Grand View Receives Compelling Teaching Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

October 11, 2023

Grand View University has received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Iowa Preachers Project. 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.

With the Iowa Preachers Project, Grand View University has the opportunity to convene cohorts of clergy and lay preachers to sharpen the church’s proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Partnering with the University will be 1517 and Mockingbird, two groups with international reach that produce materials for the contemporary church. Each year the Project will work with participants to focus on both the content and delivery of the gospel message, as well as explore ways of communicating it in the digital world.

Dr. Ken Sundet Jones, the Gerhard O. Forde Professor of Church History and Theology at Grand View, who will direct the Project, says, “In an era when denominations hold far less sway, it’s crucial to support our public proclaimers of the gospel, so that the Good News continues to be heard. It’s an honor to join with our partners to do just that.”

Grand View University 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.