Baylor receives grant to help launch Truett Seminary project

State & Regional

WACO, Texas – Baylor University has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help the University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary launch the Future Church Project.

This project is co-directed by Truett faculty Angela Gorrell, Ph.D., and Dustin Benac, Th.D., and is designed to respond to the expressed needs and challenges of the church through relational engagement, research and resourcing.

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative – a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations, both now and into the future.

The Future Church Project will connect the Seminary’s Program for the Future Church, the Truett Church Network and local nonprofit organization Mission Waco to achieve five stated goals:

  1. Discovering and addressing current and emerging challenges that confront local churches while cultivating collaboration between Truett, the church and the community.
  2. Building collaborative, interdisciplinary hubs for research around the challenges facing the church.
  3. Creating a culture of experimentation and exploration of alternative modalities for theological education and leadership development.
  4. Nurturing and enlivening the souls and work of early-career ministers.
  5. Increasing Truett’s financial sustainability through innovative fundraising and recruitment efforts.

With a focus on forward-thinking strategies and initiatives, the Future Church Project will strengthen Truett Seminary’s capacity to prepare and support pastors and congregational lay ministers into the future. The project also will support collaborative and interdisciplinary research across Baylor University – engaging researchers in order to understand and pilot solutions to the complex challenges facing local communities and Christian leaders.

Truett Seminary is one of 84 theological schools which will benefit from a total of more than $82 million in grants through the second phase of the Pathways initiative. Together, the schools represent evangelical, mainline Protestant, nondenominational, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Black church and historic peace church traditions (e.g., Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Quakers). Many schools also serve students and pastors from Black, Latino, Korean American, Chinese American and recent immigrant Christian communities.

Lilly Endowment launched the Pathways initiative in January 2021 because of its longstanding interest in supporting efforts to enhance and sustain the vitality of Christian congregations by strengthening the leadership capacities of pastors and congregational lay leaders. 

Source: Baylor University

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