ANDERSON — 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.
Anderson University was among five Indiana schools and 67 theological schools across the country to receive this funding.
Lilly Endowment said research indicates that student educational debt in excess of $30,000 is not uncommon for seminary graduates, and some students are graduating from seminary with loans of more than $100,000. The financial pressures caused by these debt levels may limit the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermine the effectiveness of many pastoral leaders.
To 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.
The AU School of Theology will use its funding to enhance its historic connection with the Church of God 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.
“We are hopeful as never before to discover causes and provide solutions regarding student debt,” said 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 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," said Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries. "The grant uniquely targets financial education, helping clergy understand how to navigate the complex challenges that money, both personally and professionally, can present.”
Five Indiana theological schools received Lilly Endowment grants to address economic issues facing future ministers. They are: Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, $248324 Anderson University School of Theology, Anderson, $248,772 Bethany Theological Seminary, Richmond, $249,954 Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, $250,000 Earlham School of Religion, Richmond, $249,948