SPIRE Cohort – Assess Your Poverty Alleviation Efforts for Greater Impact

Matt Miller

SPIRE Cohort – Assess Your Poverty Alleviation Efforts for Greater Impact

Monday, August 30, 2021

Online via Zoom


A unique learning cohort that leverages the Lupton Center’s SPIRE Assessment and Send Me’s relationships and ability to provide ongoing coaching. The SPIRE Assessment helps churches and nonprofits who are serving people experiencing material poverty explore the health of their current model and makes recommendations for a healthier, more impactful future.  Application Deadline – Monday, August 30th.

*Note*  Please read all the way to the bottom for HOW TO APPLY and other next steps.

What is the SPIRE Assessment and this cohort all about?

The SPIRE Assessment, developed by the Lupton Center, helps churches and organizations who are working to address material poverty, examine the health of their ministry model and makes recommendations for a healthier and more impactful future.

Send Me has worked with the Lupton Center to create a unique learning cohort.  Multiple ministries from the St. Louis region will go through the assessment independently with Lupton Center staff and also gather with Send Me and others to discuss the experience along the way.  This offering is the final installment in Send Me’s Healthy Community Engagement training sequence and is intended for those who are ready to dig into their current model and make the necessary changes.

Why is Send Me working to facilitate this cohort?

  • We have trained on these topics for quite a while, but need to make a more concerted effort to help churches/organizations:
    • Move towards action
    • Properly assess and diagnose their current efforts before reimagining them for the future
    • Experience the necessary structure and accountability for change
    • Experience community with other like-minded leaders and organizations who are pursuing healthier ministry models

Who is a good fit?

  • Church or organization that is actively engaged in some sort of poverty alleviation ministry or community engagement effort that is serving those “in need” or “those on the margins”.
    • Ministry examples include: food pantry, thrift store, jobs ministry, efforts to connect with youth – after school programs, violence prevention, etc., case management, community development efforts,  homeless ministry, and anyone working to address material poverty who wants to see greater impact.
  • Not for the lone ranger – this process will force you to engage a variety of stakeholders.  The desire to change, which might originate with the leader, needs to be able to get sufficient traction with other leaders, volunteers, participants, etc. for this process to be effective.

What is provided by the Lupton Center?

The following will be provided by Lupton Center staff via Zoom:

  • Launch Meeting:  1-4 people from each church/organization will spend 2.5 hours with staff from the Lupton Center via Zoom kicking off the SPIRE assessment (all participating entities will gather together at the same time).
  • Access to ALL THREE SPIRE SURVEYS:  Participating churches/organizations will have access to the 3 surveys – 1) leaders, 2) participants, and 3) stakeholders – volunteers, community partners, etc.
  • Survey Support Calls:  Churches and organizations can touch base with Lupton Center staff regarding any questions they have about the surveys – 1 call per church/organization (1 hour).
  • Interviews: Lupton Center staff will interview 1 person from each survey for deeper understanding.  There will be a total of 3 calls, each lasting 1 hour.
  • SPIRE Analysis Report and Data Highlights:  Lupton Center staff will produce a report for each church/organization.  
  • SPIRE Analysis Presentation:  Lupton Center staff will deliver a presentation to each church/organization lasting approximately 4 hours.  
  • Annual Membership:  The leader from each participating church/organization will have access to all the Lupton Center’s paid resources for a year.
  • 90-Day Group Coaching:  Approximately 90 days after all churches/organizations have completed the assessment process, Lupton Center staff will connect with the whole cohort for a two-hour check-in, looking to process how it went and where each ministry is headed.

 What is provided by Send Me St. Louis?

  • Send Me will check-in with participating churches and organizations and may look to convene leaders for shared learning.


  • APPLICATION DEADLINEApplications must be submitted to Send Me St. Louis by Monday, August 30th.
  • START – Churches/organizations, working with the Lupton Center, would start the SPIRE 360º process in early fall.
  • COMPLETE – The goal would be to wrap up the process, concluding with the SPIRE Analysis Presentation delivered by the Lupton Center by the end of 2021.
  • Follow-up coaching/check-in facilitated by Send Me: January – March 2022
  • 90-Day group coaching with the Lupton Center – sometime in late March/early April 2022

What does it cost?

  • Total cost – $3,250 ($1,625 after grant – see below)

Is financial aid available?

  • YES! Your church or organization can complete a short application to receive a grant from Lutheran Foundation for 50% of the cost.  Additional subsidy may be available – see the application.

Calls to Action | What do I do if I am interested?

  1. Learn more
    • View the Lupton Center’s SPIRE Course. Use code SMSTLOUIS for free access. This course will provide an overview of the assessment.
    • RECENT WEBINARCLICK HERE to view our August 4th webinar, which featured Matt Miller of Send Me and Dr. Shawn Duncan from The Lupton Center.  The webinar explored the structure and substance of both the cohort and the SPIRE Assessment.
  2. Share this information with others – CLICK HERE for all the pertinent details and FAQs in PDF format.
  3. Fill out an application
    • CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION – after submitting the application, you will have a call with Matt Miller, Executive Director of Send Me, to determine if the cohort is a good fit.