Vineyard USA, an association of more than 2,400 churches worldwide rooted in the Evangelical and Pentecostal traditions (“third wave”), is excited to have been awarded a five-year grant to support Vineyard’s Well-being of Pastors Initiative. This endeavor will invite at least 90 pastors over 5 years into three affinity-based peer cohorts. Each of three cohorts launches with 30-36 pastors completing a wellness survey and attending an initial retreat to get to know other cohort members. The following month and over the next two years, these affinity-group pastors will meet as a peer group in online video conferences with their affinity mentor, and he or she will meet individually with a specialized support team consisting of their mentor, a coach, and a spiritual director of their choice from a pool of top-rated professionals within the Vineyard. The individual and group meetings will occur 17 of the 23 months during the two year period. At the conclusion of each cohort’s two years together, the cohort will gather in person again and a second wellness survey will gauge the professional and personal growth of the pastors. Survey results will be used to fine-tune the program. An additional 30 pastors will take the wellness survey at the beginning and end to function as a control group for measurement accuracy. To sustain this effort, Vineyard USA will incorporate the program into its operating budget and seek financial support from individuals and congregations who are committed to pastor well-being.
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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.
New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) seeks a five-year grant for its Mentoring for Thriving in Ministry in the City project. This three-pronged project seeks to develop effective mentoring for pastors serving in urban ministries, especially NYTS graduates as well as other pastors in the New York City metropolitan region. The project will include a research component to examine and understand the effective mentoring practices for pastors in diverse urban ministry contexts. NYTS also will introduce mentoring for all ministerial candidates in its degree programs, many of whom already serve congregations, and increase resources for mentoring for graduates and other pastors in the region. To sustain this project, NYTS will fully integrate mentoring into degree programs for pastoral ministry, create a permanent office that provides resources for mentoring to pastors, and share the findings of its research through academic publications and other appropriate media.
The Moravian Church Northern Province (MCNP) seeks a five-year grant for partial support of the Moravian Clergy Connections Project. Conducted in partnership with the Moravian Church Southern Province (MCSP), the project consists of four initiatives that will form Moravian pastors from throughout the United States through spiritual direction, coaching, mentoring, cohort groups, and an interprovincial retreat that brings clergy together for mutual learning and support. They will collaborate with Moravian Theological Seminary to develop educational components and with the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America to seek ongoing funding. To sustain the effort, the MCNP will use earnings from an endowed fund, and the MCSP will draw on proceeds of a recent estate gift. Their goal is to enhance clergy health and leadership to equip them to support one another and their congregations to be more vital agents of God’s transforming love in the world.
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.
The Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) seeks a five-year grant for the Together We Thrive: Nurturing Pastoral Leadership program. Working in partnership with the Connecticut and Rhode Island UCC conferences, the Western Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts and the New England Synod ELCA, Lutheran, the program will offer a variety of opportunities for pastors to build relationships with peers and strengthen their leadership practices, including: 1) facilitated clergy cohorts to hone the practices of ministry; 2) clergy affinity groups to provide opportunities for intentional relationship building between clergy for mutual support and accountability; and 3) clergy coach training opportunities for seasoned clergy to work with new pastors. An annual colloquy will draw all the clergy groups together to reflect on challenges of pastoral ministry. The development specialist within the conference will oversee the fundraising to solicit donations from individuals, partner churches as well as additional grant sources to sustain this program.