2015 was a year filled with rewarding ministry, meaningful accomplishments, and major transitions. Thanks for your support along the way.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As we continue to journey together through the Christmas season, I want to share a brief update on my ministry during 2015.
The year began with me completing my research and the first draft of my doctoral thesis. You can read the abstract and introduction here: kengcrawford.com/online-journal/transforming-vocations/. The research focuses on the relationship between faith and vocation, and in particular how clergy are creating sustainable and faithful ministries that are multifaceted and include income from multiple sources. This will be increasingly important as the cost of education rises, the ability of congregations to support fulltime pastors decreases, and a higher percentage of the population remain outside of traditional faith communities. These three factors necessitate increasing emphasis on ministry outside the walls of the church, requiring new ways of training, conducting, and funding such ministries.
I took another step in response to this need by formally launching the Institute for Vital Ministry (iVM – iVitalMinistry.org) through a three year agreement with the Missional Wisdom Foundation (MWF – MissionalWisdom.com) as my fiscal sponsor for my 501c3 status. The goal of iVM is to serve as a platform that supports clergy and laity who are leading congregations and community organizations. We will do this through training, education, retreats, coaching, spiritual direction and pastoral care, along with the production of print, audio, video and digital resources for these activities. I am joined by a small and growing team of collaborators and partners. We are scheduling speaking events, workshops and retreats for 2016, so if you would like to host or participate, please let me know.
In May of 2015 I earned Doctor of Ministry with Honors from SMU. Since that time I have been primarily focused on conducting research and laying the groundwork for this new ministry. My own multivocal ministry includes serving part time as pastor of St. Paul’s E&R Church UCC (StPaulUCCDallas.org) and helping to launch a social entrepreneurship coworking space with MWF (TheMixCoworking.org). My hope is that iVM can provide an increasing percentage of my family income, freeing me up for this most important and underserved work.
2016 will include two new projects along with continuing the current work:
- AltrCall …. A gathering and exploration of stories of calling that include but go way beyond the norm and the expected. Clergy and Laity who are finding new ways to live out their call to ministry. Some will bear a family resemblance to things you already know. Others will be as if seeing ministry for the first time.
- MultiVocal …. Discover how vocation is manifest through the six domains of human flourising, and how you can become more fully yourself, more fully whole, by discovering, developing and deploying your vocational identity in each part of your life.
You have already provides support in one or multiple ways – through collaboration, encouragement, prayers, or financial gifts. My hope is that you will continue and expand your support as 2015 ends and 2016 begins. To receive a 2015 contribution letter gifts must received by December 31st – you can send a check or contribute online. You can accelerate the pace at which this work grows and serves more leaders and organizations by making a sustaining pledge of a monthly gift in 2016. However you give, I thank you. Please tell the story of the work being done and invite others to come along on the journey – and remember, “Wherever your road leads… you don’t have to travel alone.”
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Ken G. Crawford
Pastor, St. Paul’s E&R Church (UCC)
Executive Director, Institute for Vital Ministry
iVM: Companions on your journey.
“Wherever your road leads… you don’t have to travel alone.”