The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College has received a $1 million grant to help build the Church Evangelism Initiative, a program that supports religious organizations and helps pastors build mentorships with other clergy.
The Church Evangelism Initiative is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry program.
“With support from Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry, the Church Evangelism Initiative’s fruitful efforts will considerably expand to gather pastors into pastor cohorts of 6-10 each for peer mentoring, problem-solving and mutual support,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
“The result is that pastors will thrive in their congregational leadership and thus enhance the vitality of the congregations they serve.”
The program expects to work with more than 200 pastors over five years.
“We have piloted an approach to revitalization that has begun to work in many churches, and now, thanks to the Lilly Endowment grant, we can expand significantly in both the numbers and the diversity of the pastors and churches we are serving,” said Dr. Rick Richardson, Project Director.
Stetzer said many pastors today don’t always feel like they are “thriving.”
“Pastors today face a complex set of leadership challenges and are often struggling to feel like they are thriving—or even succeeding—in ministry,” he said. “Although the complexity of the task has been there for some time, pastors today face a unique set of circumstances, and we are ready to pour into them to see the church thrive in the decades to come.”
Lily Endowment Inc. launched in 1937 and supports community development, education and religion.
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