Lilly Grant

Lilly Endowment – Clergy Economic Initiative

“FLOURISH!” That is our desire for every clergy person serving the Christian Church in Indiana. Yet financial challenges often limit our ability to do so. A series of generous grants from the Lilly Endowment charged us with alleviating some of the economic challenges that clergy and congregations face. Since the early stages, FLOURISH! Program’s mission has been and continues to be to “help develop and support healthy clergy who provide bold, confident leadership to build strong churches in our community and the world.” As a program of Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders, we have sought to empower clergy and congregations through initiatives aimed at improving personal and congregational finances. This has included:

  • Financial Relief and Compensation Support Grants
  • Financial Literacy Academy sessions on stewardship, financial best practices for congregations, and personal finance
  • Clergy Peer Groups
  • Financial Planner consultations
  • Sponsoring regional participation in the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising program
  • Stewardship Support Grants
  • COVID-19 Supplemental Grants
  • Partnership with Pension Fund’s Excellence in Ministry Program

Clergy participating in the program have told us that the program has impacted:

  • How they view and discuss mission and stewardship
  • The congregation’s view of abundance vs. scarcity
  • Comfort discussing church finances
  • Financial practices that protect the church and individuals
  • Pre-marital counseling with couples
  • Financial conversations with their own significant others
  • Messages about money that they pass along to their children
  • Their vision of a future that can include a home and/or family
  • Their plans or hope for retirement
  • Reducing shame and anxiety about personal and congregational finances
  • Knowledge of available resources

The Christian Church in Indiana has also been impacted including the recreation of the Commission on Stewardship, Barbee Blessings grants, and decisions to hire a new Associate Regional Minister and invest in Faith Formation.

In addition to the generous investment of Lilly Endowment, the support of churches and donors from across the Indiana Region enabled us to raise the required matching funds to provide grants and programs. Through the generous support of individuals, organizations, and congregations, we met all our matching fund goals, most recently securing the final $75,000 in Lilly Endowment funding for our Phase 3 grant. The final $45,000 in funding was raised in honor of Rick Spleth’s 45 years in ministry as he retired in 2023. We’re grateful for former Regional Minister, Rick Spleth’s commitment throughout FLOURISH! making its success possible. And thank you to all our donors for your investment in our clergy, our congregations, and our region through your gifts to support the FLOURISH! Program. If you have questions about FLOURISH!, contact Sarah Riester,

To learn more about the FLOURISH! Program:

See FLOURISH! Program

To donate to FLOURISH!:

(Online gifts are processed through a third party site managed by Suran Systems.)

Interested in attending the Financial Literacy Academy?

Financial Literacy Academy is back in 2024 with sessions on August 16 and 17. These are open to all Disciples clergy with standing in Indiana and lay people from Indiana Disciples Congregations. You can see an example of the types of sessions held previously by clickings below. Watch eNews and this website for information about the 2024 sessions.

See Financial Literacy Academy

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