Lilly Endowment awards $1 million grant to CBF
    July 15 2008 by By Lance Wallace

    ATLANTA – The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been awarded a $1 million grant by Lilly Endowment Inc. to create a “missional leadership ecosystem” during the next three years.

    “All of this is a systemic effort to ask ‘How is this helping you discover your vocational calling?’” said Terry Hamrick, CBF’s coordinator of leadership development. “Our focus all along has been to discover, develop and nurture leaders. This grant is strategic in that we will be able to call young people out, improve their theological education experience and create positive ministry experiences in the local church.”

    CBF will add more than $300,000 of its funds to the Endowment grant to bring about the ecosystem, which will begin to take shape this fall. CBF will implement the new program with existing staff and partners.

    “Lilly Endowment is very pleased that many institutions and leaders affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship – pastors and congregations, leaders of seminaries and colleges, and many young people preparing to become pastors – have been working together so closely to create an environment in which churches can flourish,” said Craig Dykstra, senior vice president for religion at the Endowment. “We hope this grant will help CBF cultivate an even more effective ecology of relationships that fosters effective ministry in its congregations.”

    The youth and college initiative has been formally called “Enhancing the Capacity of Missional Congregations to Serve as Agents of Vocational Discovery.” The four strategies to implement this initiative are as follows:

    • Creating a youth ministry network,
    • establishing a collegiate support network,
    • funding congregational-based internships for college students and
    • convening a summer ministry summit for college and graduate students involved in summer ministry, such as CBF’s Student.Go program, Passport Inc. summer camp staff, the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty interns and more.

    The second initiative designed to bring churches and theological educators together is called “Serving as a Catalyst for a New Community of Theological Schools and Congregations.” It will be fulfilled through three strategies:

    • Instituting a pastors and scholars studio that would bring together 20 professors and 20 pastors to improve the process of forming missional leaders,
    • creating a supervised ministry network composed of faculty and staff members from theological schools and pastors of churches hosting seminary students in internship-type ministry positions and
    • establishing a doctoral student network from among Baptist students in doctoral study.

    “We’re trying to help supervised ministry go from being an ‘Oh, no, I’ve got to have this to graduate’ to helping students utilize the experience to better set their vocational direction,” Hamrick said. “The new networks will be places for us to begin a conversation with colleges and universities to have a relationship.  That is such an important time for vocational decisions.”

    7/15/2008 9:33:00 AM by By Lance Wallace | with 0 comments

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