Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas has received a grant of $506,965 to help establish the “Conexión Pastors Initiative.” It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.
The Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative.
The Conexión Pastors Initiative will provide an opportunity for Hispanic Baptist pastors to engage each other and the challenges that they face. Over a period of five years, up to 400 pastors will have the opportunity to participate through the local Hispanic fellowships known as Compañerismos.
At the Conexión Retreat, participants will explore the challenges, solutions, resources, and practices that will help them address the unique demands of their ministry setting, all the while fostering healthy relationships with their peers. Pastors will create Conexión Peer Groups in each of the 40 Compañerismos and can receive a $1,000 Conexión Stipend to resource and execute their peer group plan for the first year.
Jesse Rincones, Executive Director of Convención, said, “We appreciate the interest that the Lilly Endowment has in our pastors and the confidence in Convención to award this grant. Hispanic Baptist pastors will have the opportunity to engage their unique ministry challenges and develop healthy peer groups that will bless their lives, families and ministries.”
Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.
Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grantmaking priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.
“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including Convención’s “Conexión Pastors Initiative,” will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family - J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state Indiana. Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.