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 generous grant from the Lilly Endowment has 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. In the next months, we have one additional opportunity to raise funds, up to $75,000, which will be matched by Lilly Endowment in the fall of 2023. You are invited to continue the investment in our clergy, our congregations, and our region through a gift to support the FLOURISH! Program. Help us to continue to offer grants and education to pastors in the Indiana Region. If you have questions about FLOURISH!, contact Sarah Riester,

To learn more about the FLOURISH! Program:

See FLOURISH! Project

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 Academies were held each May and October from 2016 through 2022. Our current grant plans for additional sessions to be held in 2024. 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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