Church of South India : Institute of Pastoral Management

THE CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA (CSI): INSTITUTE OF PASTORAL MANAGEMENT

The Institute of Pastoral Management (IPM) is the flagship programme of the Church of South India’s Department of Pastoral Concerns. The IPM aims to equip church leaders with the tools they need to make them more effective in their ministries. USPG has been supporting this programme since 2015.

The idea behind the IPM is to equip church leaders with a range of practical skills they will need on the job, alongside the theological training they already have. Ministers who atttend learn time management, finance management, how to manage human resources, IT, personality development and strategies for dealing with stress. The programme is held in two phases and participants are required to complete both. Training workshops are held at the CSI’s Synod headquarters in Chennai, and participants come from all of the CSI’s 23 dioceses.

Participants gain insights on administration, finance management, legislation and personality development that are essential for effective pastoral care. Parishioners in the local congregations these participants serve benefit too; whatever new insights the participants acquire is passed on to their congregations in the form of sermons, Bible studies, community mobilisation, counselling and workshops. In 2019, 82 participants received training at the IPM in finance management, admin skills and HR. Those 82 clergy members represent thousands of parishioners, so the training the IPM offers has the potential to affect thousands of lives indirectly: not just the congregation members themselves, but also the communities they live in.

Ministers who have gone through the IPM process have been glowing in their praise, describing it as ‘a wonderful experience’. ‘I had never read the Bible from a management perspective before,’ one enthusiastic participant said. ‘We have resources but did not know how to use them,’ said another. ‘Through the leadership training, we gained knowledge on how to use the resources the church has.’