McCormick Theological Seminary and the Center for Innovative Ministry launch Third Annual McCormick Prize for Innovation Contest

McCormick Theological Seminary and the Center for Innovative Ministry are pleased to announce the Third Annual McCormick Prize for Innovation. Center Director Rev. Dr. Thomas Dickelman, a McCormick graduate (’83, ’91), Founding Pastor of the Community Church of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff and Director of the Center for Innovative Ministry offered, “Entrants the last two years have confirmed there are many wonderfully innovative programs and ministries throughout the United States. The Prize provides an opportunity for us to raise the profile of innovation in the church, as well as recognize and reward the wonderful work that’s being done.”

Prize contestants must submit a 250-word online entry that includes the name and description of the ministry, as well as its impact. The contest runs from February 2 through April 5, and participants may submit multiple entries. Winners will be notified on Wednesday, April 19. First Prize is $5,000, second place receives $1,500, and third, $500. To enter, click here; for more information, contact Lisa Dagher (

“In addition,” Dickelman adds, “at the end of the contest we will place all entries online, growing our online database of successful ministry innovations as a resource for church leaders nationwide.”

Former winners include, Ryan Althaus, leader of Kentucky-based Sweaty Sheep Ministries in 2025, and last year, Rev. Allen Brimer and Rev. Ben Johnston-Krase, McCormick alumni and founders of Farm Church, a new worshipping community of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) based in Durham, North Carolina.

Farm Church’s mission is to gather a Christ-centered community around elements of soil and food, to break bread together, and to leverage all the resources of a farm to address food insecurity in our community. Dickelman stated, “Rev. Allen Brimer and Rev. Ben Johnston-Krase had the vision to develop a niche worshipping community addressing food insecurity. Their ministry is what innovation is all about – solving problems and creating opportunities.”

2017 contest entries will be received beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2017 through Thursday, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Winners will be notified prior to a public announcement on Monday, April 19, 2017. 


About McCormick

McCormick Theological Seminary is one of 12 schools related to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The seminary, located among the Hyde Park cluster of theological schools, including the University of Chicago, is affiliated with the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). A progressive leader in the Reformed tradition, McCormick equips, encourages, challenges, and energizes diverse women and men of all denominations hungry for a more just world and on fire to participate and lead in its Holy transformation. We are committed to rigorous academic study, practical experience, spiritual formation and community life, advancing a model that is cross-cultural, urban, and ecumenical.

About the Center for Innovative Ministry  

Founded in 2013, The Center for Innovative Ministry is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit ministry, located in Lake Bluff, Ill., dedicated to helping clergy and church leaders solve problems and create opportunities through innovative thinking and action. The center offers workshops, consultations, and online resources toward our goal of “Inspiring Solutions.” In addition, the Center has developed an online database of McCormick Innovation Prize entries, and works with church leaders starting new worshiping communities through its “Innovative Scholar” program.” For more information about the Center for Innovative Ministry, visit

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