How can a seminary encourage and empower its students to dream, plan, and launch new ministry initiatives? Offer them grant-writing instruction and an opportunity to win funding for their ministries! The result: creative, diverse, and missional projects designed to impact lives with the multi-faceted Gospel of Christ.
As part of the Economics of Ministry initiative, Central designated a portion of the Lilly Endowment’s grant funding to establish a pool of monies for student grants. For the last two years the seminary has requested proposals from seminarians interested in launching their own ministries. A total of eight grants have been disbursed to support a variety of projects across the country.
An MDiv student in Washington D.C. developed a curriculum to train congregations and members in understanding their own unconscious bias in order to strategize better internal and external ministry practices. A Kansas City seminarian envisioned a small group cohort experience to prepare, attend, and then debrief the Why Christian? 2016 conference. One Doctor of Ministry student made a coaching proposal that enabled him to serve as a preaching coach and mentor for a student; afterwards, he traveled with that student to the Festival of Young Preachers. Two MDiv students at our Nashville site wrote separate proposals for chaplaincy projects: one with veterans and the other with palliative care patients. Another pair of seminarians drafted a joint proposal to open a new coffeehouse church, including a detailed budget and PR plan.
While none of these proposals looks like a traditional church, each one holds the promise and potential for meaningful ministry that transforms lives. Congregations will be impacted. Preachers will be equipped. Coaches will be developed. The dying will be touched. Veterans will be changed. Seekers will be encouraged. Millenials will be reached.
Central is both pleased and proud to support students who bring vision and creativity to their vocations. Offering grant-writing instruction and funding ministry start-ups – these are some of the ways that Central prepares women and men for seeking God, shaping church, and serving humanity.