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Students at commencement

The Learning Preacher

A Lilly Endowment grant

In 2015, Luther Seminary received a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., to support a four-year project called The Learning Preacher: Instilling a Trajectory of Lifelong Homiletical Instruction. The Endowment is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation that supports the causes of religion, education and community development. The grant will be directed at Luther Seminary by Dr. Karoline Lewis.

According to Lewis, associate professor of biblical preaching and Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Homiletics at Luther Seminary, the grant funds will be used to identify and implement a variety of enhanced learning opportunities for those who want to preach more effectively.

"We intend to use this generous grant to help us design and offer a spectrum of resources that preachers need throughout their pastoral ministry," Lewis said. "Current students, recent graduates and seasoned preachers will all be enriched by the outcomes of this initiative. We are thankful to the Endowment for making this exciting opportunity possible for us."

The Endowment's support for Luther Seminary's work with seminarians and pastors is part of its commitment nationwide to foster excellence in seminary education and the development of programs that support clergy. Luther Seminary's project will provide instructional resources for pastors at three points in their homiletical development:

  • seminary instruction;
  • first call theological education; and
  • lifelong learning for pastors who have been in ministry for seven or more years.

This will help preachers find relevant support and educational resources from Luther Seminary that will enhance their preaching skills.

"I believe the Endowment selected Luther Seminary as a recipient of this grant because of our demonstrated commitment to preaching," Lewis said. "We are known for our strength in homiletics instruction and for our preaching resources on our website, In addition, we present the Festival of Homiletics and the Celebration of Biblical Preaching events each year, both of which draw hundreds of people to learn and discuss ways in which they can improve the quality of their preaching."