PastoraLab for Asian American Women Ministers was created by the Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) and collaborates with the Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. PastoraLab equips Asian American women ministers with the knowledge, learning, and empowerment to advance their pastoral leadership for thriving congregations. It addresses the particular challenges and opportunities Asian American women ministers face from a historically minoritized social location. Pastoralab is made up of three cohorts of women -- two in Southern California and one nationwide -- that are facilitated by both a minister and scholar. Participants follow a field-based curriculum that reads the Bible from Asian American lenses and generates constructive Asian American hermeneutics, organizational leadership, and economic and ecological stewardship to thrive in their ministries. The program will also conduct a nationwide survey on the status of Asian American women ministers in Asian American churches and gather quantitative data to help move Asian American churches towards more equal pulpits.
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The Center for Courage & Renewal will use its Circle of Trust® approach to help pastoral leaders develop and nurture the collegial relationships vital to thriving in ministry and sustaining the work of faithfulness. We will create and convene five communities of practice made up of twenty-five early career clergy and six to eight seasoned clergy and trained facilitators each. These communities will gather for three, multiple-day retreats and monthly, small group peer learning calls over the course of a year-long program. To sustain this project, the Center will incorporate the project into its operating budget and seek funding through partnerships, grants, individual donations, and project revenue.
Missio Seminary, an inter/multidenominational, evangelical school, seeks a five-year grant for partial funding of its Program for Urban Leaders and Pastors in Transition (PULPIT); an effort to support pastors serving urban congregations in the Philadelphia metropolitan region, and help them negotiate various key professional transitions at different stages of their ministerial careers. The program will bring pastors together as peer colleagues to develop healthy support systems for each other, encourage them to attend to their own health and wellness, and equip them to address challenges faced by urban churches. In addition, this endeavor will help the pastors develop flourishing relationships with other pastors that cross racial, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries, and encourage them to help their congregations bridge these divides. To sustain the program, Missio Seminary will incorporate programmatic components into its operating budget and its doctor of ministry degree program.
Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) —affiliated with the United Church of Christ— in an effort to support new pastors in their first years of ministry after seminary graduation, hosts a program specifically curated for new and bi-vocational clergy who are serving congregations in economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The CTS “Resilience in Leadership” initiative will gather pastors into five regional cohorts across the country that will meet quarterly for two years and convene annually at a consultation featuring exemplary pastors and experts. Each Resilience in Leadership program participant will also meet monthly with an experienced pastor-mentor to cultivate a vision for and negotiate the challenges of leading a small and under-resourced congregation.
Grand View University (Des Moines, IA) houses The Moses Project, funded by the Thriving in Ministry Initiative of the Lilly Endowment, and in collaboration with the Southeastern and Western Iowa Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The mission of the project is to give rural pastors in the early stages of their career a vision for ministry that will help them thrive in congregational leadership and in turn, enhance the vitality of the congregations they serve. The project will connect 20 pastors each year with mentors and clergy exemplars who are equipped to guide them through challenges that they encounter serving in rural communities. During the 10 month program the pastors will meet regularly with their mentors, both in person and online, and participate in opportunities for renewal and reflection through retreats, relevant curriculum and other activities.
George Fox University seeks a five-year grant for its Portland Seminary to launch the Institute for Pastoral Thriving. This effort will build one-year peer cohorts of eight to twelve pastors each to foster authentic relationships, offer safe spaces for exploring pastoral leadership challenges, nurture spiritual disciplines, and provide a network of allies to support their own thriving in ministry. The Institute will directly address challenges to pastoral thriving, particularly professional transitions and the rapidly changing demographics of the Pacific Northwest. It also will offer an annual symposium for all cohorts to gather as a larger body alongside the seminary community with the intent to foster fruitful conversations regarding pastoral spiritual renewal. To sustain this project, George Fox University will seek funding from denominations and congregations and provide advanced standing credit in the seminary degree programs for project participants.
Transformation Ministries (TM), based in Southern California, is a covenanting association of churches (Baptist and Non-Denominational Christian) which seeks to bring about the transformation of communities by helping churches thrive. Diverse in size, location, and ethnicity, TM consists of over 200 congregations in fourteen states and Northern Mexico. TM maintains geographic hubs in California, Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Florida, and Mexico.
TM exists to build a movement of mission-empowering relationships by: deepening and developing pastors as spiritual leaders; coaching and networking churches together to improve church health and missional vitality; and supporting and initiating viable church planting partnerships.
These three core competencies are wrapped together in a highly relational manner that eliminates isolating tendencies and builds teamwork: “we are stronger and healthier together.” TM invests and commits to the leaders God has gifted, called, and placed to lead the Church.
TM’s Thriving in Ministry Initiative will address challenges faced by “church planters” in their inaugural period of ministry. TM will identify 50 pastors of new church plants and provide them with comprehensive, wrap-around services from the initial calling assessment through ultimate establishment of a sustainable local church.
Cultivating Enough in the Care of Clergy is a two-year program for pastors who are serving small churches, churches in communities of color, and church plants and re-plants. Part of the Presbytery of Philadelphia’s Ministry and Leadership Incubator, this program is based upon the conviction that healthy leaders shape healthy congregations. The program uplifts a “theology of enough” both within the pastors and these contexts, which are often under-resourced and with their leaders facing burnout. Through cohorts of 10-12 pastors each, participants intentionally focus on “being enough, practicing enough, and offering enough” by being resourced through regular small group gatherings, retreats, deep rest, and one-on-one support. After completing the program, pastors are encouraged to be resources for incoming cohorts, spurning a larger culture of wellness within the named contexts of the presbytery by nurturing a connectional spirit alongside their peers of pastors. Inspiring pastors in these particular settings encourages health and vitality among these congregations in order to better transform their communities with the love and justice of the good news of Jesus Christ.