The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced the launch of an initiative aimed at helping clergy thrive in their roles as pastoral leaders.
Through the Thriving in Ministry Initiative, the endowment approved twenty-four grants totaling more than $20 million in support of seminaries, universities, denominational judicatories, and a retreat center. The grants will enable organizations to create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as role models and mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.
Organizations receiving grants in this initial round of funding reflect a wide variety of Christian communities, including African-American Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Brethren, Episcopal, Evangelical Covenant, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Quaker, as well as interdenominational and non-denominational traditions. Recipients include the Asbury Theological Seminary ($999,515) in Wilmore, Kentucky; Catholic Extension ($1 million) in Chicago; the Memphis Theological Seminary ($1 million); and the University of Notre Dame ($998,716).
A second round of funding will be made available in 2018 through a competitive grant program.
"We have received many reports from pastors about the changing demands of serving as a pastoral leader today," said Christopher L. Coble, the endowment's vice president for religion. "Many pastors are seeking to find role models and wise colleagues who can guide them through professional transitions and challenges encountered in particular ministry contexts. Our hope is that the initiative will support a new wave of efforts that help clergy thrive and lead their congregations more effectively."