CLMPI Hub on the Hill Model Description

By bringing to life an Innovation Hub for the Lilly Endowment‚Äôs Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative, ABC will‚ÄĒthrough the help of consultants and guidance of an expert advisory committee‚ÄĒfacilitate robust, collaborative vocational discernment with two staggered cohorts of twelve (12) congregations in ‚Äúfinding life‚Äôs purposes in God‚Äôs purposes‚ÄĚ and understanding Christian vocation throughout life‚Äôs changing contexts and stages.‚Ä̬† Selection of the¬†first¬†cohort¬†will occur during¬†Summer 2018; the¬†second cohort¬†will convene at end of¬†Summer 2019.

ABC’s Innovation Hub consists of a three-phrase process of Leadership Development, Design Thinking, and Community Ministry. Each phase will weave divine and human stories together with Biblical reflection on everyday human relationships to help Hub participants reflect on what it means to be called to a life of meaning and purpose. Innovation Hub activities will be interactive with the stories and pivotal seasons of life to confront assumptions and fears; to assess gifts, strengths and capabilities; and to look deeply at the symbiotic relationship between persons and the congregations and communities in which they live. The Innovation Hub will create fresh approaches to Christian calling drawing from Biblical reflection, practices, symbols, and theological resources.

All congregational HUB partners will mentor and/or be mentored, will create a theology of call, and will share video stories and/or audio recordings on the ABC website and in radio interviews to be broadcast widely through our well-regarded SiriusXM radio programs, ‚ÄúPlumb-line‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúThe Leadership Zone.‚ÄĚ Because we want our congregational discernment processes to be grounded in the communities in which they each exist, we expect varied, imaginative outcomes by the end of the five-year process.

By sharing and learning with congregations in this unfolding, multi-year discernment process, we aim to design a listening collaborative, using participant stories as an invitation for discernment of the shifting dynamics and relevance of being called throughout the course of life. We aim to promote a generative and thoughtful engagement between the college, congregations, and our wider communities so that the richness of vocation or call may be renewed for Christian persons in manifold and unexpected ways.
During this year’s 61st annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, we held three CLMPI sessions. Watch the sessions in full below:

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If you attended a CLMPI session during GNL, we invite you to take our initial interest survey by clicking here.

CLMPI Centering Questions

  1. What will we learn together?
  2. What will we design together?
  3. How will our designed ministry do justice, love mercy and work humbly in Beloved Community together?


CLMPI Roll-Out Schedule (tentative)

March 21-30th¬†–¬†Initial interest Survey Monkey. Identify congregations, consultants, and colleagues desiring further info.
April 2-21st РPre-application survey to determine congregational needs, capacity
May 1-31st  РReceive Congregational Applications for Cohort One
June 30th РIdentify and Accept Cohort One congregations.
July  РCLMPI team visits to Cohort Congregations
August  РFirst Hub on the Hill convenes at ABC.


Presentation Products

The CLMPI Hub on the Hill ethos is unapologetically centered in Black Church theology, tradition, culture, and futuristic imagination. While our model fosters radical hospitality of thought in receiving and citing sources from other traditions, we will do so while holding space and honor for our ancestral and native narratives.

Each session should produce tangible learning materials designed to be shared by participants in electronic and printed format.  These materials will become a part of the CLMPI resource library and may be made available to futures cohort congregations and program partners.

Ideally, durable learning materials will include:

  • Definitions of key terms and concepts, with source attribution,
  • Clear practical and relevant examples that may be drawn from biblical narrative, current events, lived experience, and/or popular culture, and
  • Pathways for continued study and deeper dives into the topic, including a brief list of recommended readings and web resources of credible references intended for readers ranging from academics, professional practitioners to pew members across multiple generations.

Phyllis Hildreth Leads Innovative Project at American Baptist College

NASHVILLE, TN‚ÄĒ February 28, 2018 ‚ÄĒDr. Forrest E. Harris, President, American Baptist College, announces that experienced, highly-respected Nashville leader, Phyllis D. K. Hildreth, now heads the College’s new “Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose” (CLMPI) Initiative as the recently-appointed Director of Grants Management and Strategic Partnerships. “Phyllis Hildreth brings to this distinctive project her rich background, a unique set of skills, spiritual fervor, and passion for social justice leadership,” said Harris.

