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Milligan receives $1 million grant to establish the Ministry Resource Center

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Oct. 16, 2018) — Milligan College’s Emmanuel Christian Seminary will establish the Ministry Resource Center thanks to a nearly $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.

The $999,863 grant to Milligan is part of Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative.

Emmanuel’s proposed Ministry Resource Center will provide the seminary with state-of-the-art tools for placing and supporting its graduates in ministry positions, particularly within the Independent Christian Churches of the Restoration Movement, the church tradition with which the seminary is affiliated.

Emmanuel has prepared men and women to serve the Independent Christian Churches for over 50 years and since 2015 has been part of Milligan College, a college that has served these churches since 1866. Defined by their congregations’ independence, the Christian Churches have no denominational hierarchy to assist ministers transitioning between churches.

Emmanuel’s Ministry Resource Center aims to meet this challenge by developing a placement program that will work with congregations to ensure that an incoming pastor’s gifts and skills align with the needs of the congregation. Furthermore, the center will offer more tools to both new and veteran ministers during times of transition.

Additionally, the resource center will establish a mentoring program that connects recent seminary graduates with seasoned ministers. As seminary graduates enter new congregations, often far from their existing support networks, they will have access to counsel and a larger support system for their first three to five years of ministry.

Emmanuel also seeks to provide a series of annual retreats that offer a time of renewal for established ministers. These retreats will allow small groups to gather and learn from Emmanuel faculty, so they may return to their ministries with a fresh perspective on their call.

“More than ever before, churches need effective ministers and as one of the premier seminaries for the Christian Churches, Emmanuel is well positioned to help its congregations meet this need,” said Dr. Rollin Ramsaran, academic dean of the seminary.

The Lilly Endowment grant is the second million-dollar gift received by Milligan’s School of Bible and Ministry in 2018. Previously, the college received a $1 million gift from First Christian Church in Johnson City, Tennessee, to establish the Ministry Leadership Program for undergraduate students.

“The Ministry Resource Center, in alliance with Milligan’s new Ministry Leadership Program, guarantees that the next generation of women and men in ministry are not only well prepared, but supported in their calling,” said President Dr. Bill Greer.

Milligan is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grantmaking priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.

“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including the Ministry Resource Center at Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr.—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state Indiana. Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.

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MILLIGAN COLLEGE is a Christian liberal arts college in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The college offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan College, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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