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Disciples Represented at National Summit on Economics of Ministry

INDIANAPOLIS - Representatives of Disciples institutions recently attended “Gathering First Fruits: A National Summit on the Economics of Ministry,” hosted by Lilly Endowment, Inc. The three-day event brought together 700 leaders from 110 different denominational offices, judicatories, seminaries and para-church organizations.

For more than a decade, Lilly Endowment has funded projects to explore and address economic challenges impeding clergy leadership. Challenges often include high educational loans, modest salaries, declining benefits, fewer full-time pastor positions, and the need for multiple incomes. These trends weaken congregational vitality and increase the likelihood of clergy burnout – two outcomes Lilly Endowment is seeking to reverse. “The Summit was an opportunity to learn from one another’s programs and share successful approaches to addressing these challenges,” says Rev. Dr. Todd A. Adams, President/CEO of Pension Fund.

“Many of our pastors are feeling financial pressure in their personal lives,” said Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, “and that affects not only their longevity in ministry, but also their wellbeing as children of God. I’m excited to see ministries across the expressions of our church working together to address these challenges.”

With Lilly Endowment’s support, Pension Fund is helping early-call Disciples pastors with financial education and relief through its Excellence in Ministry program. The application deadline is April 30 and more details can be found at

Other Disciples institutions leading new projects to address the economic needs of clergy include the Christian Church in Indiana, Lexington Theological Seminary and Brite Divinity School. Learn more about Lilly’s initiative and the projects supported at