Life is Calling, an Initiative of the Center for Congregational Resources
The CCR received a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in 2018, becoming one of 13 “Innovation Hubs” in the US and Canada to join the Endowment’s Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose initiative. Life is Calling was launched in the fall of 2018 and has worked with 23 churches and ministries representing 10 faith traditions. These congregations and ministries formed learning communities examining the intersection of Christian calling with a life of meaning and purpose.
The CCR will begin a final phase of the Life is Calling grant initiative in 2023. The aim is to establish a cohort of up to 10 congregations or ministries who are interested in exploring communal discernment and spiritual formation across the lifespan. This cohort will equip congregations with the tools and resources they need to foster a culture of calling, meaning, and purpose.
Participating organizations will create a leadership team comprising of the pastor and 3-5 layleaders of their congregation. Leadership teams will meet monthly to study and research calling, meaning, and purpose as it applies to their congregants and the communal church calling. Leadership teams will also meet with the full cohort 2-3 times in 2023. Pastors will participate in a monthly clergy peer group.
All resources, materials, study guides, etc. will be provided. There is no cost for congregations or ministries to participate. Participation in the cohort also includes a grant awarded in late 2023 of up to $20,000 per congregation for churches to make practical application of their learning.
Selections will be finalized no later than January 31, 2023 with the first group cohort meeting on February 25, 2023.
The first phase of Life is Calling has included 13 churches who have spent two years facilitating conversations, sermons, Bible studies, etc. about individual and corporate (congregational) calling. They have also engaged in a church-wide process of discernment and created their own initiatives to further explore calling and serve their local communities. Some of these initiatives include: respite care for caregivers of individuals with memory loss, partnership with a local school to provide after-school tutoring and literacy classes, and a retreat series on calling that includes all five generations of church members to more deeply explore how calling can change throughout one’s life. With most of these initiatives paused during the pandemic, churches are looking forward to carrying on their work some time in 2021.
The second phase of Life is Calling launched in the spring of 2021 and includes 10 more congregations and/or campus ministries with a specific focus on exploring Christian calling with youth and young adults ages 16-26. Churches who participate in this 2-year program engage in 4 learning modules and clergy peer groups.
The third and final phase will launch in January 2023 and is currently seeking those congregations/ministries who may have interest in Christian calling, meaning, and purpose. An online interest form is available on this website.
Virtual Worship Services
- Auburn First Baptist Church, Auburn
- Baptist Church of the Covenant, Birmingham
- Bethel Baptist Church, Bessemer
- Edgewood Presbyterian
- Fayette First United Methodist Church, Fayette
- Grace, a United Methodist Congregation, Birmingham
- Immanuel Presbyterian, Montgomery
- Southside CME
- St. Simon Peter Episcopal, Pell City
- Trinity Episcopal, Florence