Baptist Seminary of Kentucky will receive nearly $1 million from the Lilly Endowment for a project to help nontraditional students gain theological education while working in church settings.
BSK’s Siloam Project seeks to increase educational access for those already serving in ministry positions without requiring them to leave those posts and relocate for seminary. BSK has been a leader in distance learning and educational partnerships, two current trends that are sustaining seminaries in the early 21st century.
“Together with our partners in the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., Simmons College of Kentucky, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, BSK’s Siloam Project creates opportunity for leaders who wish to study where they live and serve, while also developing a sustainable contextual model for theological education,” said President David Cassady. “We are excited to walk alongside congregations as we together form ministers for a rapidly changing church and culture.”
The $998,725 grant comes from Lilly’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. That is a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada respond to contemporary challenges. BSK is one of 105 theological schools to receive phase two grants.
The Siloam Project will accelerate BSK’s congregation-centered approach, recognizing that a person’s ministry context is an ideal setting for theological education. Aspects of the project seek to increase the quality of student formation, improve access for persons who might not otherwise have the opportunity to earn an advanced degree, and grow capacity with our partners to develop continuing education resources for church leaders. Part of the project involves collaboration with “Learning Churches” to enhance BSK’s approach to contextual theological education.
Today’s theological schools “find themselves in a period of rapid and profound change,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment vice president for religion. “Through the Pathways Initiative, theological schools will take deliberate steps to address the challenges they have identified in ways that make the most sense to them. We believe their efforts are critical to ensuring that Christian congregations continue to have a steady stream of pastoral leaders who are well-prepared to lead the churches of tomorrow.”
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic 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 Co. It is a separate entity from the pharmaceutical company.