Denver Seminary, a nondenominational, evangelical school, requests a five-year grant for partial support for its Soul Care Initiative (SCI) program, an effort that seeks to provide spiritual renewal, physical rest and a supportive community for local Denver pastors. Focusing on executive-level pastors, the seminary will form cohorts of 20 to 30 clergy each who will gather regularly for nine months for facilitated monthly retreats, individual spiritual direction and personal prayer practices. In addition, the seminary will offer periodic retreats during pivotal seasons of the liturgical church calendar for alumni of the SCI program and other clergy throughout the Denver area. The aim is to cultivate a wider network of pastoral leaders who support one another in their ministries. To sustain this program, Denver Seminary will seek individual and corporate donors, church partnerships and sponsorships with organizations supporting pastoral leaders.
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.
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.
The Dakotas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church seeks a five-year grant to support its Higher Ground program. This effort seeks to support rural church pastors by helping them develop and strengthen healthy leadership practices that promote the well-being of congregations and church systems. By focusing on a pastor’s holistic health (spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, social), the conference’s clergy will be better equipped to lead healthier congregations. The conference will walk alongside clergy at key junctures in their careers to help them reassess their calling and leadership gifts, re-engage with their sense of vocation and passion for pastoral leadership, and renew and refocus their ministries. Clergy will begin the year of renewal and refocus at a six-day retreat and will continue meeting with counselors and coaches through the rest of the year in the program. Pastors will participate in individual and group coaching as they put together personal and professional development plans. To sustain this effort, the conference will cultivate individual donors with a vision to support pastors, incorporate elements into its operating budget and reallocate earnings from its endowment.
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a multidenominational evangelical theological school, requests a five-year grant to support its Thriving in Ministry in New England program. The theological school will create cohort groups of working pastors from across New England, including Gordon Conwell alumni, and gather them regularly to form relationships with mentors and peers and improve their overall spiritual, relational, emotional, physical and vocational health. Each cohort will be led by two pastoral mentors and address a particular career stage in ministry or specific congregational setting. Cohorts will meet for a two-year period, and activities will include retreats, gatherings at Gordon Conwell, monthly group meetings and semiannual learning development opportunities. Sustainability for this project will come from a combination of support raised from congregations and new donors – as well as from support generated from a new center devoted to coaching pastors and congregations.
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.