Sustaining Ministry

Lis Van Harten

(First appeared in the May 2010 issue of Ministry Reports to Classes and Councils.)

In 2002, Lilly Endowment Inc. created an opportunity for Christian organizations to focus on their pastors. The CRCNA received one of the 63 project grants Lilly awarded under the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) initiative. To date, almost 70% of CRC pastors have participated in the 128 peer learning (PL) groups formed. The groups allow pastors to gather together to: express ministry joys and challenges, pray, support and encourage each other, attend a continuing education event, and share learning and best practices.  What is the impact of these experiences? Here is what pastors are saying:

“The SPE program has done for me exactly what the name states and I couldn’t be more grateful. It has improved my ministry, sustained my soul, and connected me with others in healthy and helpful relationships.”

“It is the ability to network with peers that continue to fuel, sustain, and inspire me to work even harder in ministry.”

“For me and my close friends, SPE has not only been a life-line, but a major energy booster for what we do.”

SPE is demonstrating its deep care for pastors in a number of ways—one of which is PL groups. It is sustaining CRC pastors. As our ministry leaders are sustained, they are better able to continue in the work they have been called to.