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Lilly Endowment to offer up to $30 million in grants to help pastors thrive

INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. is inviting organizations that support clergy to participate in a national competitive initiative to help pastors thrive as congregational leaders and in doing so, enhance the vitality of the churches they serve.

The Thriving in Ministry Initiative is designed to encourage organizations to create or strengthen programs that support pastors by helping them build relationships with other clergy who can serve as role models and mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.

“Through our grantmaking, we often hear from pastors about the complex demands of congregational leadership,” said Christopher L. Coble, the Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Many of these pastors express a longing for wise colleagues, mentors and role models who can offer guidance and support during challenging transitions in ministry. We hope that the Thriving in Ministry Initiative will support new efforts to help clergy grow stronger in ministry, so they can lead their congregations more effectively.”

Interested charitable organizations in the United States may submit proposals for up to $1 million that may be used for up to a five-year period to plan and implement programs that help pastors thrive in their pastoral leadership of congregations. The Endowment anticipates making approximately 30 grants through this national competitive initiative.

The Thriving in Ministry Initiative builds upon recent studies that have examined the importance of colleagues and mentors who help pastors face and overcome common professional and personal challenges. These studies include research from the Endowment-funded Flourishing in Ministry project, directed by Matt Bloom at the University of Notre Dame.

Strengthening pastoral leadership in Christian congregations has been a grantmaking priority of the Endowment for nearly 25 years. Endowment-funded programs and initiatives have helped pastors make the critical transition from seminary student to pastoral leader; encouraged pastors to form peer learning groups for ongoing professional development and personal support; supported theological schools in their efforts to prepare seminarians to lead congregations; and provided grants to congregations to enable pastors to step away from the daily demands of pastoral leadership for a period of renewal.

The Request for Proposals and more information about the initiative is available at www.lillyendowment.org/religion/thrivinginministry.html.

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