Credentialed Covenant pastors, missionaries, and chaplains who wish to apply for Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) grants should familiarize themselves with the following grant process:
Determine your grant eligibility based on the published criteria. Pastors, missionaries, and chaplains who are eligible for SPE funding will demonstrate the following qualifications:
- Actively serving in a Covenant church or ministry on a permanent, full-time basis, with at least two years of ministry experience
- Currently holding an active Covenant credential (Covenant ministers holding a bi-vocational license, who have completed the Vocational Excellence class, should contact SPE for eligibility information. Ministers with retired credentials are not eligible.)
- In good standing with the Covenant Ministerium, including the payment of conference and national ministerial dues for at least the last two years
- Grants are available every other year with a lifetime cap of three grants
Use the appropriate grant application form, which can be downloaded from each of the three areas (Constancy: Retreats, Competence: Pastoral Arts & Cohorts, and Character: Spiritual Direction). Only grant applications submitted using these forms will be considered. Please attach any relevant supporting material to your application.
Make certain your complete application is received for consideration by one of the pre-designated deadlines of February 15, April 1, June 1, August 1, October 1, and December 1 of each year. Your grant experience should begin at least six weeks following the deadline at which it is submitted.
Applications for group grants should follow the guidelines specified here. Group grants are not available to be used for church staff retreats or events. If you are applying for a Covenant-created opportunity (including re-visioning retreats) pay careful attention to the specific application deadline in order to be considered.
2. Watch your mail
Grant award decisions will be sent via postal mail to the address listed on your application. If you are approved you will receive notification within twenty-one days of the application deadline. This notification will include forms you will need to hold on to in order to request reimbursement following your grant experience. In addition, we will share the good news of your grant with your church chairperson.
If your grant request is denied your letter will include specifics as to why it could not be approved.
We hope that you will fully enjoy the experience for which you are receiving a grant, and that you will connect deeply with Jesus during that time, whatever it is.
4. Complete the process
All grants are funded on a reimbursement basis. Following your grant experience, you will be responsible for evaluating your time using the guiding questions sent in your grant acceptance packet. Return this evaluation, together with your reimbursement request form and receipts, to the SPE coordinator within six weeks of the end of your experience. Grant recipients will be reimbursed up to the specified grant amount only when the receipts and response/evaluation sheets are turned in. Only one reimbursement check per grant will be issued, within six weeks of receiving the necessary paperwork.
The exception to this reimbursement time line is for those receiving character grants for ongoing spiritual direction. These grantees may request reimbursement quarterly.