AU SOT Receives Grant to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers

 In All Church of God, Colleges & Universities


The Anderson University School of Theology has received a grant of $248,772 as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. It is one of 67 theological schools across the country to receive this funding.

Personal financial pressures are severely limiting the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of too many 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.

All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada were invited to submit grant proposals. The Anderson University School of Theology will use its funding to enhance its historic connection with the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.) and its graduate students preparing for ministry.

“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.

“Theological schools play a critical role in preparing pastors and are uniquely positioned to address some of the economic challenges they face,” Coble said. “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,” said Coble.

“We are hopeful as never before to discover causes and provide solutions regarding student debt,” said Dr. David Sebastian dean of the Anderson University School of Theology. “This grant will afford the seminary opportunities to help pastors and congregations create viable pathways for sustainable futures.”

“The Lilly Endowment has a strong record investing in strong faith communities,” said Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries. “The Church of God on a global scale—and the larger Christian community—will be strengthened by this grant, empowering curricula and training for graduate students pursuing the ministry.  The grant uniquely targets financial education, helping clergy understand how to navigate the complex challenges that money, both personally and professionally, can present.  We are proud of the university’s School of Theology and its holistic approach to graduate study and thankful for the Lily Endowment’s confidence in the work done there.”

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 J.K. Jr. and Eli —through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. More information can be found at

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America’s top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.

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