Asbury Theological Seminary has received a grant of $1,225,460 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help develop and implement a learning community titled, “Growing Families,” using digital teaching resources, experiential learning at home, and small group accountability.

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children. With the funds awarded under this grant, Asbury Seminary will develop a gospel-centered, Wesleyan-rich, research-based family program that includes spiritual practices as a means of grace, digital resources for parent-led discipleship, small group accountability, and family gatherings to create the right environment for parents and caregivers to pass on the Christian faith to their children.

“Asbury Seminary Family Formation leaders look forward to developing this program that will guide student families as they learn, adapt, and embrace Wesleyan, time-honored, biblical practices in order that they may ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 3:18),” said Laura Hunter, Program Director for the grant.

Dr. Matt Barnes, Vice President of Formation at Asbury Seminary, said, “We here at Asbury Theological Seminary deeply value the families of our students, desiring to see their children grow in the knowledge of the Lord and in the practice of following Him. And our hope is that the parents who are involved with this ‘Growing Families’ initiative will take what they’ve learned and experienced here into the areas of ministry for which they are being trained, whether the local church, the counseling office, the mission field, the nonprofit sector, or anywhere else.”

Asbury Seminary is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the Christian Parenting initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

“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. “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.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well, passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

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. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking 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 Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.