Hartford Seminary’s five year clergy grant program, Thriving in Poor Soil: Creating a Pastoral Innovation Network of New England (PINNE), is an effort to foster and sustain clergy excellence by enhancing the creativity and leadership skills of innovative pastors. Younger clergy who are three to ten years into their ministry career and who are engaged in innovative congregation-based ministries will build and sustain relationships with peers and mentors where they can explore challenges of ministry in New England, share creative ideas, and receive support from each other. Through regular gatherings, coaching, ongoing virtual communication, and the voluntary undertaking of a project of congregational change this project hopes to increase the level of creativity and spiritual energy of participants while also disseminating the learnings to clergy and denominations across New England. In addition, PINNE will host two conferences, create a website, support a Facebook page and participate in judicatory events where we will share the most innovative ideas on thriving in ministry and vital approaches with other pastors throughout the region. To sustain this effort beyond the grant, the Seminary will seek denominational funding for participants and incorporate elements of the PINNE program into its doctor of ministry degree program.
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Leadership Roundtable, a faith-based nonprofit that works within the Roman Catholic Church, seeks a three-year grant for partial support for its Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative program. This endeavor will assist Roman Catholic Latino pastoral leaders early in their careers to thrive in their vocations and thus strengthen their leadership skills and enhance the well-being of the multiethnic congregations they serve. The program will provide 40 to 48 Latino priests and lay ministers with leadership and management training and resources, opportunities to engage with peers at the same stage in their ministerial careers, and support from coaches and mentors in their region. Leadership Roundtable will integrate the program into its overall fundraising strategy to sustain this program.
Princeton Theological Seminary’s Iron Sharpening Iron program will equip women clergy with the capacities, agency, and savvy to negotiate challenging leadership contexts with a confidence that is born of competence. Its fundamental goal is to promote capable women to thrive in God’s calling in a way that has theological integrity and a sophisticated philosophy and practice. From the first group of disciples who gathered around Jesus, women have always been leaders in Christian communities. Yet women clergy are dramatically underrepresented in positions of leadership, and the church has made relatively little gain over the last decades in advancing gender equity among clergy at all levels of the profession, particularly at the most senior levels of congregational leadership. We will address this pressing issue by investing in gifted women leaders and providing access to cutting-edge leadership education. Princeton Seminary will convene faculty and practitioners from the church, non-profit, and business sectors to engage an interdisciplinary conversation about effective leadership and build a network of women leaders.
Milligan College, affiliated with the Independent Christian churches, will use its grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., to establish a Ministry Resource Center. Based at the college’s Emmanuel Christian Seminary, the Center will: 1) develop a placement program that supports pastors at every level of experience and works with pastors and congregations to ensure alignment between the pastors’ gifts and skills and the needs of congregations; 2) create a robust mentoring program for pastors transitioning from seminary into their first ministerial appointments; and 3) assist all pastors in maintaining a fresh perspective on their call by offering ongoing opportunities for learning and renewal. Milligan anticipates sustaining this initiative through enrollment growth as well as through support from alumni and congregational leaders eager to nurture the next generation of pastors.
Western Seminary, affiliated with Conservative Baptist Association of America, seeks a five-year grant for partial support to launch the Center for Pastoral Flourishing program (CPF), an effort to nurture and support the long-term well-being of pastors in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. The program will focus on new pastors early in their service, emerging leaders stepping into larger pastoral leadership roles, mid-career pastors encountering transitions in settings or roles, and seasoned pastors looking to contribute to the emerging next generation. The CPF will identify and intentionally incorporate more pastors into its leadership networks, sponsor forums on leadership practices that foster and sustain flourishing in ministry, form pastors into peer cohorts, produce pastoral leadership resources for personal and group learning, and provide coaching for pastors and congregations. To sustain the CPF, Western Seminary will charge participants a nominal fee and seek funding from partners who share a commitment to strong pastoral leadership.
Indiana Ministries of the Church of God has been awarded a five-year grant to support its FULFILL the Call: From Surviving to Thriving program. Working with pastors at different stages of their careers, this program fosters and supports one-on-one mentoring relationships for young and/or new pastors serving in small congregations or new church starts, mid-career pastors in transition to another congregation, and seasoned pastors nearing the end of their careers who are seeking to finish well. Program activities include regular mentoring sessions between new and seasoned pastors, quarterly cluster gatherings of mentor-mentee pairs, and retreats and other resources for pastors in seasons of transition. To sustain this effort, Indiana Ministries will, over the grant period, seek to integrate FULFILL the Call: From Surviving to Thriving into the life and mission of the organization.