American Baptist College (ABC) received a five-year, $1.5 million implementation grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., enabling ABC to create an Innovation Hub engaging two cohorts of diverse congregations from across the Southeast. Under Hildreth’s direction, the initiative launches when 70 congregational representatives gather to participate in an introductory session during ABC’s annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, March 19-21, 2018. Congregations will later be invited to apply for participation in the Innovation Hub.

“American Baptist College continues to be a global source of training for leaders who aspire to have an impact. The result will be increased vitality within diverse congregations, the development of new models for ministry, and an extension of congregational outreach,” said President Harris.

“ABC’s ‚ÄėHub On The Hill’ allows up to 24 congregations to journey together in a five-year process of discerning, defining, and deploying works of calling, living, meaning, and purposefully engaging in ministry. Our cohort-driven, narrative learning-based model takes a three-pronged approach, focusing on (1) leadership; (2) systems design thinking, and (3) the engagement,” said Hildreth.

“Christians will discover and claim God’s calling to lead lives of meaning and purpose. We will help congregations draw on the wisdom of scripture, theological traditions, and particular opportunities for relevant ministry. Cohorts will examine and engage notions of ‚Äėthe call’ and its meaning for the individual, the Church, and for doing justice, loving mercy and serving humbly in community together,” Hildreth added.

Phyllis Hildreth served as associate professor at Lipscomb University, College of Leadership and Public Service.¬† Other prior experience includes roles as Chief Counsel for Administration, Maryland State Office of the Public Defender; Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice; and first Managing Director, Baltimore Juvenile Justice Center.¬† She earned a biology from Harvard University, a J. D. degree from the University of Maryland, and an M.A. in conflict management from Lipscomb University.¬† She was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Baltimore School of Law.¬† During inauguration week activities for her husband, Dr. James E. K. Hildreth (President/CEO, Meharry Medical College) Ms. Hildreth launched the “Falcon Fund,” calling for civic engagement in justice, service, and health.

“We appreciate the continued positive, ongoing relationship between Lilly Endowment, and ABC, a Historically Black College,” Harris concluded. ABC received a $50,000 CLMPI planning grant from the Endowment in early 2017. Prior grants from Lilly Endowment include a $2 million “Vibrant Ministries: Tools for Sustaining Excellence in Pastoral Ministry” award in 2003 plus a $1 million renewal grant. Both led to the design of a unique project engaging ministry students and ABC’s constituency of working pastors.¬† A $1 million Lilly grant and a $200,000 renewal grant (2007-2012) supported the creation of the African American Lectionary.¬† Lectionary resources remain available at

The CLMPI Hub on the Hill ethos is unapologetically centered in Black Church theology, tradition, culture, and futuristic imagination. While our model fosters radical hospitality of thought in receiving and citing sources from other traditions, we will do so while holding space and honor for our ancestral and native narratives.
About the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Lilly Endowment, Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by members of the Lilly family (J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli) through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Gifts of stock in Eli Lilly and Company remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment. Lilly Endowment, Inc. is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the wishes of the three founders, Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

American Baptist College (ABC) is a co-educational, liberal arts college offering bachelor’s degrees and 2-year associate degrees. Located on a historic 53-acre campus overlooking the Cumberland River, a few miles north of downtown Nashville, ABC provides global, 21st-century leadership as one of the nation’s 100+ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). ABC was established in 1924as American Baptist Theological Seminary in an unprecedented collaboration between the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and the Southern Baptist Convention. The first building, Griggs Hall, erected in 1923, was recently added as one of 10 Tennessee stops on the U. S. Civil Rights Trail. The College offers educational and programming opportunities which train predominantly diverse, first-generation students for impactful social justice leadership. While embracing the courageous spirit of our heritage, ABC’s focus today is on preparing students who will create a lasting impact at the community level and on an international scale.


Phyllis D.K. Hildreth, Director of Grants Management and Strategic Partnerships
Telephone: (615) 687-6911