Thriving in Ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary (Thriving at VTS) creates peer learning and mentoring experiences for Episcopal priests who are in the midst of professional transitions. We develop safe, accountable learning experiences for clergy to grow and infuse vitality into the congregations they serve. Thriving at VTS forms peer groups for priests whose ministry settings generate unique challenges, e.g. church planters, clergy couples, ethnic missioners, school chaplains, and women who are expanding their roles in leadership. These clergy are most likely to find themselves lacking the resources needed for continuing education and vocational flourishing. We train facilitators and mentors to lead Thriving participants through case-based/action reflection learning and to supportively challenge each priest’s commitment to his or her well-being. Through careful attention to fostering positive habits of pastoral leadership and peer work, the project seeks to build a self-sustaining culture of honest, continuous, collaborative, and intentional leadership development among Episcopal priests. VTS will sustain this project through annual participant fees and financial contributions from partner organizations.
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Resilient Leaders Project at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology strengthens the three streams of resilience — people, practices, and purpose — in the lives of Christian leaders. Over one year, cohorts of 8-16 church workers gather for four multi-day learning modules and monthly peer groups. Resilient Leaders Project provides clergy with opportunities to build relationships; practice spiritual, physical, and emotional fitness; and discern their vocational next steps to build generative communities. Leaders leave the program with deeper self- and other-understanding, expanded capacity to manage stress and change, and tools to create redemptive narratives from their personal and congregational stories. The project is committed to learning about the practice of pastoral resilience and its impact on congregations and communities. To sustain this work, The School’s advancement team will work with a development consultant to cultivate major donors interested in supporting this project.
The Southern New England Conference 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.
Pentecostal Theological Seminary seeks a five-year grant for partial support of the PTS Thrive program. This effort will provide coaching and mentoring for younger Pentecostal pastors and offer guidance and support to early and mid-career pastors who are facing challenging pastoral transitions or seeking to extend their congregations’ ministries into their communities. Program activities include: a new system for administrative bishops to coordinate placement of new pastors in Church of God congregations; the cultivation and preparation of mid- and late-career pastors to serve as mentors for their younger colleagues; the matching of younger clergy with seasoned mentors; and the facilitation of regular opportunities for pastors to engage one another in person and online. To sustain this program, the seminary will develop a fee structure for second and third year participants and increase the number of participating pastors to 300 by the final year of the grant.
Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a denomination of more than 700 Eastern Orthodox churches across North America, seeks a five-year grant for partial support for its Thriving in Ministry Initiative 2018 program, an effort to strengthen the leadership practices of OCA clergy and equip them to be joyful, creative and thriving pastoral leaders for the parish communities they serve. Based on a successful pilot program started in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania in 2015, OCA will establish facilitated clergy peer learning groups throughout the United States. Trained facilitators will guide priests through regular discussions around self-care, spiritual growth, vocational joy and leadership. Clergy spouses will meet with trained facilitators as well. To sustain this program, OCA will charge participants a fee and will ask each diocese to support their participating priests.
North Park Theological Seminary’s Thriving in Ministry grant is focusing on three main areas: Thriving Prophetically, Thriving Spiritually, and Thriving Vocationally. Our goal is to develop and implement programs and initiatives that will support our pastors in these key areas of their ministry. We intend to do this by: Developing peer-mentoring programs; Providing opportunities for pastors to explore the connection between their pastoral calling and social issues facing the church and world today, and; Creating continuing education opportunities for trained spiritual directors who are either themselves pastors or are providing spiritual direction to pastors, helping them enhance their interior life. To fulfill this goal we are committed to working with our pastors to determine how best we can serve them in reaching this goal and ensuring that the efforts we invest in through this grant will have a long lasting impact on the ability of our pastors to thrive in ministry.