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Our Purpose

We cultivate pastors' capacity to nurture collegial friendships, mentoring relationships and their own wellbeing

Thriving in Ministry projects seek to cultivate deep friendship among pastors, walk alongside pastors and foster pastors’ wellbeing. The projects support pastors in congregational ministries facing transitions, such as beginning in a new congregation or preparing for retirement, as well as those who share common experiences, such as women of color in ministry, bi- or multi-vocational pastors, or pastors in rural communities.

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about thriving in ministry

Helping pastors thrive in congregational leadership & enhancing the vitality of the congregations they serve

Thriving in Ministry is a program of Lilly Endowment Inc. that awarded 103 grants to colleges, seminaries, denominations, congregations, and other non-profits to strengthen pastoral leaders and their congregations. Leadership Education at Duke Divinity provides resources and support to these projects, curating learning opportunities for project staff and sharing wisdom gleaned from the initiative. 

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Pastors thrive when they have wise companions.

Pastors dedicate their whole selves to the work of caring for the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of a congregation, sometimes finding themselves isolated from peers, mentors and exemplars. Pastors need wise companions for the ministry journey who understand their challenges and frustrations. Thriving in Ministry is committed to cultivating a culture of mentoring.  

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Pastors thrive when they have agency.

Pastors thrive when they are empowered to take an active role in shaping their ongoing formation. Thriving in Ministry projects walk alongside pastors as they develop friendships and a sense of belonging, hone critical ministerial practices and habits in the early years of ministry and at moments of transition, and seek renewal, reflection and rest. 

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Lilly Endowment Inc. 2018 Annual Report

Circles of Friends

Through this national initiative, grants have been made to 103 organizations to help clergy support one another in the pursuit of excellence in their congregational ministries.

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Research by Matt Bloom

The “stages” of ministry

To flourish, pastors need a “back stage” where they can receive support and care. 

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Reflections & Research

Explore what we are learning about thriving for pastors and the projects that support them

Female Clergy & Pastors of Color

Vocation & sisterhood

Neichelle Guidry, the Dean of Chapel at Spelman College, talks about her vocation — helping form black millennial women in ministry and faith.

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Four key practices for pastoral thriving

Theological training doesn’t offer ministers everything they need to flourish. Pastoral peer groups that develop additional competencies can fill the gap, writes a Thriving in Ministry project director.

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Reframing evaluation

Effective evaluation is about learning from one’s work, not judgment. It is a process that must be in place from the beginning of a project and be done in community, writes Susan Weber.

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Resilience and pastoral leadership

To acquire the resilience necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world, pastors need people, practices and purpose, Kate Rae Davis says in this interview.

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