(Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary press release) Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary recently received a $1.5 million five-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish an innovation hub that assists congregations in designing and launching new and/or building upon existing ministries to help Christians discover how God calls them to lead lives of meaning and purpose.
According to Sally Pendleton, Louisville Seminary’s vice president for institutional advancement, the seminary’s innovation hub, called The Myrtle Collaboration: An Initiative to Reclaim the Vocation of Every Child of God, will be an initiative and an experiment designed to help faithful lay persons discover and live out God’s calling for their lives through their development and resourcing of congregational ministries.
The grant is one of 13 grants Lilly Endowment has made through Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose, a $20 million initiative to help organizations around the nation as they work with congregations to lift up practices of discernment of vocation in Christian traditions and build new ministries around vocational reflection and renewal.
The Myrtle Collaboration will engage 16 Presbyterian congregations in a process of vocational learning and purpose discovery. The process will utilize design theory and will be punctuated with periods of intentional listening and guided by trained congregational coaches through an educational process that: 1.) invites congregations to explore theological resources and religious practices related to calling embedded within the Christian tradition; 2.) conduct research with the congregations’ members to understand their experiences and desires to live lives of meaning and purpose; 3.) design prototype ministries to equip the congregations’ members to discover and claim their Christian callings; 4.) launch and test the new ministries; 5.) refine the ministries based on evaluations; and 6.) incorporate the ministries into the congregations’ ongoing activities. As part of this process, each congregation may receive grants of up to $20,000 in the formation of their ministry.
“If successful, individuals will emerge with a greater awareness of their own gifts and skills, a renewed sense of purpose, a deepening sense of the connection between their daily activities and the work of God in the world, a daily fulfillment in daily roles and a stronger connection to the church,” said Pendleton.
“Louisville Seminary has an outstanding faculty and staff and is exceptionally well positioned to help congregations work creatively and develop innovative ministries,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “The Myrtle Collaboration holds great promise to enhance the vitality of churches by helping Christians claim their gifts and live with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.”
Work on The Myrtle Collaboration will begin immediately. To meet the program’s needs, Louisville Seminary will hire a project director to spearhead initiatives. More information is available on Louisville Seminary’s website, www.lpts.edu.