‘Pathways for Tomorrow’
Lilly Endowment awards MTSO a new $1 million grant
MTSO has received a five-year grant of $999,665 to help establish “Connecting Pathways: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Strengthen and Sustain Current and Future Faith Leaders.”
The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. It is a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.
The new grant was awarded less than a year after Lilly Endowment awarded MTSO $995,731 to help establish “Spaces for Thriving: Cultivating Authentic Pastors for Small Membership Churches and Communities of Color.” Lilly Endowment made the grant through its Thriving in Ministry Initiative.
MTSO’s successful Pathways for Tomorrow proposal arose from a Lilly Endowment planning grant, awarded in the spring of 2021, which enabled the school to conduct an online survey with more than 300 respondents, followed by individual conversations.
The resulting project will utilize MTSO’s distinct strengths in two distinct parts.
Part One, “Connecting Pathways: Congregations and Other Ministry Partners,” will support existing religious leaders, focusing on anti-racism training and resourcing. Working with partner organizations, MTSO will help faith leaders to assess land use and church food programs to assist in building community engagement.
Part Two, “Connecting Pathways: Vocational Exploration Intensive for Young Adults,” will invite young adults to imagine the possibilities for lifelong faith, offering experiential learning, theological reflection, worship, and relationships with healthy community leaders and vibrant faith communities. It will introduce the whys and hows of ministry, connecting participants with faith leaders, including some of those involved in Part One of the project.