Leadership Development

How We Work

Leadership Development for Health & Social Service Organizations

NBA offers education, companionship, inspiration, and resources to strengthen Disciples leaders including clergy, chaplains, social entrepreneurs, community organizers, nonprofit administrators, and young adults committed to justice work. We support the growth of and care for leaders by offering peer learning and wellness groups, continuing education, mental health and wellness tools, and more.

Our hope is to and invite people of faith into activism and advocacy for communities that are often overlooked and underserved. NBA partners with Disciples leaders in the shared work of creating compassion, healing, and justice for all of humanity.


Program Areas

Strengthen Your Ministry in Partnership with NBA

Explore the ways NBA supports and restores Disciples leaders to continue our shared work of transforming communities.

Leadership Development Stories and News

Celebrating Our Stories of Cultural Resilience: Sharing Diverse Mental Health Stories

Joselyn Spence, NBA Director of Mental Health & Wellness has curated a group of activists, therapists, and pastors to share their stories.

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NBA’s Mental Health Work Heads to Kentucky

Chaplains in Kentucky gather with the Director of Mental Health and Wellness Joselyn Spence.

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Supporting Sustainability: Invested Faith Seeds $10,000 into NBA Social Entrepreneurs

In 2021, we launched our first Social Entrepreneur Cohort with the goal to intentionally and sustainably support up-and-coming social enterprises. Since then, cohort members have gone on to launch and grow their organizations and receive funding from other CC(DOC) partners, including Invested Faith.

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Peer Learning & Wellness Groups Create a Place to Connect, Be Seen and Heard

NBA is in the process of launching several Peer Learning & Wellness Groups that center voices of color. Meet the conveners leading the charge.

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Meet the 2022 Social Entrepreneurship Cohort

Meet the 10 new social entrepreneurs who will spend 2022 growing their new nonprofits as part of NBA’s Social Entrepreneurship Cohort!

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A Year In Review: The Inaugural Social Entrepreneurship Cohort on a Year of Growth

After spending a year working with NBA's Social Entrepreneurship team, the 2021 SENT Cohort reflects on its impact.

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12 Days of Wellness—Mental Health Tips for the Holiday Season from NBA Cares

INTRODUCING: The 12 Days of Wellness! Mental health and wellness tips for the holiday season.

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NBA Announces Fall 2021 Mission & Ministry Grantees

We are excited to announce our Fall 2021 Mission & Ministry Grantees! This program granted a total of $185,500 to 35 Disciples projects working with older adults, children, and youth.

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Reflections on the Impact of NBA’s Executive Leaders Peer Learning and Wellness Group

Read about the impact of NBA’s Executive Leaders Peer Learning & Wellness Group.

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NBA Adds New Staff Members to Aid in Mental Health, Justice, and Development Work

Over the last few months, we’ve added several new faces to our team. Get to know them!

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Mental Health, Wellness, and My Faith Journey

“Focusing on my wellness allows me to embody commandments like Sabbath and prioritize my joy and my rest,” shares Joselyn Spence, NBA’s Director of Mental Health & Wellness. Read about how her journey to deepen her faith and care for her mental health were intertwined.

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Coping with Trauma in the Wake of the 9/11 Anniversary

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Here are ways to cope with trauma from these past events.

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Focusing on the Future: An Update on NBA XPLOR

NBA XPLOR update! The traditional residential model will stay on hiatus for 2021 with NBA’s team putting energy towards three exciting new ventures.

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Celebrating 10 Years of Service: A Q&A with President and CEO Mark Anderson

10 years after Mark D. Anderson began at NBA as President and CEO, he's taken some time to reflect on what this ministry has meant to him.

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Social Entrepreneurship: The Good News of Reimagining the Work of the Church

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Rev. Dr. Ben Bohren on the Heart of NBA XPLOR

Before the end of 2020, we asked Ben to reflect on “the heart of XPLOR,” the Four Cornerstones of the program, and what being part of young adult leadership development has meant to him personally.

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Transitions and Celebrations in the NBA Mental Health & Wellness Initiative

After more than five years of service, Rev. Angela Whitenhill-Shields will transition out of her role as NBA’s Mental Health & Wellness Initiative Manager.

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Introducing the Members of the First SENT Cohort

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NBA Honors Rev. Margie Pride of Memorial Boulevard Christian Church

The National Benevolent Association celebrates the ministry of and congratulates Rev. Margie Pride on her recent retirement from more than 30 years of ministry as pastor of Memorial Boulevard Christian Church in St. Louis, Missouri.

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The SENT Seminar Confirmed That I’m on the Right Path

Attending the 2020 SENT Seminar was the confirmation Amie Vanderford needed to keep shaping her new social enterprise Project Least.

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Empowered to Impact Dreams: The Dreamkeepers Find Direction at SENT Seminar 2020

"Before the SENT Seminar, I was struggling with what type of organization I was creating, who my target market was, and how I was going to build a supportive network around me that would serve as a guide during the formation years. Now, after attending the SENT seminar, I have no doubt in mind that such support actually exists."

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Why the SENT Seminar is for Everyone

Embarking on the journey to launch a health and social service ministry can be daunting. That's why NBA created the SENT Seminar, to help social entrepreneurs find their way through.

