Indiana and National Clergy Renewal Programs

Pastors are essential to nurture and sustain the spiritual vitality of Christian congregations. Spiritual guide, scholar, counselor, preacher, administrator, confidant, teacher, pastoral visitor and friend, pastors are called on to play many roles in leading the ministries of congregations.

The job is demanding, and pastors perform their duties among a dizzying array of requests and expectations. It is not a job for the fainthearted, but requires a rare balance of intelligence, love, humility, compassion and endurance. Most importantly, it demands that pastors remain in touch with the source of their life and strength. Like all people of faith, good pastors need moments to renew and refresh their spiritual energies and regain their enthusiasm and creativity for ministry.

Recognizing the importance for busy pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life, Lilly Endowment started the Indiana and National Clergy Renewal Programs in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Through these programs, it has awarded on a competitive basis grants to congregations to support renewal programs for their pastors. Congregations also have benefited from these grants by utilizing the renewal programs as opportunities to strengthen their ministries as vital places of worship and mission and to develop the leadership capacities of their lay leaders.

Both programs offer awards of up to $50,000 each directly to congregations for the support of a renewal program for their pastor. Up to $15,000 of the grant can be used to help the congregation fulfill pastoral duties during its pastor's absence and/or to support activities that enable the congregation as a whole to be renewed in its ministries.

Renewal programs are not vacations but times for pastors to engage in new experiences, to reflect on their ministries, to rediscover their passions and to sharpen their leadership skills. Common aspects of these renewal experiences include: strengthening relationships with family and friends, renewing a sense of call, meeting and serving neighbors in a new way, finding joy and purpose in a simplified life, traveling to new lands and unfamiliar territories, and creating opportunities where members of the congregation can exercise their gifts for ministry.

The Indiana Clergy Renewal Program is open to all congregations in Indiana. The program is for ordained pastors who are serious about parish ministry and who can, in conversation and discernment with their congregations, envision this program as a means of renewing a long-term commitment to that congregation and to ordained ministry.

The National Clergy Renewal Program is open to Christian congregations in the other 49 states. Congregations may apply for renewal grants for pastors who hold at least a master of divinity degree from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

Since 1999 the Endowment has invested more than $81 million in the Indiana and National Clergy Renewal Programs, providing grants to more than 2,000 congregations to support renewal programs for their pastors.

For more information:
The Indiana and National Clergy Renewal Programs are administered by Christian Theological Seminary, located in Indianapolis, Ind. Congregations interested in the Clergy Renewal Programs may obtain more information at or by contacting Robert C. Saler at 317-931-4225.