Ministry Life Choices Initiative



Bible and stained glass window

What is the Ministry Life Choices Initiative?

The Ministry Life Choices Initiative (MLCI) will assist those in years 1-5 of ministry with developing habits and practices for sustainable ministry. The relationship will span the first few years of theological education and the introductory years as a congregational minister. The MLCI is a ministry of the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in partnership with Lexington Theological Seminary.

MLCI stems from a partnership between the The Pension Fund and University of Notre Dame Professor Dr. Matt Bloom to gather data on the health and well-being of Disciples clergy and their families. In 2009, Dr. Bloom received a $500,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment to study the sense of well-being at work among people in the caring professions. The goal is to discover what makes pastors tick and thrive in ministry for sustainable leadership. He has conducted similar research with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Presbyterian Church, and the United Methodist Church. Dr. Bloom is a tenured faculty member in the Mendoza College of Business and the project’s primary researcher.

Program goals:

  • Goal I: advocacy for the work of the MLCI at local, regional, and national gatherings of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
  • Goal II: enriching existing partnerships and collaborating with new partners.
  • Goal III : through leadership development, support the work of the Student Gift Grant Program.
  • Goal IV: develop a targeted research agenda related to sustaining pastors in ministry for a lifetime of engaging in the programs and services of the Pension Fund.

Core activities:

  • Develop online resources to support pastoral and congregational leadership.
  • Develop a survey to gather data regarding the challenges to sustainable ministry for new pastors and the habits and practices that have enabled longevity in ministry for others.
  • Design and coordinate activities related to the Student Gift Grant Program.
  • Identify four educational partners for a conversation regarding the MLCI.
  • To develop data that will enable the Pension Fund and its partners to serve clergy and congregations more effectively
  • To help pastors develop practical self-care habits that will keep them in ministry, as well as PFCC
  • To build relationships with future pastors and congregations that can help support healthier personal and professional habits, thereby creating the capacity to be provide existing and future PFCC programs and services
  • To invite internal and external partners into a conversation about clergy well-being for the sake of ministry

Why is This Important?

  • In providing clergy during the formative years of seminary with the tools to thrive in ministry, MLCI may prolong their ministerial careers, reduce health-related cost, and most importantly an active participant in the Pension Fund related programs and services.
  • MLCI offers congregations a way of thinking about pastoral self-care and the congregation’s role in this process, as well as enabling the Pension Fund to be viewed as a trusted partner in this relationship.
  • MLCI can potentially identify ways that other stakeholders can promote well-being as part of the education and training of clergy.


For more information on the Ministry Life Choices Initiative and to discuss participation in the survey:
> Email Dr. Charisse Gillett at or Rev. Julie Richardson Brown at
> Information on the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
> Download the program brochure from the Council on Theological Schools conference on the role of theological schools in sustaining ministry


How-t0 Register:
In order to sign-up for an MLCI workshop/course you need to submit your application and registration fee to LTS.   Class size is limited to 15 people.  Should more than 15 people request admission to this class, the essay responses on the application form will be used as one of the determining qualifiers for successful admission to this class session.

NOTE: On the check, please add the following: MLCI course/workshop fee.
_______Lexington Theological Seminary
_______230 Lexington Green Circle – Suite 300
_______Lexington, KY 40503

Workshop/Course – MLCI