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.
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Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, an interdenominational theological school within a Christian university rooted in the Baptist tradition, seeks a five-year grant to support its Enhancing the Mission: Beeson Divinity School and Thriving Pastors program. The program aims to help pastors thrive in congregational leadership by improving the quality of mentoring and peer relationships for pastors, especially during seasons of transition in life and ministry. Led by a faculty director and associate director, the program will: 1) organize pastoral peer groups for Beeson alumni to meet monthly for fellowship, prayer, and vocational development; and 2) host conferences and workshops for pastors to address leadership challenges encountered in specific ministry settings and transitions. Such settings include church plants or revitalizations and bi-vocational settings. Initially the program leadership will focus on three ministry transitions: 1) new pastors in the first five years in ministry; 2) clergy making a transition from assistant/associate roles to lead/senior pastor roles; and 3) pastors enduring various kinds of trauma, tragedy, or other involuntary transitions. Through its established faculty and staff and growing alumni network, Beeson aims to serve churches by enriching and supporting their pastors. Program leadership and development officers will work with school and university administration to make the program sustainable in the coming years.