May 07, 2014

The Kentucky Conference, Camp Loucon, and Linsey Wilson College were recipients of  three of the twenty-nine grants that were awarded.

Twenty-nine Young Clergy Initiative grants totaling $1.36 million awarded

By Vicki Brown

Twenty-nine grants totaling $1.36 million have been awarded for programs geared toward increasing the number of young clergy in The United Methodist Church and supporting the young clergy already serving the denomination.

“Those who applied for grants identified weak spots in discernment and young clergy support,” said the Rev. Trip Lowery, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s director of Young Adult Ministry Discernment and Enlistment. “Many of the grant applications were aimed at those weak spots, such as better curriculum that focuses on discernment and specific training in financial health, since so many young clergy have seminary debt.”

Grants ranged in size from $100,000 to $5,800, Lowery said. While there is a primary recipient for each grant, all of the applicants formed partnerships with churches, annual conferences, other institutions or individuals to work on the projects.

Ninety-one applications were submitted for the first round. The deadline for the second round of applications is July 2, 2014. To learn more about the application process and to begin an application, visit www.explorecalling.org/yci.

Some of the projects approved included:

  • Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will receive $100,000 for a comprehensive program encouraging and supporting Latino/a, Hispanic and other youth in discerning their call to Christian ministry. “Hearing the Call, Supporting the Journey” identifies and invites young people to explore Christian ministry as a vocational call and offers support in their spiritual and vocational journey. One goal is to have 25 individuals commit to at least a year-long program of spiritual and vocational discernment. Partners include: local Hispanic pastors, MARCHA representatives, leadership coaches, St. Augustine College, Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation and University Christian Ministry student-leaders.
  • Cooperative Christian Ministry will receive $100,000 for the Accelerated Ministry Project, designed to educate and cultivate young adult leadership through a School of Immersion and a New Ministry Initiative. The School of Immersion is an intensive theological academy to prepare young adults for seminary, mission work and outreach work. Through the New Ministry Initiative, graduates of the immersion school will start new ministries in the Charlotte, N.C., area—particularly in the areas of social justice and church planting. Partners in the project are the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, High Point University and Appalachian State University.
  • Lindsey Wilson College will receive $44,000 for a project to provide mentored, multi-faceted ministry experiences with guided reflections. The goal is to enable young adults to tap inherent giftedness for applied ministry solutions while considering ordained ministry as a vocation. The Theoretical Applied Practice (of Ministry) project will cultivate young adult teams to grow in their vocational discernment while engaged in ministry in rural and urban settings. Students will be challenged to develop innovative ministry models and methods in partnership with mentoring churches and ministries that will focus on incarnational presence, furthering social justice and developing the spiritual and social capital needed to “bring Christ’s heart of reconciliation to human issues and meeting human need.” The college is partnering with several local churches, Camp Loucon and United Theological Seminary on this project.
  • The Kentucky Annual Conference received a $33,000 grant to help high school and college-aged young people discern their call to lay or ordained ministry through structured events and ministry opportunities within a mentoring community. The goal is to identify youth and young adults discerning a call to ministry as early as possible in order to develop a nurturing relationship with them and shape them spiritually and theologically. Special attention will be given to reach out to ethnic minority youth and young adults in this effort. The conference will partner with Camping and Retreat Ministries, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the Conference Committee on Youth and Young Adult Ministry and two campus ministries.
  • INVE$T Young Clergy received $54,160 to give young clergy tools, information and processes to encourage holistic financial health and personal well-being to sustain a lifetime of effective ministry. This includes establishing long-term financial goals, budgeting to live within their means and pay off debt, making good investments, understanding clergy taxes and more. The goal is to have at least 50 young adult clergy each year participate in a year-long program to increase their financial health and leadership. The partners in this project include the Western North Carolina Foundation, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits and the Conference Call and Vocation task force.
  • The Loucon Training and Retreat Center received $7,685 for The Pursuit, a four-week leadership development program aimed at building up leaders for the church. The Pursuit is a leadership development program comprised of four weeks of camp that, when completed, will serve to prepare campers to discern and answer their call to ministry. The primary goal of this program is to provide those campers who seek to go deeper in their relationships with Christ with the tools they need to do so. The goal is to better prepare them for ministry and that strong candidates for the summer staff will come out the project, as well as potential applicants for the Isaiah Project internship, more pastors and/or youth directors for the church as whole and strong leaders for the church in general. Partners include three local churches and the Kentucky Annual Conference.

General Conference 2012 created the $7 million fund to address the need for young clergy in the UMC. While $7 million was approved, the amount disbursed is expected to be about $5.5 million, since the actual funds are dependent on payments to the World Service apportionment fund.

The full list of grants will be published later on GBHEM’s website.

To learn more about the application process and to begin an application, visit www.explorecalling.org/yci.

Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

See more at:http://www.gbhem.org/article/twenty-nine-young-clergy-initiative-grants-totaling-136-million-awarded#sthash.zZtLg4zk.ogi45piS.dpuf