Thriving in Ministry Enters New Phase and Welcomes New Director - Gordon Conwell

Thriving in Ministry Enters New Phase and Welcomes New Director

In 2019, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the Thriving in Ministry program to support and encourage pastors in New England. The program served more than 200 pastors from over 175 congregations in the last five years, primarily within a peer-cohort model. Last year, the seminary received an additional grant from the Lilly Endowment which, in conjunction with funds from the seminary’s Shoemaker Endowment, moves Thriving in Ministry into an exciting second phase—now under the Office of Alumni Engagement and reaching pastors nationwide.

Thriving in Ministry will continue to support pastors, particularly alumni pastors, within a cohort model that nurtures friendship, learning, spiritual growth, support, and prayer. The program will also feature two new modalities. The first is a Residency Program, which will give recent graduates an opportunity for practical, hands-on training in a church ministry setting under the mentorship of experienced pastoral leaders. The second is the Respite Program, which will offer alumni pastors a short break from preaching and other pastoral duties to allow space for them to reflect and gain perspective on ministry needs, focus on a particular pastoral or family issue, or recover from a challenging period of ministry.

We are excited to welcome Rev. Dr. David Crosby as the new Director of Thriving in Ministry. David, a Gordon-Conwell alumnus, will develop and oversee this next phase of the Thriving in Ministry program. Read further to learn more about him.

Tell us about yourself.
I come to the Thriving in Ministry program after forty years of pastoral experience, having served churches in Massachusetts, Colorado, and New Hampshire. My passion is teaching, mentoring, and discipling people so that Christ might be formed in them. In each of these local church settings, I have also been engaged in developing models for church-based ministry training helping people grow in ministry leadership. I graduated from Gordon-Conwell with a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality, which allowed me to deepen my experience of the love of Jesus while also further refining my pastoral skills. My partner in life and ministry is my wife of forty-one years, Evalie. Together, we raised three children, and they have blessed us with five grandchildren. In my times of rest, I am reading (spiritual life/theology, history, biography) at home by the fire or at a Starbucks, or I’m outside hiking, biking, kayaking, or skiing.

What drew you to the director position, and what are you excited about as you begin this work?
My excitement for this work with Thriving in Ministry flows from my experiences as a pastor. I have been greatly helped in navigating the highs and lows of pastoral leadership by connecting relationally with other pastors in a variety of cohort groups for learning, prayer, friendship, and support. These groups have been God’s gift for helping to sustain me in a thriving, flourishing ministry. In the current ministry context, where pastors report increasing isolation, loneliness, and questioning God’s calling, Thriving in Ministry brings pastors together to be seen, heard, known, and loved by one another and by the Lord. I look forward to helping create a support network through cohort groups, as well as developing new modalities like the Respite and Residency programs so that pastors can flourish in their call to bring the good news of Jesus to their communities.