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Engaging students, congregations, & partners in solutions Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

INTRODUCTION Lexington Theological Seminary’s “Conversations on Stewardship and Finances” project engages with partners, students, and congregations to help address the increasing economic challenges facing future ministers. This three-year project seeks to address financial literacy, improve institutional practices, and research the implications of bivocational ministry. The project is guided by three goals. The first two goals focus on financial literacy and institutional practices, while the third goal focuses on a research project with bi-vocational ministers in Kentucky.

Goal I - Conversations with Organizational Leaders

Influence the larger conversation between undergraduate and graduate theological institutions regarding financial literacy, student debt, and the cost of higher education.


LTS is partnering with the Council of Colleges and Universities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)* and Phillips Theological Seminary to convene a working group of presidents, administrators, and faculty to explore the challenges of financing a college education and a graduate theological education for students interested in ministry.


• Conversation group meets six times over a two-year span to focus on the strategic issues which impact and influence decisions related to college financing. • Reports detailing deliberations, conclusions, and recommendations are shared with the appropriate governing boards of each partner, and with the Council of Theological Education and Higher Education Leadership Ministries, and also at regional and general *The presidents of the14 colleges and universities in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are members of the Council.


assemblies of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). • Guiding conversation questions: o What can we do about the issue of student debt? o Are there places undergraduate and graduate schools could have influence on this issue in the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)? o What scholarships and other institutional aid are available for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) students enrolled at CC (DoC) undergraduate and graduate theological institutions? o What have we learned from each other? o What are the unique challenges associated with financing a churchrelated education?

Goal II - Conversations with Students

Enhance and enrich efforts to educate LTS students about biblical stewardship and the implications of consumer and student loan debt on their ministries


LTS is building upon existing practices in student services and the academic program by supporting enhanced knowledge for staff and strengthening the conversations and documents used with students.


• Financial planning documents are developed that incorporate traditional budgeting, as well as clergy specific concerns, i.e., social security off-set, compensation scenarios, and retirement planning.


• Director of Financial Aid acquires necessary training through professional conferences, training events, and continuing education courses. • Director of Financial Aid engages in enhanced conversations and counseling with students about stewardship and financial planning. • Students evaluate the financial planning documents and the counseling sessions.

Goal III - Conversations with Congregations and Pastors

Conduct research to understand the implications of bi-vocational ministry on the choices and financial viability of clergy and congregations

Strategies LTS is partnering with the Christian Church In Kentucky to identify congregations and clergy with the most potential to benefit from participation in the project. 3 | CONVERSATIONS ON STEWARDSHIP & FINANCES ENGAGING STUDENTS, CONGREGATIONS, & PARTNERS IN SOLUTIONS

Research Interests • What are the implications for one’s long-term financial stability as a pastor? • How does the congregation’s understanding of its history, practices, and current cultural realities influence church decision-making related to seeking and calling a pastor? • In what ways does this understanding of the congregation influence stewardship? • In what ways does the congregation’s understanding of stewardship influence church decision-making related to the church’s budget and clergy compensation? • In what ways does participation in this project influence congregational attitudes and accountability about stewardship matters?


Partners Christian Church In Kentucky Council of Colleges and Universities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)* Culver-Stockton College Eureka College Phillips Theological Seminary

Project Leadership Director Rev. Kristen P. Bentley Project Assistant Ms. Deena G. Ainslie Institutional Leadership Dr. Charisse L. Gillett President, Lexington Theological Seminary

About Lilly Endowment Inc. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J. K. Lilly Sr. and sons J. K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. More information can be found at

For more information, please contact:

Rev. Kristen P. Bentley Ms. Deena G. Ainslie

230 Lexington Green Circle, Suite 300 Lexington, KY 40503 (859) 280-1212 Fax: (859) 281-6042

The presidents of the 14 colleges and universities in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are members of the Council; these institutions include Barton College, Bethany College, Chapman College, Columbia College, Culver-Stockton College, Drury University, Eureka College, Hiram College, Jarvis Christian College, Lynchburg College, William Woods University, Midway College, Texas Christian University, and Transylvania University.

HISTORY OF LEXINGTON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY Lexington Theological Seminary is the oldest professional ministerial school related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Seminary dates its founding from 1865 when it was The College of the Bible, one of several colleges of Kentucky University (later Transylvania University). The Seminary acquired its own charter in 1878. The College of the Bible occupied buildings on the campus of Kentucky University until 1950. At its centennial in 1965, The College of the Bible was renamed Lexington Theological Seminary. In 1936 the College of the Bible began requiring an undergraduate degree for admission. Two years later the Seminary played a leading role in the formation of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, the official accrediting agency of theological institutions. The Seminary also established the first chair of religious education in the nation, instituted one of the first courses on the ecumenical church, and was the first seminary in the United States to offer clinical pastoral training as a part of its curriculum. Lexington Theological Seminary strives to prepare faithful leaders for the church of Jesus Christ, and, thus, to strengthen the church’s participation in God’s mission for the world. In 2013 The Board adopted four strategic imperatives: academic excellence and relevance; financial equilibrium and growth; sustenance of pastors in ministry; and cultivation and development of a quality place to study and work. It is through this lens that the Board affirms the vision, mission, and core values of the institution and attempts to honor the best of its traditions, while charting a new path as an online, congregation-based Seminary. This new model provides access to a rigorous theological education to those previously unable to respond to a call to ministry and in effect, introduces LTS to a new generation of Disciples and ecumenical partners.

Lexington Theological Seminary 230 Lexington Green Circle, Suite 300 Lexington, KY 40503


Lilly Grant program brochure

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