Our Purpose

Thriving Congregations Coordination Program

Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving Congregations Initiative aims to help congregations strengthen their ministries so they can better help people deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of their communities and the world. Leadership Education at Duke Divinity will support this initiative through a Coordination Program that gathers grantees for mutual learning.

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Overview

Reassessing, adapting ministries to new and emerging contexts

In all, 114 charitable organizations were awarded grants of up to $1 million each to help congregations adapt to changing social and cultural contexts, clarify their values and mission, and draw on Christian practices. Leadership Education at Duke Divinity supports and networks these grantees and shares what they are learning.

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Our Commitments

What makes congregations flourish?

Local congregations are the primary form of Christian community. Those that thrive share three characteristics.

Contextual knowledge

Relational and relevant ministries emerge from understanding rapidly changing communities.

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Mission clarity

A strong sense of identity and values draws from a church’s theological and ecclesial tradition.

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Vibrant practices

Common rituals help congregations effectively address new challenges and nurture spiritual vitality.

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Lilly endowment inc. 2020 annual report

‘The Times They Are A-Changin’

Shifting demographics, social disruptions move congregations to explore how to remain relevant and serve their communities

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Project Directory

Explore our grantees

Grantees include colleges and universities, theological schools, denominational agencies, individual congregations and other faith-based organizations and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions.

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Boston University School of Theology

This project explores what it means for urban congregations to thrive in the midst of collective trauma. As ministers increasingly find themselves as first-responders and their churches as safety-nets to…

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Instituto de Formacion Fe y Vida

Instituto Fe y Vida is a Catholic, nimble, and strategic ministry founded in 1994 by the De La Salle Christian Brothers and a group of Hispanic pastoral professionals. Its mission…

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Hood Theological Seminary

The Congregational Faith and Learning Center at Hood Theological Seminary (TCFLC) aims to provide training and faith engagement directly to congregations in the community by being a place to “educate,…

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Faith Matters Network

Faith Matters Network equips faith leaders, community organizers, and civic change agents with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment. It creates brave spaces and moments of learning to support…

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Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas

Many Hispanic Baptist congregations serve in a ministry setting with a unique set of challenges that include varying immigrant generations, diverse language usage, and rapidly changing cultural needs. In response…

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Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas

Many Hispanic Baptist congregations serve in a ministry setting with a unique set of challenges that include varying immigrant generations, diverse language usage, and rapidly changing cultural needs. In response…

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Learn More About Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas

Stories & Resources

What we are learning

Discover stories, essays and interviews about topics related to congregational life, including racial healing and justice, economic models, innovative ministry, leadership and more.

Kimberly R. Daniel: Christian innovation must change the status quo to help the marginalized

Innovation isn’t Christian if it doesn’t focus on God’s priorities, says the co-author of a book from the Forum for Theological Exploration.

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Jonathan Brooks: How engaged is your church in your neighborhood?

A free online quiz offered by the Parish Collective helps congregations discern their current level of engagement in their communities and offers resources to deepen that connection, says the organization’s board chair.

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Freedom Schools offer a summer of possibilities for the next generation

Grounded in history, the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools face the future by forming students from kindergarten through high school.

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Holly K. Oxhandler: Caring for others’ spirituality starts with cultivating your own

Caregivers must be able to recognize the image of God within themselves in order to care for it within others, says the author of a recent book.

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Dorothy C. Bass: Christian practices and a way of life abundant

The influential book “Practicing Our Faith” and other works it inspired continue to be pertinent today. A new website invites a new generation to explore Christian practices vital to faithful living.

Navigate to Dorothy C. Bass: Christian practices and a way of life abundant
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