Reflective Leadership Grants

Reflective Leadership Grants

Leaders must simultaneously manage immediate needs and look ahead to what is coming next. In today’s rapidly changing context, leaders often spend so much time reacting that they don’t have the time or space to “get on the balcony,” stepping away from daily obligations and focusing on the long view.

The Reflective Leadership Grant program offers lay and ordained Christian leaders up to $15,000 to step away from their current work to reflect on accomplishments, broaden perspectives and discern next steps.

How does your leadership style need to adapt to respond to a changing context?

This year, 11 Reflective Leadership Grants will be awarded to organizations on behalf of a leader who has accomplished significant goals within their work and is ready to design the next chapter. These leaders serve in a range of roles, from project director to senior administrator, and work in a variety of organizations, including denominations, seminaries, church-related colleges, consultancies, congregations, Christian non-profits, Christian social enterprises and others.

Successful proposals will describe the applicant’s ministry, what has been accomplished, and why this is a pivotal moment for reflection. Activities for the balcony time might look like:

  • Consulting a subject matter expert
  • Attending an event or conference, particularly events from different fields of inquiry
  • Traveling to observe others doing similar work
  • Stepping out of one’s work for a season to spend time actively reflecting
  • Paying the cost of a replacement in the organization
  • Providing childcare or senior care so the applicant can be away from home


The Reflective Leadership Grant program at Leadership Education is a competitive grant program open to any employee of a faith-based charitable organization, which includes denominations, seminaries, church-related colleges, consultancies, congregations, Christian non-profits, Christian social enterprises, as well as others. We are particularly interested in supporting leaders whose work contributes to healing and hope in their communities by strengthening congregations, social services, schools and other organizations.

Grant funds are distributed in January 2020, and funds must be used within 18 months of receipt. All grant funds are awarded to the organization, not to individuals, and the organization is required to serve as fiscal agent for the grant. The organization and the applicant must work within the United States.

The Reflective Leadership Grant program is not intended to be a fellowship program for work toward an academic degree, including the doctor of ministry degree. It is acceptable for some part of the grant activities to involve travel and research. However, if plans are strictly dedicated to work involved in the pursuit of a degree, applicants are advised to find support elsewhere.

Applicants not selected in 2019 are eligible to reapply in future years.

How to Apply

Successful proposals will articulate why this is a pivotal moment for the leader and the ministry. What is the opportunity, and how might a season of structured reflection help the leader gain perspective?

Proposals should include a thoughtful rationale for the proposed activities, the questions the leader wishes to pursue and what the leader hopes will be different as a result of the balcony time.

The proposal may not exceed 12 pages double-spaced, 12-point font, including cover sheet, budget page, and letter of institutional support. Please do not include an appendix with additional information. The detailed application process is described in the Request for Proposals.

The application will be completed in two parts:

  • A document submitted as a PDF, double spaced, 12-point font, 12-page limit
  • An online form.

The Request for Proposals for the 2020 grant cycle will be posted in spring 2020.

Questions about the process can be emailed to

Learn more about Leadership Education’s other grant programs.

2019 Reflective Leadership Grantees


David Bailey

Richmond, VA

Preparing to scale a decade of reconciliation and cultural intelligence work beyond the organization’s founder


Eliza Cortes Bast

Reformed Church in America
Grand Rapids, MI

Discerning vocational shifts and role expansion in a denomination in transition


Jeffrey Dove

Eleventh Episcopal District of the AME Church
New Smyrna Beach, FL

Expanding a ministry with formerly incarcerated people from a local to a global scale


Argrow “Kit” Evans-Ford

Argrow’s House
Davenport, IA

Exploring models of infrastructure and capacity for scaling a successful social enterprise


Amanda Grant-Rose

common cathedral
Boston, MA

Developing new leadership capacities for an organization that has moved from surviving to thriving


J. Lee Hill, Jr.

Christian Fellowship Congregational Church (UCC)
San Diego, CA

Crafting a theology and spirituality of jazz to match a growing ecumenical experience of faith formation

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Jennifer and Seth Moland-Kovash

All Saints Lutheran Church
Palatine, IL

Discerning new leadership and ministry models after the merger of congregations and a non-profit

Ginger Morgan

Ginger Morgan

Pres House
Madison, WI

Building capacity and connection for a wellness-centered campus ministry that is responsive to marginalized students


