain a life of pastoral leadership and models for the church a community of accountability and support.

Q:  How does the program work?

A:  CNP has two phases – the seminary phase and the covenant group phase.  Seminary groups attend a national orientation gathering in the fall of their last year in seminary, and meet monthly during the last year of seminary.  Covenant groups attend a national gathering the fall after graduation and then meet approximately every eight months over the following four years.

Q:  Who can be part of Company of New Pastors?

A:  There are several ways to become part of CNP.  Presbyterian seminary students enrolled at one of our seminary sites can join a seminary group.  Presbyterian students enrolled in a non-CNP seminary can apply to join CNP during their final year.  Pastors can apply to become a pastor mentor for a covenant group.

Q:  How do I join a CNP seminary group?

A:  Our current seminary sites are:  Austin Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, Dubuque Seminary, Fuller Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University and Union Presbyterian Seminary.  CNP staff can help you make contact with the faculty mentors at each of these schools.

Q:  Can I join CNP if I don’t attend one of those schools?

A:  Yes – with some limitations.  For more information on how to become involved, contact the CNP office.

Q: How much does the program cost me?

A:  Because CNP begins while participants are still in seminary and then in the early years of ministry, CNP covers the initial program costs, including travel to national gatherings.  Participants begin to assume costs during the covenant group phase, beginning with the second group meeting, which is covered at 50%.  With the third meeting, participants are responsible for meeting costs.  There is a limited amount of scholarship funding available to participants.