North Carolina Baptists receive $1.5 million Lilly Endowment grant : Saturday, April 3, 2004
April 2 2004 by

North Carolina Baptists receive $1.5 million Lilly Endowment grant : Saturday, April 3, 2004
Saturday, April 3, 2004

North Carolina Baptists receive $1.5 million Lilly Endowment grant

From contributed reports

The Baptist State Convention (BSC) has received a $1.58 million grant to help sustain pastoral excellence in local churches.

The Lilly Endowment Inc., a private family foundation in Indianapolis, and BSC officials announced the grant Nov. 20. The money will be available Jan. 1, 2004 through Dec. 31, 2007.

The process, which is called Sustaining Pastoral Excellence, will be conducted through the Lake Hickory Learning Communities of Hollifield Leadership Center. The BSC owns Hollifield.

BSC Executive Director-treasurer Jim Royston said the BSC is humbled to be recognized as an organization that can provide long-term, innovative learning opportunities for pastors.

"At the same time, we are both excited and challenged by what the future holds in our work with leading edge pastors," he said.

The process will identify 44 pastors who are 35 and younger, in their first or second congregation as pastor and perceived to be models of excellence. These pastors, who will be called New Generation Pastors, will be from churches considered in the top 20 percent of churches in terms of faithfulness, effectiveness and innovation.

Pastors who are younger than 40 and have less than 10 years pastoral experience may also qualify.

In addition, the process will identify another 44 pastors who are older than age 35, have a proven track record of high quality ministry and are perceived to be models of pastoral excellence. These pastors will be called Leading Edge Pastors and will join the New Generation Pastors as leaders whose various characteristics are a model for others.

The two pastoral groups will work for three years alongside 15 Process Leadership Community Coaches through Lake Hickory Learning Communities.

During this time, the pastors will be able to:
  • Receive mentoring in two learning experiences annually by respected congregational and Christian ministry leaders;
  • Participate in peer-learning communities for three years with fellow participants and coaches;
  • Benefit from the services of a personal ministry coach for the three years;
  • Tell and write the past, present and future stories of their ministry practice, and use this as a basis for developing personal learning goals and project areas;
  • Engage in up to six capacity building learning experiences;
  • Utilize resource grants to participate in external learning experiences that fit their unique pastoral needs and contexts;
  • Allow self-selecting groups to design and implement plans for common areas of interest or skill development;
  • Become certified as coaches for congregational leadership and practice the skill; and,
  • Communicate their personal stories and experiences for the benefit of the North American church at large.
  • George Bullard, BSCNC associate executive director-treasurer and executive coach of Lake Hickory Learning Communities, will be the project manager for the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Process.

    Bullard served as author for the grant application.

    Royston said he is grateful for Bullard's creative leadership and passion for the project.

    "This is the result of his tireless effort to serve North Carolina Baptist churches and other evangelical leadership," Royston said.

    Bullard said most of the pastors will leave the program with a clear plan for how to sustain pastoral excellence.

    "Many of these pastors will also be equipped to serve as coaches to other congregational leadership beyond the process, and their stories can have far-reaching benefit to churches throughout North America," he said. "This is a very exciting day for North Carolina Baptists to be involved in a project of this importance."

    Since last year, Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided 63 grants for sustaining pastoral excellence. These grants ranged from $250,000 to $2 million, and were given to organizations believed to be helpful to pastors in sustaining excellence in ministry through a lifetime of service.
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