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SENT Seminar Was a Map When I Was Lost

Amber Mattingly, SENT 2020 participant and founder of Sacred Flow, an online yoga community, shares how this year's seminar helped her embrace the unknown and be okay with getting lost.

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A Journey of Defining the Social Impact My Organization Will Have

Managerrie Winston shares how this year's seminar helped define the social impact her organization will have.

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XPLORing the Creation of the NBA Voting Rights and Registration Resources

Alex Keys, Resident of the 2019-20 NBA XPLOR St. Louis House shares why created NBA's voting resources and the importance of faith communities involvement in elections.

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Introducing NBA’s 2020-2022 Multilingual Latin@ Pastors and Leaders Peer Group

Introducing NBA's newest Peer Learning and Wellness Group for Advocacy and Activism.

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NBA Welcomes Second Incubate Partner of 2020, Good Life Care Resource Center

The National Benevolent Association is welcoming another faith-rooted social enterprise as a new Incubate partner. Good Life Care Resource Center is NBA’s twelfth Incubate partner.

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NBA Announces New Incubate Partner, StoryWagen

The National Benevolent Association welcomes StoryWagen as a new Incubate partner and affiliate that is committed to innovative approaches to health and social service ministry.

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Becoming a Trauma-Informed Church

Creating a space that challenges systems of oppression and gives room to all God's people.

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Meet our SENT 2020 Presenters

NBA has adapted its traditional SENT model and moved the seminar to online-only this year. We are grateful to our lineup of esteemed presenters who will share their knowledge with our SENT participants. Get to know them!

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Learn and Grow with NBA Resources

Closing Mental Health Awareness Month 2022: Inspiration for the Road Ahead

As we close out Mental Health Awareness Month 2022, NBA Director of Mental Health and Wellness, Joselyn Spence reflects on our month of resources, creative submissions, and scripture.

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Empowering Others Through Their Mental Health Journey

This post has resources and content that center the topic of empowerment.

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Dealing with Depression

This post has resources and content that center depression.

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Seeking Professional Help

Looking for a professional to aid in your mental health journey? This post has resources on where to find a professional that fits your needs.

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Mental Health and the Brain

This post has resources and content that center mental health and the brain.

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Dealing with Trauma, Anxiety, and Shame

For Mental Health Awareness Month we asked Disciples to respond creatively to this question: Where do you see God in your mental health journey? Today we share resources and content that centers anxiety, trauma, and shame.

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God and Community in Mental Health Journeys

This post has resources and content that center God and community in mental health journeys.

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12 Days of Wellness—Mental Health Tips for the Holiday Season from NBA Cares

INTRODUCING: The 12 Days of Wellness! Mental health and wellness tips for the holiday season.

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Grieving Well: Addressing Grief and Depression for Clergy and Leaders

This webinar explores the foundations of grief: what we grieve, how we grieve, and the ways we can grieve well. We will also explore best practices for grief support.

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Sustainable Fundraising: Building a Community of Support with the New Generation of Donors

Fundraising Consultant Kerri-Ann Appleton shares her tips for building a sustainable community of donors.

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SENT Seminar 2020: Recorded Classes

SENT Seminar 2020: Recorded Classes

Participants in the 2020 Seminar experienced online education on the importance of impactful work in our communities, as well as lessons on how to plant and grow new faith-rooted social enterprises.

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Webinar: A Conversation on COVID, the Black Community, and Care

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Worship for Families of Incarcerated Individuals

These resources were created to offer people of faith an opportunity to worship together and reflect on the experience of immigrants in the Bible and the experience of immigrants living in the United States.

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Liturgy for Working with Incarcerated People  

We invite you to explore immigration through these liturgies and worship resources.

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Liturgies for Immigration and Detention

We invite you to explore immigration through these liturgies and worship resources.

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Liturgy for Reentry Ministries

We invite you to explore immigration through these liturgies and worship resources.

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Webinar: Tending to Our Spiritual and Mental Wellbeing After Crisis and Trauma

Join Disciples, mental health professionals, as they speak to the importance of tending to our mental health and wellness, especially as we return to social gatherings beyond family, and even begin to worship in person again. 

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WEBINAR: Resources for Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention

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Empathy For All: Prayers for Mental Health by Rev. Lizzy Diop

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Empathy for All: Seeing with Someone Else’s Eyes by Rev. Derek Penwell

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Empathy for All: Mental Health Sunday by Rev. Mark Poindexter

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Empathy for All: A Word on Empathy by Rev. Jonah Koetke

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Empathy for All: A Sermon on Empathy by Rev. Amie Vanderford

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Empathy for All: A Mental Health Sermon Series

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Faith-Based Black HIV/AIDS Awareness & Prevention Guide

16-page PDF resource with historical insight into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, sermon starters, and statistics.

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Webinar: Speaking into the Silence

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Webinar: Deep Cries Out to Deep: An Online Grief and Loss Worship Service

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Webinar: Cuidado Pastoral y Espiritual durante Desastres

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Webinar: Creating Safe Boundaries for Congregations Serving Those with Severe Mental Health Issues

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SoulCare Conversations: A Time to Pause and Process Together

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