Nathalie Nelson Parker

Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, National Network of Young Adults
Nashville, TN

Navigating the integration of funding models, leadership strategies and social media competencies to scale a growing organization

Doug Pfeiffer

Doug Pfeiffer

First Christian Church
Adel, IA

Discerning best practices for missional community engagement in rural churches


Nikki Toyama-Szeto

Evangelicals for Social Action/The Side Center
St. Davids, PA

Growing beyond the founder’s leadership and creating space for alternative voices

2018 Reflective Leadership Grantees

Jeff Biddle

Jeff Biddle

Midian Leadership Project, New Hope Community Church
Charleston, WV

Identifying strategies for a multicultural and justice-oriented sports ministry in a high-trauma environment

Liza Cagua-Koo

Liza Cagua-Koo

Emmanuel Gospel Center
Boston, MA

Discerning a sustainable growth pace from leading women of color working on urban issues & racial justice


Brittany Caine-Conley

Congregate Charlottesville
Charlottesville, VA

Creating a public witness ministry for clergy toward faith-rooted justice organization and systemic change

Alexis Carter

Alexis Carter

Phillips Theological Seminary
Tulsa, OK

Exploring practices to increase the number of black women in ministerial leadership while supporting their flourishing

Laurie Day

Laurie Day

Mountain Sky Conference, United Methodist Church
Denver, CO

Developing visionary leadership in a new denominational conference to unite diverse groups in a shared identity

Charisse Gillett

Charisse Gillett

Lexington Theological Seminary
Lexington, KY

Developing new leadership capacities to move a seminary from crisis to innovation and sustainability

Shonda Nicole Gladden

Shonda Nicole Gladden

Indiana Annual Conference of the AME Church, Sacred Soaring South District
Indianapolis, IN

Exploring rituals and practices in the African Methodist Episcopal Church to revitalize the church and neighborhoods


Carolyn Graham

The Mary Elizabeth House, Inc., A Ministry
Washington, D.C.

Discerning next steps to help teen mothers aging out of the child welfare system become spiritually centered, economically empowered change agents

Kimal James

Kimal James

First United Methodist Church
Marriott-Slaterville, UT

Imagining a financially stable, faith-based assisted living senior community in a rapidly changing context

Greg Jarrell

Greg Jarrell

The QC Family Tree, Inc.
Charlotte, NC

Should an intentional Christian community move with those being displaced by gentrification or reinvent its work?

Eric Lindh

Eric Lindh

Project Transformation National
Dallas, TX

Investigating sustainability models for a mission movement that has grown rapidly from regional to national

Madeline McClenney

Madeline McClenney

Charlotte, NC

Right-sizing an economic model for a rapidly growing re-entry mentoring program and national advocacy campaign for ending mass incarceration

Emily McGinley

Emily McGinley

Urban Village Church
Chicago, IL

Exploring how church planters and cross-cultural clergy are innovatively capitalizing on contextual challenges and opportunities

Nurya Parish

Nurya Parish

Plainsong Farm & Ministry
Rockford, MI

Rooting farm-based ministry in racial justice and the rule of St. Benedict for a maturing nonprofit

Michelle Sanchez

Michelle Sanchez

Evangelical Covenant Church
Chicago, IL

Growing in executive, non-anxious and Christ-centered leadership for denominational excellence

Joel Shenk

Joel Shenk

Toledo Mennonite Church
Toledo, OH

Nurturing community partnerships and cultivating peace by turning guns into garden tools through blacksmithing

Tim Soerens

Tim Soerens

Parish Collective
Seattle, WA

Pivoting from a small founding team to a national and international staff with a focus on diversity, entrepreneurial leadership and creative funding models

Stephanie Summers

Stephanie Summers

Center for Public Justice
Washington, D.C.

How does an adaptive CEO open the organization to a broader community?

Cindy Thompson

Cindy Thompson

Boundless Impact
Greensboro, NC

Creating hubs for missional innovation to build thriving communities that are intentionally diverse, inclusive and equitable

Roger and Margery Wolcott

Roger and Margery Wolcott

Constance Abbey, Inc.
Memphis, TN

Revisioning a new monastic residential community toward neighborhood redevelopment with sustainable living support services for our neighbors

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