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.
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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Inc. (CBF) seeks a four-year grant to create the Thriving in Ministry Initiative program, an effort to help clergy build and sustain collegial relationships to enhance their leadership capacities. Pastors who are at the same stages in their careers or serve congregations in similar contexts will form peer colleague groups and meet monthly with experienced pastor-mentors, called CBF Pilots. An initial gathering of all the cohorts will launch the program, and a capstone retreat will conclude each year. Throughout the year, each cohort will collect their best insights and reflections and combine them into published leadership resources (called Gleanings for the Journey) to share with other pastors and congregations. These resources may include written entries by both CBF Pilots and participants, podcasts, blogs, webinars and curricula. To sustain this initiative, CBF will incorporate this program into its operating budget and solicit gifts from donors.
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.
Esperanza is launching Renovación Pastoral (Pastoral Renewal) a program funded by the Lilly Endowment. Esperanza is a faith-based nonprofit organization driven by the biblical mandate to “serve the least of these.” We strengthen our Hispanic community through education, housing and economic development, immigration legal services, job training and advocacy. Renovación Pastoral supports new pastors in their first years of service to the Latino communities of Philadelphia, Allentown, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading. Through Renovación Pastoral we offer these pastors a sacred space to be affirmed, to learn, and to be nurtured through mentoring that is focused on both spiritual and practical matters. Esperanza connects pastors in their first years of ministry with active and retired long-term pastors who have demonstrated longevity and success in local ministry, helping the younger pastors to transition successfully into congregational leadership, while building a pastoral legacy for the well-seasoned religious leaders of the Latino communities of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board of American Baptist Churches (MMBB), which serves nearly 18,000 pastors and religious leaders in more than 5,000 churches and faith-based organizations from more than 15 denominations and hundreds of independent churches, requests a five-year grant for the Bridges: Colloquia for Cultivating Ministry program. Using the colloquium model, this program will bring together pastors to share with each other best leadership practices, reflect on key topics related to ministry challenges and transitions, and build relationships for personal and professional renewal. By fostering peer colleague relationships, the pastors will give each other support and guidance as well as accountability to foster higher levels of professional competence and well-being. To sustain this program, MMBB will incorporate programming into its operating budget and seek funding from new donors and denominational partners.