About the Initiative

About the Initiative

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) is an initiative that resources our denominational ministers for personal and vocational vitality as they continue to obediently respond to God’s call. Credentialed pastors, missionaries, and chaplains can apply for grants to help them pursue growth opportunities.

The SPE initiative has been and is being designed by pastors, for pastors. This is the key strength of this initiative. The intent of SPE is not to outsource, but instead tap into the rich diversity of gifts present in the pastors, missionaries, and chaplains of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The agency for this program lies in the hands of our ministerial family. The resources for this initiative came initially from a grant from the Lilly Endowment, and now come from Covenant ministers, regional conferences, an annual donation from Bethany Benefits and individual donors.

There are three streams that flow out of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence initiative to help pastors, missionaries, and chaplains deepen the vitality of their relationship with Christ and strengthen their vocational call. These are the streams of character, competence, and constancy.

Qualified ministers may apply for a grant in three areas:
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character:

Focuses on the internal formation of the pastor, specifically through the ministry of spiritual direction.

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competence:

Focuses on growth in the core pastoral arts of teaching, preaching, leading, and caring.

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constancy:

Emphasizes renewal opportunities through personal retreats or the Covenant’s re-visioning retreats.