Cal Lutheran receives $1M to help pastors
Project will provide training and support in 14 states
(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Oct. 17, 2018) California Lutheran University has been awarded nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help pastors and church leaders throughout 14 Western states avoid burnout and thrive in their ministries.
The Thousand Oaks-based university and its Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley are receiving $996,756 to work with 11 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to implement the Thriving Leadership Formation program.
Declining church attendance and funding, changing parishioner expectations and increasingly diverse communities have made pastors’ jobs more challenging. ELCA bishops report that pastors suffer from dissatisfaction, anxiety, fear, spiritual depletion and loneliness as they struggle to revitalize their congregations.
“It is clear that traditional models of ministry are no longer working as they did in the past,” said Desta Goehner, director of congregational relations at Cal Lutheran. “The challenges of the present time require more creativity and collaboration.”
Building on PLTS’ Theological Education for Emerging Ministry program and Cal Lutheran’s Executive Skills for Church Leaders program, the new project will develop curriculum to strengthen practical leadership skills not covered in seminaries and deliver those lessons to about 150 pastors and other church leaders throughout the West. Topics will include social entrepreneurship, cultural competency, community organizing and conflict management. Pastors and church leaders will form cohorts for collaboration and support, and they will receive mentoring and spiritual counseling.
“Here in the far West, where Lutherans are greatly outnumbered and thin on the ground, this program will be a lifesaver for the church,” said Bishop R. Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod.
After the five-year project ends, synods and churches will be able to use the curriculum, and the practices and support systems can continue.
“This program seeks to build connections across congregations, cities, counties, synods and regions, and I truly believe the only way the church will adapt and change successfully is if we seek to do that together,” said Bishop Kristen Kuempel of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod. “This project will be a vital step in the right direction.”
Cal Lutheran was one of 78 recipients chosen from nearly 600 proposals for Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative. Grants ranging from $31,500 to $1 million will support the efforts of a variety of Christian organizations across the nation to help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can guide them through key leadership challenges in ministering to congregations.
- Fall 2020 Update
Tue June 23, 2020
Given that health officials have indicated that the COVID-19 health crisis will be with us through the fall, we have decided to deliver the courses that had been scheduled face-to-face for the fall 2020 semester virtually.
- PLTS faculty statement regarding George Floyd, racism and white supremacy
Wed June 10, 2020
- Hope in all climates
Mon November 25, 2019
From Cal Lutheran's seminary in Berkeley, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda helps people in faith communities and secular society to be agents of justice.
- Faith tested
Thu February 21, 2019
When horrific events affect both congregants and additional outsiders, their need for advice and prayer is piled on top of the usual emotional and spiritual demands presented by requests to discuss life’s hardest aspects ranging from addictions and marital problems to grief counseling — creating a surefire recipe for pastor burnout.
- Cal Lutheran receives $1M to help pastors
Wed October 17, 2018
California Lutheran University has been awarded nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help pastors and church leaders throughout 14 Western states avoid burnout and thrive in their ministries.
- Accreditation input requested
Mon August 6, 2018
A committee from the Association of Theological Schools will be on the campus of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary October 22-25 for an accreditation visit.
- Climate Justice course to be offered again
Wed July 11, 2018
- Muslim college buys seminary campus
Fri September 22, 2017
The hilltop property where a Lutheran seminary stood for 65 years before moving downtown will now house a Muslim college.
- An update on the PLTS move to downtown Berkeley
Thu April 20, 2017
The seminary staff, faculty and students will move to the new campus in June. The official start of operations at PLTS in the heart of Berkeley will be on Aug. 1.
- Rector named to help guide seminary
Mon March 13, 2017
A Chicago professor, ordained pastor and community organizer will serve as the first rector of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University.