Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has received a grant of $1.079 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to launch the Preaching for a Post-Christian Age Program, with the intent of creating new modes of preaching and developing more effective preachers for a post-Christian age. Through a collaborative theological learning community, students will explore how preaching can reshape the theological imagination of a congregation, so it can bear witness to the good news of God in new and compelling ways.

The effort is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that better inspires, encourages, and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

This 12-month program will bring a cohort of pastors to campus four times per year for intensive spiritual formation and vocation discernment, classroom and contextual learning, and structured experiments and capstone projects. Courses will focus on listening and learning, missional discernment, adaptive experiments in communications, and human-centered project design. Students will engage in shared spiritual practices and coaching throughout. The Seminary will host five cohorts over five years. Lessons learned through the cohorts will inform the Seminary’s master’s and doctor of ministry curricula, and spur conferences and publications. 

“The Preaching for a Post-Christian Age Program will deepen the partnerships we have already formed to convene established and emerging preaching in peer-learning cohorts to engage in contextual analysis, vocational and missional discernment, and adaptive experiments in communication to encourage more effective proclamation, ” said the Rev. Dr. Asa J. Lee, president of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. “We believe one aim of faithful preaching is the equipping of the whole Christian community for vibrant witness in the context where they find themselves, responding to God’s claim through deep listening to Scripture and to neighbor.” 

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is one of 142 organizations that are receiving grants through the Compelling Preaching 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.

About Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Rooted in the Reformed tradition and in relationship with Christ-followers from other traditions, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary forms and equips people for ministries familiar and yet to unfold and communities present and yet to be gathered. Pittsburgh Seminary forms culturally-competent and contextually-agile Christian leaders for church and society.

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.