March Madness!

This week begins the annual NCAA basketball tournament, and I couldn’t be happier! I love March Madness! This means filling out brackets, staying up way too late watching games on the West Coast, while sneaking peaks of games during the afternoon. I’m lousy at picking winners because I let my emotions get involved. I’m a fan of the Big Ten, hater of the ACC, root for any team in Chicago, and long for the glory days of UCLA! Like most people, I also want the underdog to knock off Goliath. The 12th seed upsetting the 5th seed is worth living for!
Perhaps this is why I am such a fan of the Salary Supplemental Grants, and the Small Church Grants the Presbytery of Chicago offers to our congregations. These grants provide an opportunity for our smaller congregations to cast a vision, create a plan, and find a new purpose for ministry. Through the generous mission donations of congregations, the presbytery can invest in the ministry and mission of smaller Presbyterian congregations throughout the Chicagoland area.
This year, the Mission Committee has added another tool to its toolbox. CrossForm is an exciting program being offered by LeaderWise. This is for any congregation (no matter the size) seeking to develop a post-pandemic mission and vision. CrossForm is designed for congregations with the following characteristics:
  • A hunger to grow in Christ
  • A commitment to incremental transformation
  • A desire to discover the congregation’s call in response to the community’s need
  • A desire to heed Jesus’ call to be salt, light, and leaven for the flourishing of all!
Possibly, there are several congregations that qualify for these grants, but either they don’t know about them, or they simply don’t ask. I will set aside the next two weeks for reaching out to congregations and asking them to apply for grants. This is my March Madness! My hope is that we increase our number and percentage of congregations who take advantage of these and other grants being offered by the Mission Committee. If you know of a congregation I should especially reach out to, please send me a note at my email address below. By strengthening the smaller congregations, we will increase the strength and vitality of the entire Presbytery of Chicago.
Rev. Craig Howard

Contact: [email protected]