In its second year, the five-year project led by McCormick Theological Seminary based in Chicago will continue its effort to challenge new generations of Asian American young adults to pursue pastoral ministries.
By recognizing the church-wide concern to prepare more young adults to become pastors and church leaders, the project known as AADVENT (Asian American Discipleship for Vocational Empowerment, Nurture and Transformation) will focus on the new generations in four components -- Young Adult Conferences, Taste of Seminary Leadership Seminars, Mentoring Pastors Program, and Advisory Team.
The Young Adult Conferences, seen as the integral part of AADVENT, will be held annually in early August at the McCormick Seminary. Through exposure to worship, Bible studies, theological reflection, and hands-on mission experiences, the conference seeks to challenge the young adults to link their faith to the mission of the church and explore the possibilities of serving.
In 2005, the first Young Adult Conference was held on August 10-13. The AADVENT reported some of the responses of the participants, with one saying "I have never really thought about going to seminary before this conference, but now I have had exposure with it, I'm considering the possibility."
In a follow up to the conference, the Taste of Seminary Leadership Seminar, a "three-week seminary immersion" which will begin in June, is designed for Asian Americans who are interested in in-depth explorations into faith and mission that will incorporate a time of personal reflection, singing, worship and fellowship.
Through the Mentoring Pastors Program, McCormick will bring together Asian American pastors and Asian American young adults in an attempt to help them form a relationship of support, encouragement and guidance.
On January 29-31, the Seminary will invite Asian American pastors who serve in a variety of contexts -- Asian American congregations, immigrant congregations, predominantly white congregations, multi-racial to multi-cultural congregations and so forth -- to consider becoming a "mentoring pastor."
The consultation will be held at McCormick, where the pastors will be introduced to all aspects of AADVENT, where they will be able to address the problems and the possibilities of developing Asian American leadership, and where McCormick will prepare them for the mentoring role.
After the consultation, 10 pastors will be selected to join the Taste Seminary Leadership Seminar to serve as mentoring pastors in an effort to form relationships with the participants in June.
Lastly, to tie all the components together, the Advisory Team is a group of dedicated individuals who oversee the development of the project and its ongoing expansion, and who seek to strategically broaden the view of Asian American ministries within the context of the growing church.
The project began in 2005 and will end on 2009. It was funded by a $1.9 million grant from "The Making Connections Initiative" of Lilly Endowment Inc. The initiative is a nationally competitive program that offers about 25 grants, allocating as much as $40 million. It is designed to help theological schools call a new generation of young people to Christian ministry, enhance programs of theological study related to pastoral ministry, and nurture seminary graduates in their transition to parish ministry.
"An important part of our ministry has always been to unite the gifts and needs of different communities," McCormick President Cynthia Campbell said at the beginning of the project according to the seminary.
"This project will significantly benefit specific communities with whom McCormick has deep ties, and it will also contribute significantly to the ongoing witness and work of the greater Church. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Lilly and look forward to the fruits of our combined efforts in the years to come."