Students at commencement

Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers

A Lilly Endowment grant

Personal financial pressures are severely limiting the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of too many pastoral leaders.  To help address this issue, Lilly Endowment created the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers.  The initiative’s aim is to encourage theological schools to examine and strengthen their financial and educational practices to improve the economic well-being of future pastors.

All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada were invited to submit grant proposals.  Luther Seminary will use its funding to pursue a variety of projects to study both the causes and the potential solutions to personal financial pressures. The projects will range from reviewing the impact of education debt to finding ways to increase support and financial education.

“Luther Seminary has a long history of addressing student financial wellness, particularly in helping students understand and manage their debt,” said Rick Foss, president of Luther Seminary. “This grant will allow us to expand on our past efforts and continue to enhance the financial well-being of our graduates and their congregations.”

“Pastors are indispensable spiritual leaders and guides, and the quality of pastoral leadership is critical to the health and vitality of congregations,” said Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment.

“Theological schools play a critical role in preparing pastors and are uniquely positioned to address some of the economic challenges they face,” Coble said.  “The Endowment hopes that these grants will support broad efforts to improve the financial circumstances facing pastoral leaders so that pastors can serve their congregations more joyfully and effectively,” said Coble.

Gerry Rafftery, Senior Philanthropic Adviser in Seminary Relations, is the grant’s lead coordinator.