College of Pastoral Leaders

Some of us wear robes, others hiking boots, others jeans. Whether we are preaching at a bar, beside a lake, under a bridge, or in a sanctuary, we long to help new generations hear good news in a way they understand.

 – SECOND WIND cohort

Designed to reinvigorate your vocation, the College of Pastoral Leaders makes two-year, $10,000 grants to small groups of pastors to pursue a self-designed program for renewal, vitality, and pastoral excellence.

Why do we do this?

We believe:

  • The quality of leadership matters for the church.
  • Vital leadership depends on life-long learning and transformation. Transformation happens in community and over time.
  • Pastors need communities of trusted peers who know and understand the calling because ministry can be lonely and isolating.
  • Pastors' most urgent needs are often contextual. A one-size program does not fit all, so we empower pastors with agency for their own development.

Who is eligible?

Cohort groups of four to six pastoral leaders may apply.

The category of pastoral leaders includes ordained clergy serving in a pastoral setting, chaplains, congregational pastors and preachers not required to be ordained but currently serving in full-time ministry, and bi-vocational pastors.

Each member should be engaged in an official capacity for ministry and be in good standing.

Each member should be willing and able to commit to:

  • participate fully in the group for a two-year period, including entering into covenants, agreements or other promises made by the group;
  • set individual intentions for their own heart, soul, mind, and strength; and
  • share those intentions with the other members of the group, as agreed.

What's expected of us?

Each group consists of not fewer than four and not more than six members. One person serves as the contact person. Each group will determine how needs for leadership, facilitation, reporting, logistics and other matters will be met.

Cohort groups must meet together with regularity during the two year period. Each group will determine the frequency, duration and setting of their meetings. Members need not live in the same geographic area nor be members of the same denomination; neither is that prohibited.

Each cohort must: 

  1. Submit financial reports to Austin Seminary as specified.
  2. Submit quarterly updates about cohort activities. 
  3. Submit a final report by July 31 of the second year following the award of the grant.

Applicants are welcome to consult with Melissa Wiginton, Vice President for Education Beyond the Walls, as they are preparing proposals.

What can the money be used for?

Funds may be used for travel, meals, lodging, books, resources, guest teachers, events, and treats. 

Absent exceptional circumstances, proposals will not be awarded which:

  • seek to host one event as the sole cohort activity
  • only fund participation by members in a group traveling as part of another institution
  • aim to launch a new ministry effort
  • dedicate more than 10% of the award to the purchase of equipment
  • include more than 10% of the award for costs allocated to individual activities, such as individual spiritual direction, couples counseling
  • provide more than 50% of the budget to one resource person.

How are the funds distributed?

Awards will be made for not more than $10,000. A lump sum will not be disbursed. Cohort members will be reimbursed for funds expended. (Complete guidelines will be provided upon acceptance.) In special circumstances, funds can be released to prepay substantial expenses.

Dates and deadlines?

Deadline for application: May 15, 2019

Awards announced: June 28, 2019

Start date for grants: July 1, 2019

End date for grants: June 30, 2021 

What's the selection process?

Each application will be reviewed by a selection panel composed of Austin Seminary faculty, Austin Seminary administrators, and former members of the College of Pastoral Leaders.

Applications will be evaluated in keeping with the criteria set forth in the Application Process section.

Preference will be given to qualified first time applicants.

Consideration will also be given to selecting a class of cohort groups who represent diverse perspectives, races and traditions.

Up to six awards of not more than $10,000 each will be made.

Applicants will be notified through the designated cohort contact person no later than June 28 on the disposition of their application.

Applications Available Spring 2020