Thriving Together Program

A program to support and encourage pastors in times of transition.
Funded by a Lilly Endowment Inc. Grant


Introductory Video

Second Call  -  Video
Exploring Transition  -  Video
Later Career  -  Video


Thriving in pastoral ministry requires relationships in which one can explore a developing sense of pastoral vocation. This is true throughout a pastoral career, but particularly during seminal transitional moments in which an integrated sense of vocation is challenged or disrupted. This project intends to create a stronger, more vital culture of mentoring around three under-supported, almost “invisible” transition moments: early in a second call, in later career, and while privately wrestling with the question, “Should I stay or go?” Through gatherings, resourcing, assessments, and developing mentoring relationships, the Thriving Together initiative crystallizes a trajectory already begun in the CRCNA, sharpening the focus on pastoral relationships. The cultivation of wisdom by way of mutually respectful relationships with significant, similar others, will provide traction in fostering hospitable giving and receiving between colleagues which leads to thriving. This strategy fits well within the mission of Pastor Church Resources which serves pastors and churches, “as they seek to promote healthy relationships, encourage one another in ministry, and discern next steps in seasons of growth, transition, or challenge.”

Second Call

Many believe that since a pastor has already completed their first call, and is therefore “experienced”, entering a second call is easy and almost seamless. However, often that’s not the case. The first and second calls can be to very different types of ministry, contexts, or roles. And, pastors don’t know it all even if the second ministry setting is very similar to their first one.This program explores the early years of a pastor’s second call via the following: 

Assessments: 20 pastors will take a vocational ministry assessment and be debriefed. Each participating pastor will receive a book pertaining to the assessment. Follow-up opportunities for book discussions will be provided.

Gatherings: 12 pastors early in a second call will join 12 pastors seven years or more into their second call. There will be four gatherings geared at learning together, and encouraging the value of thriving together. All participants will receive a book related to their transition moment.

Mentoring Group Grants: Grants of up to $10,000 are available to fund groups of six to eight pastors (plus a facilitator) who desire to gather together to learn from each other while fostering health in their ministry, lives, wellbeing, and relationships.

Resources: A training tool and a video focused on the second call will be written/created for anyone interested: mentors, regional pastors, transitioning pastor, church councils, etc.

For information about the Second Call Transition, contact: 

Margie Brenner
877.279-9994 x2173 (toll free)
[email protected]

Exploring Transition

Are you thinking of taking a new call? Are you exploring what God might have next for you? Ever think that you might want to step away from formal ministry all together? If you are asking yourself these questions, then we’d like to invite you into a conversation around exploring your transition. Over the next 4 years, groups of 10 pastors will gather to strengthen their discernment process.

Assessments: 10 pastors will take a vocational ministry assessment and be debriefed. Each participating pastor will receive a book pertaining to the assessment. Follow-up opportunities for book discussions will be provided.

Gatherings: A group of ten will gather for a day and half of discernment together. All participants will receive a book related to their transition moment.

Mentoring Group Grants: Grants of up to $10,000 are available to fund groups of six to eight pastors (plus a facilitator) who desire to gather together to learn from each other while fostering health in their ministry, lives, wellbeing, and relationships.

Resources: A training tool focused on discernment will be written/created for anyone interested: mentors, regional pastors, transitioning pastor, church councils, etc.

For information about Exploring Transition, contact:   

Margie Brenner
877.279-9994 x2173 (toll free)
[email protected]

Later Career

A third of CRCNA pastors are 55 and older. Vocational identity can still be a challenge: the church context has been changing. Expectations change. And we change! If you are wrestling with the shape of your calling for this last chapter of ministry and beyond—and facing the reality that calls do not come as easily as they once did, we invite you into conversation! Each year of the grant will include:

Assessments: 20 pastors will take a vocational ministry assessment and be debriefed. Each participating pastor will receive a book pertaining to the assessment. Follow-up opportunities for
book discussions will be provided.

Gatherings: Groups of 15 will gather for two days of sharing and reflection. Along the way, one group of later career pastors will be joined by midcareer pastors for sharing and reflection. And a group of 12 seasoned Anglo pastors will be joined by a group of 12 seasoned ethnic pastors for sharing, reflection and learning. All participants will receive a book related to their transition moment.

Mentoring Group Grants: Grants of up to $10,000 are available to fund groups of six to eight pastors (plus a facilitator) who desire to gather together to learn from each other while fostering health in their ministry, lives, wellbeing, and relationships.

Resources: A training tool and a video focused on later career transitions will be created for anyone interested: mentors, regional pastors, transitioning pastors, church councils, etc.

For information about Later Career, contact:

Margie Brenner
877.279-9994 x2173 (toll free)
[email protected]