Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas, has received a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to help pastors build relationships with other clergy as role models and mentors to guide them through challenges of congregational ministry.
It is one of nearly $70 million in grants to 78 organizations across the United States recently announced as part of Lilly’s Thriving in Ministry initiative to help clergy thrive as pastoral leaders so they can lead the congregations they serve more effectively.
Other grant recipients include the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Baptist Women in Ministry, Campbell University, CBF of North Carolina, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board of the American Baptist Churches USA, Samford University and Wake Forest University.
Ranging in amounts from $31,500 to $ 1 million, the grants include theological schools, faith-based colleges and universities, congregations, denominational agencies, independent religious organizations and religious communities that reflect diverse Christian traditions.
“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, the endowment’s vice president for religion. “Pastors have shared with us that they often find themselves isolated from colleagues and sometimes struggle to keep up with new challenges posed by today’s rapid pace of change.”
“When pastors have opportunities to build relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to understand and negotiate new challenges and their leadership thrives,” Coble said. “These promising programs will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”
Central Seminary’s Formed for Flourishing: Mentoring Toward Effective Leadership will pair experienced ministers with new and transitioning clergy to help guide them through challenges in day-to-day ministry that go beyond what they learned in seminary.
Angela Barker Jackson, who will direct the program, called it “a significant opportunity for Central to increase our nurture of ministry leaders, to strengthen our ecumenical connections, and thereby to serve the local church.”