Home / News / Church & Ministry / Area groups receive part of $92 million Lilly Endowment grant
groups million
Photo: Pexels.

Area groups receive part of $92 million Lilly Endowment grant

Dozens of Christian groups seeking to instill faith in the nation’s children have been given grants of as much as $1.25 million to help them meet their mission.

Lilly Endowment, through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative, recently approved a total of $92 million for 77 organizations — including denominations, local congregations and regional districts of national church groups — as they seek to create or expand home-based programs and parent networks that will nurture the spiritual growth of young people.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion, in a statement announcing the grants. “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.”

The grant recipients include a range of faith groups that represent people of different branches of Christianity, including from a diversity of racial and ethnic groups, as well as educational institutions. Most of the programs will start later this year, with funding intended to support the first five years of their work.

Regional recipients include Church of the Nazarene in Lenexa, Kan., College of the Ozarks in Branson, Foundation for Inclusive Education in Kansas City, Mo., and the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Mo.

The initiative seeks innovative ways to engage children in lives of faith, inside and outside of church buildings. During the height of COVID-19, many of the traditional methods of children’s ministry — Sunday school, vacation Bible school, confirmation classes, baptisms — disappeared or were adapted. In the aftermath, parents and church leaders continue to grapple with the best ways forward for discipling children in their homes and congregations.

In its request for proposals, Lilly Endowment noted the finding of the National Study of Youth and Religion about the outsized role parents have on influencing the religious practices, beliefs and values of their children. The finding “underscores the importance for churches and other Christian organizations to provide support and guidance to interested parents as they navigate the challenges of raising children today,” according to Lilly Endowment.

Access to Metro Voice content is free.  However, we hope you will support our work with your prayers and financial gifts.  To make a donation, click here.

The Rev. Rubén Ortiz, director of national programs for Esperanza, said his Philadelphia-based organization, which seeks to strengthen Hispanic faith-based organizations, will use its $1.25 million grant to expand services to help families and caregivers share their values and faith with their children. It plans to focus on equipping parents by holding “train-the-trainer” events for at least 200 congregational leaders at predominantly Hispanic churches in its region.

“Whether it’s fragmentation, technological advances or spirituality, we need to refresh the traditional approaches to our faith,” Ortiz told Religion News Service. “We spent several months learning more deeply about child and adolescent development, parenting styles, attachment theory, family systems and so on, with an emphasis on faith development.”

The Assemblies of God says the grant will have tremendous impact in the coming years.

“There are nearly 13,000 churches [in the Assemblies of God] and 3 million constituents, of whom 31% are under the age of 18,” says Doug Clay, AG general superintendent. “The future of the Church is bright if we continue to follow the Holy Spirit and work together to disciple the next generation in the authentic faith. Supporting families as they raise children and youth to know how to follow Jesus, as revealed in Scripture, will create enduring faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Judith Cebula, Lilly Endowment’s communications director, said the June grantees follow an initial 22 organizations that received grants in 2022, bringing the total funded to more than $124 million.

“We are especially interested in efforts that nurture the religious lives of children, youth and young adults and that share the beauty and vibrancy of Christian faith with a new generation,” she told RNS in a statement.

–Religion News Service |  Used with permission

Photo: Pexels.com

Leave a Reply