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We believe that congregations play a critical role in nurturing and sustaining the spiritual lives of Christians as well as in extending the Gospel mission into the world. We support efforts to enhance the vitality of congregations, honoring their wide-ranging worship rituals and diverse theological traditions and ministry contexts. Our focus draws from the following questions:

What makes Christian congregations vibrant, effective communities of faith in their various contexts? How can congregations be renewed and strengthened as they face contemporary social change? How can congregational lay leadership become stronger and be more resilient? How can practices for promoting congregational vitality be shared across the wide diversity of traditions and settings in which congregations exist?

Related Initiatives

Thriving Congregations Initiative provides grants to 115 organizations that support congregational vitality to help them develop new and/or strengthen existing programs that equip congregations to understand the rapidly changing contexts in which they minister, gain clarity about their own values and missions, and draw on practices from their theological traditions to adapt their ministries. LEARN MORE

Ministry in the City Initiative seeks to enhance the work of congregations and Christian ministries of all kinds in cities across the United States by strengthening networks of diverse leaders in city-based ministries, identifying and sharing resources about vibrant congregations in cities, supporting research about such ministries, and encouraging experimental projects to test new approaches to ministries in cities. City Seminary of New York hosts the Ministry in the City Hub. Learn More

Related Grants

Indianapolis Center for Congregations strives to support congregations across Indiana by connecting them with effective resources to help pastors and other church leaders define and understand more clearly the challenges facing their faith communities, find the best resources to address them and learn practical ways to put those resources to use. The Center has worked directly with more than 5,000 Indiana congregations since its founding in 1996.  LEARN MORE

Congregational Resource Guide, hosted and curated by the Indianapolis Center for Congregations, provides valuable online information to congregations nationwide to help them find resources to address their most pressing challenges. LEARN MORE

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship at Calvin University helps congregations across the nation grow stronger and enhance their ministries by providing high-quality resources, including conferences and worship renewal grants for pastors, church musicians and worship leaders representing a wide variety of traditions and worship styles. In addition, the Calvin Institute helps theologians and other scholars reflect on and understand more fully the importance of worship in Christian life. LEARN MORE

The National Fund for Sacred Places provides planning grants, capital grants, consulting services and training to Christian congregations that have buildings that are valued for their architectural, cultural, historical and religious significance. The goal of the project is to help congregations restore their structures and create partnerships with ministries and other nonprofit organizations in their communities so that these historic churches can continue to be assets in those communities. The National Fund for Sacred Places is a partnership between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Partners for Sacred Places. Read a story about this here. Learn More

National Congregations Study is a long-term research effort widely recognized as providing the most authoritative and national representative data about the activities and practices of congregations in the United States. Four waves of the study – in 1998, 2006, 2012 and 2019 – have documented trends relating to congregational size, worship practices, staffing patterns, church finances, education and outreach ministries, ethnic and racial diversity, the use of new technologies and the connections between local churches and community organizations. LEARN MORE