General Conference of the Brethren in Christ (Brethren in Christ U.S.) has been awarded a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish The Thriving Congregations Initiative.
The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to encourage the flourishing of congregations by helping them deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the vitality of their communities and the world.
Through this initiative, Brethren in Christ U.S. aims to help congregations foster ministries relevant to their congregants, connect them more deeply to God and strengthen outwardly focused ministries that serve their communities. The program seeks to emphasize the potential for the church to thrive by focusing on identity, church health and community connection. Over a three-year period, they will receive training, assessment, and a $5,000 ministry grant to carry out community outreach.
Brethren in Christ U.S. wants to see 75 congregations participate over the next five years; the first cohort of 25 congregations will be selected in early 2024.
“Our prayer is that these congregations will explore their place among rapid social and cultural changes to better understand their mission,” says Alan Robinson, national director of Brethren in Christ U.S. “We believe that this program will empower congregations to step out in faith and truly flourish.”
Brethren in Christ U.S. is one of 105 organizations that has received grants though a competitive round of the Thriving Congregations Initiative. Reflecting a wide variety of Christian traditions, the organizations represent mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, peace church and Pentecostal faith communities.
“Congregations play an essential role in deepening the faith of individuals and contributing to the vitality of communities,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We hope that these programs will nurture the vibrancy and spark the creativity of congregations, helping them imagine new ways to share God’s love in their communities and across the globe.”
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.