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.
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.
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is planning, as part of its Thriving in Pastoral Ministry in the Episcopal Church program, an effort to launch new priests into vibrant ministries by deepening their community-consciousness and helping them form missional imaginations. The diocese will assign three new priests to serve as pastoral residents for three years in one of three congregations. The priests will rotate through these congregations, serving each congregation for one year. The congregations are geographically proximate and comprise members from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic communities. Supported by spiritual direction, supervision, mentoring, coaching from senior clergy and leadership development experiences with peers and colleagues, these new clergy will develop cross-cultural competence, missional vision, liturgical agility, leadership skills, and vocational resilience. The diocese will sustain the program by drawing on earnings from endowed funds and raising additional gifts from individuals and congregations.
Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), a national nonprofit faith-based organization, is launching its Hispanic Leadership Network: A Focus on Ministry for Thriving Churches program. The effort seeks to develop a mentoring and leadership development network to support young, midcareer and experienced Latino/a pastors serving high need rural and urban congregations across the United States. The program will engage pastors who have been closely involved in HAF initiatives for nearly eight years and will gradually incorporate new faith leader participants in 12 geographic regions, so they become more fully connected and supported by their peers. Program activities include: a five-day in-person orientation; participation in regular small group meetings with peers and mentors; and professional leadership development webinars. In addition, pastors will be encouraged to hold one community event in their churches or neighborhoods. To sustain this effort, HAF will seek to raise funds from a variety of sources while developing a low-cost model to maintain the peer network.
Sojourners, a faith-based nonprofit organization, is leading an initiative to support the expansion of the Matthew 25 (M25) Network program. Matthew 25 seeks to connect experienced clergy with newer clergy to help them learn from each other through inter-generational exchanges. The program will form and support peer learning communities for 50 African-American pastors in the greater Washington, D.C., region and 100 Latino/a pastors in Southern California. In the second year, we will draw from lessons in year one to work with African-American and Latino/a pastors in an additional city. The pastors will engage in mutual mentoring, prayer, study, hands-on leadership education, and advocacy activities. These learning communities work in collaboration with seminaries and are designed to develop ecclesial imagination, engaging the congregations in the pastors’ learning process. These pastors of color and their congregations will be equipped through the program to respond effectively on multiple levels to the pastoral crises happening in their communities particularly immigration and criminal justice issues. We will share lessons learned from the project and highlight local efforts on our national media platforms. To sustain this work, Sojourners will work with its partners, the Christian Community Development Association, Centro Latino at Fuller Seminary, and Matthew25/Mateo 25 SoCal, to solicit support from individual donors, congregations, external partners, and through earned income.