Truett Seminary Receives Lilly Endowment Grant to Improve the Economic Well-Being of Future Ministers

Truett Seminary (Baylor Marketing and Communications photo)
Dec. 4, 2013

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WACO, Texas (Dec. 4, 2013) -- Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary has received a $249,132 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.'s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers.

With personal financial pressures severely limiting the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of too many pastoral leaders, Lilly Endowment created the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. Its 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, and Lilly recently announced that 51 had received grants.

Truett will use its grant award to establish the "Truett Seminary Financial Wellness Program" to meet the needs of its students and alumni. Funding from the grant will be used to host one major conference, "The New Minister Financial Wellness Conference," and three workshops throughout the year to improve the financial education of students and alumni of Truett Seminary. The target group will be seminary students, alumni, and local ministers in Central Texas who are interested in personal and professional financial wellness. These conferences and workshops will prepare seminary students and ministers for the personal and professional financial issues relevant to their careers as ministers.

Additional topics that will be covered at the conferences and workshops include: understanding how financial issues affect you spiritually, emotionally, physically, and theologically; loans and debt issues--comprehending the long-term effects; finances and the church; financial ethics; understanding tax issues relevant to ministers; and how new ministers can understand and negotiate compensation packages.

"Our goal is to help students plan ahead for their careers as ministers as they think critically about relevant financial issues. We will invite a team of experts from the fields of ministry and finance to lead sessions at the conferences and workshops to help us accomplish these goals," said Jo Ann Sharkey, assistant director of student services at Truett.

"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."


Truett provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, the Master of Theological Studies or the Doctor of Ministry degrees that are centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to carry this gospel to the churches and the world. Within the M.Div. degree program, students can choose concentrations in Biblical Studies and Theology, Christian Education, Ministry Leadership, Missions and World Christianity, Worship Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Sports Ministry and Youth/Family/Student Ministry. Truett Seminary also offers three Dual Degree programs - a M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW through a partnership with Baylor's School of Social Work, a M.Div./Master of Music through a partnership with the Baylor's School of Music and a M.Div./MBA through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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