Portland Seminary of George Fox University is expanding the Institute for Pastoral and Congregational Thriving at Portland Seminary, extending efforts to nurture thriving clergy into thriving congregations. The Institute aims to address three specific challenges and opportunities for growth for congregations in the Pacific Northwest. These three factors include: the unchurched population of the “nones,” the multicultural future of North American society, and the breakup of denominational structures. The Institute aims to support Oregonian churches as they discern more effectively how to recognize and adapt to changing social and cultural contexts in the Pacific Northwest, exhibit clarity of mission to the Pacific Northwestern "none zone," and cultivate Christian practices and extra-denominational networks of support that will sustain their work. Through this initiative, the institute's faculty and staff will identify 12 regional congregations pastored by women and men who represent diverse constituencies of the seminary and invite them to apply for grants which will support their specific needs for congregational thriving. Portland Seminary will work closely with each congregation to develop a feasible and sustainable grant proposal to nurture their own thriving over a two-year implementation period. Grantees will meet with one another for inspiration, cooperation, and encouragement, attend an annual summit to share findings with other grantees, and produce digital storytelling to share their experiences with other congregations and the wider Portland Seminary community.
Thriving Congregations Initiative