Renewing the Lives of Pastors
For decades, Atlanta philanthropists Tom and Ann Cousins have sensed God’s call to do two things: (1) break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, and (2) renew the lives of pastors. Believing pastors have a significant leadership platform from which to transform their congregations and impact their local communities, and desiring to provide opportunities for ongoing education and support, the Cousins began funding trips to the Holy Land for groups of pastors in 1995. Pastors who journeyed together in the Holy Land developed deep bonds, and it became clear they desired to continue on a “pilgrimage” together after they returned. Continuing these relationships after the pilgrimage proved challenging because the pastors were spread out all over America.
Responding to a Need
To address this need for ongoing fellowship and support, Rev. Dr. Tom Tewell came to the Cousins’ C.F. Foundation in 2008 with the idea of gathering together cohorts of pastors from the same geographic area that could come together for an ongoing fellowship of mutual support and continuing education. The foundation enthusiastically agreed to start a pilot project. The Holy Land Pilgrimage became a piece of a much more comprehensive, three-year leadership renewal program for pastors, and Dr. Tewell served as mentor for the first cohort in Atlanta, which consisted of seventeen pastors from small, struggling congregations.