Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant Exploration Process 2016

Process

The timeline below includes many details about what happened during the process of exploring a Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant. However, the process included the following principles.

  • The Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant program was approached as an opportunity to be considered, not a requirement to be fulfilled. We chose to prayerfully explore the opportunity, knowing that ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘not at this time’ were all perfectly acceptable conclusions.
  • We were committed to not moving forward with applying for a grant unless we felt the timing was right, and it made sense for the congregation and for the pastor.
  • We were committed to seeking the involvement of as many people within the congregation as possible.
  • We were committed to exploring this opportunity in such a manner that Asbury would experience positive outcomes from the exploration process itself, even if we elected not to pursue a grant.

 

Timeline

  • October, 2015
    • A member of Asbury heard about the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program from a friend who attends New Hope Christian Church. That church had recently participated in this program and he wondered if it might be something Asbury might consider.
  • November, 2015
    • Pastor Dave spoke with a clergy friend who was just completing a leave under this program to learn more about it.
    • The Staff Parish Relations Committee discussed the idea and requested more information.
    • Three people (Dave/Karen/Sally) attended a Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations Information Session at Christian Theological Seminary.
    • This possibility was discussed with the District Superintendent, who expressed support for moving forward. This support included the grant’s requirement of a letter of intent that the pastor would remain at the church for at least one year following the conclusion of the grant.
  • December, 2015
    • The Staff Parish Relations Committee discussed the new information and recommended looking further into the feasibility of applying for this grant.
    • The Church Council discussed the proposal from SPRC and agreed to form a feasibility committee that would study the particulars of a grant program and make a presentation to the Church Council at the January meeting.
  • January, 2016
    • The feasibility committee began to meet. This committee considered the particulars of the grant itself, and began to think about possibilities and implications for Asbury. They solicited and began to receive feedback (both positive and negative) relative to the idea.
    • There was a discussion with Pastor Wright from Ogilville Christian Church about the program. He has participated 2 times previously and recommends it.
    • The Church Council heard a presentation from the feasibility committee and voted to continue moving forward with exploring the possibility.
    • The committee opted to expand to include additional members who would learn, ask questions, and communicate with the congregation. A person who would be the designate grant writer was also asked to participate.
    • The committee began to plan opportunities to share information with the congregation and receive feedback from the congregation.
    • The committee began exploring possible themes for renewal for the pastor and the congregation.
    • The pastor began to make initial inquiries about possible options for his part of the renewal program.
    • The committee began working on the details, timing, duration, themes, frequently asked questions, budget, etc. of a leave period.
    • The committee set up a process to receive and track questions.
  • February, 2016
    • First congregational announcement was made during Sunday morning worship services.
    • A congregation wide Information sharing / feedback meeting was held.
    • Asbury Cafe – This event followed the World Cafe model.
      • The event followed the second service.
      • A ‘Pit Stop’ lunch was served.
      • Amy Linnemann from New Hope Christian shared the experience of that church.
      • The participants were separated into groups and discussed three questions to help generate ideas Asbury might consider doing during an intentional period of renewal.
      • Two follow up sessions were held for those who could not attend the primary session.
    • A congregational letter explaining Asbury’s exploration of the program was sent.
  • March, 2016
    • The committee unanimously decided not to pursue applying for the grant at this time. The committee felt that some of the questions raised could not be satisfactorily answered in the time available.
    • The committee communicated this decision to the Church Council and to the congregation.
  • April, 2016
    • The committee shared the renewal suggestions gathered from the congregation with the Fun Committee.
    • The committee shared the renewal suggestions gathered from the congregation with the committee working on plans for a church wide experience of “The Story.”
  • May, 2016
    • The committee developed the web pages for sharing the information about the exploration process.
  • June, 2016
    • The committee sent a letter to the congregation outlining the conclusions and pointing those interested to the web pages.