Harvesting wisdom and tending growing edges

Nov 01, 2013 | Pastoral Excellence Network

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On May 13-15 and May 20-22, 2013, the Pastoral Excellence Network, Lilly Endowment Inc., and the Center for Pastoral Excellence at CTS hosted an inaugural meeting of leaders and participants from Lilly Endowment’s Transition into Ministry and Sustaining Pastoral Excellence programs.

We worked on the theme “Harvesting the wisdom and tending the growing edges” as we reflected on the contributions that Transition into Ministry (TiM) and Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) programs have made to our understanding of pastoral excellence and of what it takes to thrive in ministry.

We recognized that over the last ten years, both the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence programs and the Transition into Ministry programs of the Endowment have contributed to a new and emerging culture of ministry. Any culture is composed of its key practices, the espoused values implicit in those practices, and the underlying assumptions that are not often articulated, but also inform the emerging culture. Reflecting upon the experiences and the reports from many of the SPE and TiM programs, we articulated the key practices, core values and underlying assumptions of the TiM and SPE programs. Some highlights of those discussions appear in recent blog posts: “The compass guiding our work” and “We become what we practice.”

We also examined some of the questions that define the growing edges of future possibilities for Pastoral Excellence programs and the Pastoral Excellence Network, as well as the pressing challenges and emerging opportunities for ministry and the church’s future.

These discussions helped us recognize the important contributions that these initiatives are making to our understanding of ministry and the church; they helped us identify some of the reasons for extending this work into the future by supporting, connecting, and fostering collaborative learning among existing programs, as well as facilitating the launch of new pastoral excellence programs.

We move forward with clarity that the mission of the Pastoral Excellence Network is to work with congregations and church-related institutions to help new pastors get the best possible start in ministry and to encourage experienced pastors to sustain their vitality by participating in communities of ongoing support and learning. Our goal is to sustain the momentum and amplify the impact of Lilly Endowment's Transition into Ministry (TiM) and Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) programs. Together with existing and potential partners in this mission, we seek to expand the body of wisdom about what constitutes pastoral excellence as we lean forward into a church whose future we cannot yet fully see or imagine.

The image displayed in this post is "corn by cartam, on stock.xchng vi" and is used in accordance with their stated licensing. Photo copyright belongs to Cartam (Maurizio Carta).

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