Auburn Receives Lilly Endowment Grant
By Jennifer Hano
May 06, 2011
New York, NY – The Center for Christian Leadership at Auburn Theological Seminary has received a grant of $800,000 from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. to equip bold and resilient leaders for 21st century ministry by bringing pastoral coaching to clergy across the country, training new pastoral coaches, strengthening new senior pastors, bolstering women’s leadership, and cultivating wisdom about money in congregational leaders.
Auburn has been a leading innovator in the use of coaching to build excellence in pastoral leadership. “It’s hard to overestimate the impact of coaching on a pastor,” says the Rev. J.C. Austin, director of Auburn’s Center for Christian Leadership. “Pastors tell us it doesn’t just help them do their jobs better, it revitalizes their whole sense of call to ministry and helps them unlock the vision and strengths of their congregations in ways that they never imagined possible.”
The Auburn Coaching Institute currently offers both customized individual programs and an annual “comprehensive program” centered on a six-month coaching relationship and two intensive leadership-development residential programs. Now, Auburn plans to replicate that program in three new locations across the United States (one each in the Southeast, the center of the country, and the West Coast) within the next two years, to make pastoral coaching more readily available.
In addition to growing the Auburn Coaching Institute, this Lilly Endowment grant supports a new set of Auburn initiatives for pastors on the theology and use of money called Wisdom in Abundance.
While this growth in the coaching and “wise about money” work marks a new era for Auburn in many ways, it also connects to and reflects the original mission of the seminary.
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