Grand View Receives Lilly Endowment Grant of Nearly $1 Million to Establish The Moses Project

October 8, 2018

Grand View University has received a grant of $996,038 to help establish The Moses Project. It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry. 

The Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative.

The Moses Project at Grand View is designed to provide a professional development program for rural pastors who are in the early stages of their careers. The purpose is to build resilient clergy by connecting them with mentors and exemplars who will guide them through the challenges they encounter in the early years of rural ministry.

There are five objectives to meet the program goal of helping rural pastors thrive in congressional leadership, thus enhancing the vitality of the congregations they serve:

  • Supporting at least 80 rural Lutheran pastors to thrive as pastoral leaders
  • Providing innovative strategies, resources, and tools to help rural pastors overcome personal and professional challenges
  • Creating a strong network of rural pastors who will learn and grow together
  • Engaging four mentors who will partner with five rural pastor participants each year, and attend monthly online gatherings, the initial retreat, and rural conference, while serving as active collaborators with the pastors
  • Engaging 10 exemplars to serve as experts to pass on their knowledge and expertise to cohort members

Russell L. Lackey, the James E. Rasmussen & Duane M. Skow Chair in Pastoral Excellence and Pastor at Grand View University & Luther Memorial Church, reflects, “The Moses Project will help rural pastors connect with other rural pastors for encouragement and renewal in order to help foster innovation in their ministries. When pastors have a vision for ministry, vitality follows.”

Grand View University is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grant making to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grant making priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.

“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including The Moses Project at Grand View University, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family - J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state Indiana. Its grant making in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.