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Milligan receives $1.2 million Lilly Endowment Grant to establish Center for Preaching

MILLIGAN, Tenn. (Oct. 9, 2023) – Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Milligan University a grant of $1,201,100 to help strengthen and expand the preparation, support and development of engaging and effective preaching. These funds will also help establish a Center for Preaching at the university.

The program is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that inspires, encourages and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for providing this crucial support which will enable us to further prepare and equip future preachers for service to the Kingdom,” said Dr. Bill Greer, president of Milligan University. “The funds will enable us not only to cultivate future preachers but also to assist and encourage preachers at every level of experience throughout their careers.”

The new Center for Preaching will strive to benefit Independent Christian Churches nationally with a particular focus on more than 350 Independent Christian Churches located within 100 miles of the university. The new center will partner with the university’s existing undergraduate Ministry Leadership Program and the seminary’s Ministry Resource Center to foster compelling preaching in a variety of different ministry settings.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from Lilly Endowment,” said Dr. Ron Kastens, academic dean of Emmanuel. “This grant, focused on Compelling Preaching, will enable us to create a Center for Preaching that will serve both our students and preachers in our region and around the country. Milligan and Emmanuel have a rich history of equipping preachers, and this grant will provide us the opportunity to strengthen and expand our service to churches.”

Milligan is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in the Black Church and in Hispanic and Asian American Christian traditions.

“Throughout history, preachers often have needed to adapt their preaching practices to engage new generations of hearers more effectively,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We are pleased that the organizations receiving grants in this initiative will help pastors and others in ministry engage in the kinds of preaching needed today to ensure that the gospel message is heard and accessible for all audiences.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Compelling Preaching Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.  

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

Posted by Greer, Allie E on October 9, 2023.