Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has received a $249,992 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. The Seminary is one of 67 theological schools across the country to receive this funding.
Personal financial pressures severely limit the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermine the effectiveness of pastoral leaders. To help address this issue, Lilly Endowment created the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. The initiative’s aim is to encourage theological schools to examine and strengthen their financial and educational practices to improve the economic well-being of future pastors.
“Pastors are indispensable spiritual leaders and guides, and the quality of pastoral leadership is critical to the health and vitality of congregations,” said Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment.
All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada were invited to submit grant proposals. Louisville Seminary will use the funding to implement its Money Matters for Ministry initiative, a three-part program designed to educate students in all areas of fiscal responsibility.
“It is humbling and deeply gratifying that Lilly Endowment continues to support so generously Louisville Seminary's mission, especially as we seek to eliminate student debt through our Covenant For the Future campaign. We want our graduates to serve wherever God calls them,” said Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins.
The grant will provide funding for research into the scope and impact of student debt and the effectiveness of scholarship aid on future ministry, thereby enabling the Seminary to assess the impact of financial aid on students' education and transition to ministry.
It will also fund a pilot program featuring intensive workshops designed to address three basic needs of students preparing to serve in various kinds of ministry. Issues addressed in the workshops will be: personal finance, leading congregations and other organizations in financially healthy ways and managing effective and responsible fundraising campaigns.
Finally, the grant will offer a limited number of stipends to faculty who develop courses exploring social, cultural, theological or practical matters pertaining to money.
“Theological schools play a critical role in preparing pastors and are uniquely positioned to address some of the economic challenges they face,” said Coble. “The Endowment hopes that these grants will support broad efforts to improve the financial circumstances facing pastoral leaders so that pastors can serve their congregations more joyfully and effectively.”
Louisville Seminary Dean Susan R. Garrett led the grant writing team, which also included: Seminary Professors Dianne Reistroffer and Debra Mumford (who will serve as Director of the grant); Steve Cook, the Seminary’s registrar; Kilen Gray, Dean of Students; Cheri Harper, the Seminary’s Director of Recruitment and Admissions; Betsy Northrup, an independent grant-writing consultant; Margaret Pennington, Director of Planning, Evaluation, & Consultation at REACH Evaluation and April Stepney, the Seminary’s Financial Aid Coordinator.
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