Azusa Pacific University (APU), an evangelical school rooted in the Wesleyan theological heritage, requests a five-year grant for partial support for its Thriving in Ministry program, an effort to expand leadership resources and provide mentors for pastors serving congregations in urban communities, especially women in ministry and pastors of color. The university will develop and implement an educational program that includes three modules that help pastors: 1) assess their health and well-being; 2) foster and support peer and mentoring relationships with colleagues; and 3) identify and develop their leadership strengths. Program activities will include coursework, workshops, webinars, assessments, reflection exercises and one-on-one coaching. In addition, the effort will invest significant time and resources into identifying and training experienced pastors to serve as mentors. To sustain this effort, APU will build program elements into its operating budget, form strategic partnerships with external organizations, solicit donations and charge modest program fees.
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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.
China Evangelical Seminary North America (CESNA), a Chinese-speaking nondenominational seminary with a mission to provide training for Chinese pastors and lay leaders who serve in immigrant churches, seeks a five-year grant to support its CESNA Chinese Pastor Care Project. This endeavor seeks to serve new and midcareer Chinese speaking pastors to enhance their spiritual vitality, emotional health, relational support, integrity and resilience. The pastors will form ongoing peer support groups, receive individual mentoring, engage in interactive leadership workshops and participate in spiritual formation retreats held at regular intervals. CESNA will seek donations from participants and sponsorships from congregations to sustain this program.
Located in Harlem, New York City, City Seminary of New York seeks in its five-year grant to support its Thriving in Ministry Initiative project. This is an effort to cultivate an expansive community of pastoral practice across often disconnected ministries and church traditions in the metropolitan area. Through collaborative inquiry and praxis reflection groups, spiritual direction retreats, portraiture, and annual gatherings, City Seminary hopes to connect pastors in similar and different seasons of ministry to a community of support and encouragement. The project proposes to nurture clergy faith and spirituality, invite clergy to listen to their congregational members, explore the importance of their family and intergenerational interactions, and make space for them to reflect on their congregation’s mission and purpose in a complex and ever-changing urban setting. City Seminary will incorporate project activities into its ongoing graduate and non-degree programs and its operating budget. The overarching vision is to make Thriving in Ministry part of the fabric of our seminary life now and into the future.
Columbia Theological Seminary seeks a five-year grant for its Thriving in Ministry Initiative project, an effort to support pastors in times of personal and professional transitions. Based in its Center for Lifelong Learning, Columbia will establish two new programs and enhance a third. First, Columbia will offer a series of colloquies for peer groups for black pastors, Latino/a clergy, clergy serving in rural ministry settings, and pastors serving particular populations. Peer groups will consist of 12 clergy each and will gather for two, three-day colloquies facilitated by two experienced clergy. Second, Columbia will create the Healthy Transitions program to provide support for clergy facing forced termination from their congregational ministries. Finally, Columbia will expand its Leadership in Ministry workshops, which provide pastors the opportunities to reflect on their ministries with peers and mentors. To sustain this project Columbia will charge modest program fees and seek support from donors.
The Dakotas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church seeks a five-year grant to support its Higher Ground program. This effort seeks to support rural church pastors by helping them develop and strengthen healthy leadership practices that promote the well-being of congregations and church systems. By focusing on a pastor’s holistic health (spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, social), the conference’s clergy will be better equipped to lead healthier congregations. The conference will walk alongside clergy at key junctures in their careers to help them reassess their calling and leadership gifts, re-engage with their sense of vocation and passion for pastoral leadership, and renew and refocus their ministries. Clergy will begin the year of renewal and refocus at a six-day retreat and will continue meeting with counselors and coaches through the rest of the year in the program. Pastors will participate in individual and group coaching as they put together personal and professional development plans. To sustain this effort, the conference will cultivate individual donors with a vision to support pastors, incorporate elements into its operating budget and reallocate earnings from its endowment.