Applications and Descriptions

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence grants are available to Covenant pastors, missionaries, and chaplains who satisfy the SPE-eligibility requirements and follow the process outlined for application. We encourage you to read the requirements and process information before submitting an application.

Character Grants   |   Competence Grants   |   Constancy Grants   |   Group Grants

Character: Spiritual Direction

Personal Spiritual Direction
  • Up to $500 can be used in one calendar year to defray the cost of spiritual direction. Fees for receiving spiritual direction vary from free to up to $75 per session; $50 is typical.
  • Receipts for services rendered in spiritual direction may be turned in quarterly; grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis.
  • Application submissions are considered on February 15, April 1, May 1, June 1, August 1, October 1, and December 1 of each calendar year.
Spiritual Direction Training
  • Up to $500 per academic year is available to receive training as a spiritual director at an institution that offers a specific Certificate in Spiritual Direction, including North Park Theological Seminary; this grant is renewable for a second year of the program.
  • Official receipts for tuition paid should be turned in at the completion of each year; grants are funded on a reimbursement basis.
  • Application submissions are considered on February 15, April 1, May 1, June 1, August 1, October 1, and December 1 of each calendar year.

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Competence: Pastoral Arts

2013-2014 Leadership Cohort: The Art of Pastoral Leadership

Click here for a visual overview of a leadership cohort experience

  • A 9-month cohort experience which exposes participants to a diverse body of material, examining leadership ideas, concepts, theories, and realities through the lens of our Christian faith.
  • Participants will attend two retreats (Fall 2013 and Spring 2014), attend a retreat afternoons at the Midwinter conference, complete assigned reading and reflection, work together via an online classroom setting, and apply their learning in ministry-based projects.
  • The major topics for the cohort are The Life of the Leader; Culture, Change & Conflict; and Imagination, Creativity & Mission.
  • Submitting the application below qualifies as an application for a grant from SPE which will cover most of the cost of participation in the cohort experience. Applicants should submit a refundable $300 program fee with their application. Pastors, missionaries and chaplains who are not SPE grant-eligible may participate, if accepted, for a registration fee of $625, and will be responsible for their own travel costs to and from the retreats.
  • Space is limited to 20 participants.
Personal Learning Experiences
  • Up to $500 is available to participate in self-selected opportunities to enhance growth in the pastoral arts of preaching, leading, teaching, and caring.
  • Receipts for approved expenses associated with learning experiences should be submitted following the conclusion of the event; all grants are funded on a reimbursement basis.
  • Application submissions are considered on February 15, April 1, May 1, June 1, August 1, October 1, and December 1 of each calendar year.

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Constancy: Retreats

Deeper in Christ Retreats (formerly Re-Visioning)

  • Spring 2014: April 27-May 2
  • Redemptorist Retreat Center, Tucson, Arizona
  • There is a $250 application fee for this retreat. The fee will be refunded for those not accepted for the retreat.
Sabbath Retreats
  • The next Sabbath Retreat will be held April 27-30, 2014.
  • This retreat will take place at St. Columba Retreat Center in Memphis, Tennessee
  • There is a $250 application fee for this retreat. The fee will be refunded for those not accepted for the retreat.
Self-Selected Renewal Retreats
  • Up to $500 is available for personal retreats designed for Covenant ministers who feel the need to spend three to seven days in retreat, prayer, and study.
  • An outline of the retreat components, including desired outcomes, will need to accompany the grant application.
  • Grants of up to $5,000 are available for group retreats (four or more SPE-eligible individuals). Please see the group grant instructions below.
  • Receipts for all approved retreat expenses should be submitted following the experience; grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis.
  • Application submissions are considered on February 15, April 1, May 1, June 1, August 1, October 1, and December 1 of each calendar year.

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Group Grants

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) encourages pastors, missionaries, and chaplains to interact together in self-designed experiences of renewal, spiritual direction, and learning. Group grants are available for groups of four or more SPE-eligible ministers in amounts up to $5000.

It is important that these group interactions be determined by mutual desire and need for growth in ministry. SPE grants are targeted for groups of ministers that would not normally be able to interact together in these desired ways because of distances in geography and ministry settings.

Group grants are not available for church staff retreats or continuing education experiences. Groups of pastors who all desire to attend a conference, seminar, or event put on by a third-party ministry or organization may be referred to the application process for individual grants.

Applications for group grants must include
  1. Individual SPE applications for the correct grant stream (character, competence, or constancy) from each member of the group. Each individual must meet grant eligibility requirements.
  2. A cover letter and supporting materials detailing the desired group experience, including a plan for implementation (schedule, budget, logistical details).
  3. The identification of a group point person who will be responsible for communicating with the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence office for matters of application, evaluation, and reimbursement (if the application is approved).

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