$1 Million Lilly Grant to Billy Graham Center to Help Leaders for Revitalization Through Evangelism

By Christoffer Lukas Müller [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

The generous grant will bring the Church Evangelism Initiative to life.

A $1 million dollar grant has been given to Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center. The money was provided to make possible the desired Church Evangelism Initiative. The grant was part of Thriving in Ministry, a Lilly Endowment Incorporated initiative. Lily Endowment itself makes approximately $70 million via Thriving in Ministry.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic entity created in 1937. J.K Lilly Sr. and his sons J.K Jr. and Eli gifted stocks of their pharmaceutical business to make this happen. The endowment and the company are separate entities.

The Thriving in Ministry supports a number of religious organizations all over the United States by creating programs and subsequently building them. The latter assists pastors and the experienced clergy to make relationships. The clergy could serve as mentors. It would then guide them through a number of important leadership challenges in the congregational ministry.

The Billy Graham Center is one of the 78 organizations established in 29 states which participate in this initiative. These organizations mirror diverse Christian traditions like Orthodox Christian, evangelical Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Thriving in Ministry is a component of grantmaking by Lilly Endowment to make robust the pastoral leadership of American Christian congregations. This continues to be a priority action at Lilly Endowment. The operation has continued for approximately 25 years.

Billy Graham put it succinctly about Wheaton College's Billy Graham Center: it is a global hub when it comes to evangelism and related training. The Center is now playing an important role in the revitalization of churches. The aim of all these efforts is to set up a significant number of churches all over the United States and develop communities where people can find a path to Christ. Disciples of Christ will be properly equipped and mobilized to make new disciples and continue to reach them.

The Church Evangelism Initiative was extremely successful during the last three years. It has led revitalization efforts across senior leaders manning 120 churches over seven states. With continued support from Thriving in Ministry, the success of Church Evangelism Initiative will significantly grow to include pastors into the pastor cohorts comprising any number from six pastors to 10 pastors each for mutual support, peer mentoring, and problem-solving. The pastors, as a result of such actions, will prosper in their respective congregational relationship. The vitality of the congregation they serve will also be increased.

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