Truett Seminary at Baylor University Receives $500,000 Lilly Endowment Grant to Strengthen Preaching

Truett Seminary receives grant to strengthen the teaching of preaching. (Baylor University photo)
Jan. 23, 2015

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WACO, Texas (Jan. 23, 2015) — Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary has been awarded a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of the Endowment’s “Initiative to Strengthen the Quality of Preaching.”

The grant will fund two initiatives at Truett Seminary. The first involves new pedagogical approaches in the instruction of preaching. Through the use of a peer-coaching model, the student coaches who already have had coursework in preaching will be assigned to work with small groups in each class. The model is a fundamental shift in how the seminary teaches preaching. Coaching will make small-group work the primary in-class activity, creating a highly participatory educational experience for students.

The second initiative focuses on peer learning opportunities for seminary graduates who are serving in congregations. In particular, this initiative is designed for those who would like to develop their preaching skills while deepening their understanding of the preaching task. Pastors will commit to a two-year intensive program in a peer learning group led by a preaching coach. Each group will meet four times a year to assess their own preaching and to receive feedback from others. These groups will work through recent literature related to preaching. In addition, participants will be invited to two retreats focused on preaching and worship.

“Truett Seminary seeks to prepare ministers who will proclaim, both faithfully and effectively, the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Dennis Tucker, Ph.D., interim dean of Truett. “This grant provides significant funding so that we can expand our work with students and extend our reach to those currently serving in congregations.”

Two Truett faculty members — Hulitt Gloer, Ph.D., professor of Christian Scriptures, and Joel Gregory, Ph.D., professor of preaching — will oversee significant portions of the project. “Both professors have extensive experience as practitioners of preaching and are beloved teachers of preaching at Truett,” Tucker said.

Truett Seminary continues to make preaching a major focus within its curriculum and within the larger institutional life. Truett’s Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching offers extracurricular events that focus on preaching, including a Festival of Preaching each semester, sabbatical opportunities for pastors and continuing education.


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 16,000 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 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary 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 four Dual Degree programs – an M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW through a partnership with Baylor’s School of Social Work, an M.Div./Master of Music through a partnership with the Baylor’s School of Music, an M.Div./MBA through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, and an M.Div./J.D. degree through a partnership with Baylor’s School of Law. Visit to learn more.

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