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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Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) requests a four-year grant for partial support of its Uptick program. This effort seeks to provide clergy with individual and group interactions that will enable them to deepen their spiritual leadership, heighten their sense of accountability to colleagues and lay leaders, and construct a vision for their pastoral vocations that will guide their ministries. BGAV will identify young pastors who serve congregations in three high-density population areas of Virginia that are ethnically and racially diverse and form them into peer clergy cohorts. During a one-year period, the pastors in each cohort will engage in a combination of retreats, online meetings, coaching and mentoring aimed at helping them deepen their listening skills (such as the ability to listen to God, mentors, peers and people in the communities they serve) and responding appropriately as pastoral leaders. They will also address the challenges of ministry by training for intercultural intelligence, reconciliation and urban community development to build bridges of civility for flourishing. To sustain this program, BGAV will cultivate a “pay-it-forward” ethos, raising funds from former participants and their congregations and soliciting gifts from new individual donors.
Benedictine Women of Madison, an ecumenical religious community, received a five-year grant to support its Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal program. This endeavor seeks to offer pastors in the early- and mid-stages of their careers the opportunity to experience spiritual renewal through immersions in Christian contemplative practices and the forming of supportive relationships with clergy peers. The pastors will participate in two immersions to experience the rhythms, people and sacred space of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Between immersions, pastors will stay connected to one another through video conference calls and a variety of leadership resources and activities sponsored by the Center. The Benedictine Women will sustain this program through partnerships with congregations and external organizations, grants, earnings from its endowment and modest participant fees.
California Lutheran University received a five-year grant to create the Thriving Leadership Formation Program. Working in partnership with Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and 11 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the program will help pastors and church leaders strengthen specific practical leadership skills not learned in seminary while encouraging them to deepen their engagement with their congregations and communities. This effort will emphasize collaborative learning in cohorts (in person and online) that cultivate mutual support, practices, and accountability, and provide pastors and church leaders with mentoring, spiritual direction and coaching. To sustain this program, California Lutheran and its partner organizations will monetize mentoring and leadership development resources developed through the program and solicit financial support from its network of synods and congregations.
Catholic Leadership Institute requests a four-year grant for partial support for its Revolutionizing Pastoral Placements: A New Way to Match, Appoint and Transition Catholic Priests to Parishes program. This endeavor seeks to move beyond the limits of the current diocesan placement system – often reactive and based on “plugging holes” – and create a leadership context in which priests build awareness of their strengths and a path for professional growth, parishes understand their unique charisms and ministry needs, and dioceses can think strategically into the future, armed with better information to align pastors and parishes. Catholic Leadership Institute will leverage innovative technology to assess the strengths and competencies of both priests and parishes in a diocese, as well as identify potential best-fit alignment between them. Catholic Leadership Institute will then work with diocesan personnel teams to proactively identify leadership needs and develop a transition and development plan for priests and parishes. Through this process, priests will have access to mentors and a network of peer and diocesan support. Catholic Leadership Institute will seek funds from diocesan partnerships and raise contributions from new donors to sustain this program.
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.