The Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The funding will be used to help pastors develop stronger financial literacy skills, reduce or eliminate personal debt, and become equipped to foster a theology of generosity within their congregations.
The funding is part of the Lilly Endowment’s initiative to address economic challenges facing pastoral leaders. Earlier this year, the Dakotas-Minnesota Area was invited to apply for a grant and, in March, received a $50,000 planning grant to conduct research and assess needs.
“The mission of the church is not to raise money or pay apportionments—it is to make generous disciples,” said Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough. “However, many of our clergy have debt and limited financial resources, and scarcity thinking paralyzes us. The Lilly Endowment grant will allow our churches and clergy to become financial stewards of God’s resources to expand ministry beyond our imagination. I am grateful to the Lilly Endowment for its expression of faith and resources for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area.”
With the help of the grant, the Dakotas-Minnesota Area will offer:
- Financial literacy training for clergy in their first three years of ministry
- Grants through a Ministerial Excellence Fund
- Two years of financial management training for new clergy
- Professional consultation
- Six annual “breakthrough generosity” workshops