Dear Pacific Northwest Faith Community,

The PNW Faith Innovation Team (Pivot NW) invites you to apply to participate in a 5-year research project funded by The Lilly Endowment Inc. The team is a collaboration primarily between the School of Theology and the Industrial-Organization Psychology Program, with additional support leveraged from multiple SPU centers and other ministry and leadership professionals in the greater SPU network.

Our research goals are twofold: To more clearly identify the context in which ministry will happen among 23-29-year-olds (where they gather, where they organize and work in meaningful ways, where they recreate and socialize) and to identify innovations in ministry that respond to our contemporary context in the PNW among that age demographic.

We are seeking to identify multiple faith communities representative of the PNW that have the capacity and willingness to participate in innovative projects and ministries over the entire length of the study. The gatherings and gleanings of the partnerships with these multiple faith communities will be available to the wider community of the PNW as in the nature of an open-source project.

Participation of a faith community will necessitate high-commitment from key leadership and overall consensus of the congregation. Our assumption is that by simply engaging in this process there will be a heightened and inescapable awareness of what effective ministry will look like to this demographic in this region.

It is our hope that faith communities that participate in (or observe from a distance) this journey understand themselves as deeply called to this demographic. We assume this will clarify and provide confidence in your sense of mission to your community (and all demographics therein). We hope that your reflection on the questions in this application prompts a renewed sense of calling and confidence for your congregation.

Please fill out the online application and find the Program Essentials and Sample Covenant to help to inform your leadership and community as you discern your desire to participate.

Thank you for your interest in this project. We covet your prayerful support, your encouragement, and your on-going curiosity and engagement from near or far.

Pivot NW (the PNW Faith Innovation Team)

p.s. Please use the PDF link below to download and distribute this letter to your congregations. You will find the other documents on this web page are also easy to download and distribute to aid in your discernment.

Essentials of Project

  1. We will be selecting 12 funded and multiple unfunded partner congregations/faith communities who represent the demographics of the PNW and have the capacity and desire to:
    1. Sustain a learning community willing to share insights with others and provide mutual support across theological and doctrinal heritage.
    2. Consider ministry to young adults as a missional engagement where the end goal is not necessarily growing the numbers of members for individual churches but the overall support and nurture of communities of care for young adults wherever they gather.
    3. Commit to regular gatherings of the PNW Faith Innovation Team that seek diverse conversation partners, celebrate heterogeneous ways of knowing, and seek to localize and incarnate global entrepreneurial visions for the Church.
  2. What we are offering:
    1. Research and evaluation that will look at your community’s cultural and geographical context and offer suggestions for innovation in keeping with your mission and vision as a church.
    2. Grants of up to $30,000 to design and launch ministries in partnership with young adults for the 12 funded congregations.
      1. Up to $10,000 a year for 3 years (starting 3rd year of 5)
    3. Regular coaching, consultation, partnering, and retreats with experts in innovation, organizational renewal and pastoral care for young adults.
    4. Resources to provoke and sustain innovation: Books, articles, and other information that will inform the task at hand.
  3. Our expectations for outcomes:
    1. Participating congregations will be challenged to see themselves anew through accountable evaluation and insights that require active ministerial responsiveness in shaping a sacred imagination and context for service to the next generation of young adults.
    2. Specifically, the congregations will:
      1. Better understand the social context of young adulthood and the values that shape the young adult experience.
      2. Generate new ideas for building relationships and creating new spaces and opportunities where young adults engage in ministry.
      3. Increase awareness of organizations (non-church) that care well for 23-29yos.
      4. Design and implement new ministries with young adults that create spaces and opportunities for young adults to exercise their own agency in shaping experiences that nourish their religious lives.
      5. Test and refine their new ministries as they continue to learn from their work.


Covenant of Participation

We, Pacific Northwest Faith Innovation Team, invite you ____________________________ to join us as a learning partner in our research to better understand the relationship between Young Adults and Christian Faith Organizations.

Our commitment involves the following tasks:

  • Offering tools and ways to look at the topics – and then rely on you to tell us what happens when you apply them. We learn together.
  • Combine and integrate different voices and patterns that are emerging across the groups; not as experts but as combiners of insights.
  • Distribute the learnings in ways that are meaningful, succinct, and collaborative among participants and the greater community.

Your commitment assumes:

  • You feel “called” to this as a congregation: This is more than just research for knowledge sake. You consider this part of your sacred duty to continue to discover new ways to live out your calling.
  • You are representing congregations in similar situations: You recognize that the choice of your congregation is not because it is especially worthy, but that there is a value in researching your situation that can then be multiplied to many other congregations in similar demographic, denominational, and/or other circumstances.
  • You are committed to following through on the tasks and presence required to do the research well.
  • You are open to the spiritual challenges and refreshment that we hope is an ongoing product of this project.
  • You are willing to embrace a collaborative spirit to tackle the challenges this grant is addressing.



Signed, Dr. Jeff Keuss, Pivot Northwest Executive Director



Signed, Church Partner Representative


SampleLearningPartnerCovenant (Downloadable PDF)