OCTOBER 12, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
REYNOLDSBURG, OHIO. The Christian and Missionary Alliance (The Alliance) has received a grant of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish its Lay Preacher Certificate Program. The program is designed to train and deploy a pool of ethnically diverse lay preachers who will serve in volunteer or bi-vocational roles in new and existing Alliance churches throughout the United States.
Program objectives include seeing a minimum of 300 new lay preachers graduate from our training programs, increasing the number of non-English speaking credentialed workers in the U.S. C&MA, and leveraging emerging artificial intelligence technologies to overcome traditional barriers to education, such as cost and language.
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.
The Alliance vice president for Church Ministries Terry Smith commented, “We are thrilled and thankful to receive this grant from Lilly Endowment and look forward with great anticipation to seeing all kinds of people in The Alliance equipped to better communicate the Word of God in their context.”
The Alliance 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. 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.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. The Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion through grantmaking. Its desire is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance (The Alliance) began in 1881 when founder Dr. A.B. Simpson birthed a vision to bring the gospel to New York City’s immigrant populations. Simpson’s passion to reach peoples of every tribe, tongue, and nation exploded into a global movement with a current presence in more than 90 countries worldwide. Today, on any given Sunday, 38 languages are spoken in U.S. Alliance churches.
Dr. Steve Grusendorf
Director, Alliance Center for Leadership Development