CCCB Receives Major Grant to Support Biblical Preaching

Lilly Foundation and Central Christian College of the Bible Grant

Moberly, MO (Oct 6, 2023) - Central Christian College of the Bible (CCCB) has received a grant of over $1.2 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the launch of a multi-year collaborative effort to support ministers and elevate preaching in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. 

The grant will be delivered through the Christian Church Leadership Network (CCLN), the church services division of CCCB. It will support learning opportunities, gatherings, coaching, and structured peer cohorts for ministers while providing media support services to smaller churches. CCCB envisions these efforts will impact more than 1,000 Christian Churches/Churches of Christ over a four-year period (2024–2027).

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

A wide range of learning opportunities and support services will help preachers and churches become more effective in proclaiming biblical truth in culturally relevant ways, with an emphasis on addressing complex issues and harnessing the potential of technology. It will also address the personal, spiritual, and emotional challenges facing preaching ministers today. Program offerings will include:

  • an ongoing series of webinars that showcase leading preachers and experts on Bible/Theology and culture;

  • regional gatherings of ministers, offered in partnership with other schools and ministries, across the country;

  • year-long virtual cohorts that emphasize learning, preaching skills, peer connections, and coaching;

  • intensive soul care retreats and cohorts for ministry couples; and,

  • an innovative media services program that will partner qualified young adults who are interested in media and ministry with smaller churches that seek assistance with basic media support (e.g., worship slides, videos, streaming services, social media).

“CCCB is deeply honored to participate in The Compelling Preaching Initiative,” says CCCB’s President, Dr. David Fincher. “Central exists to prepare ministers and leaders for the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. Biblical preaching is foundational to the life and health of every church, and every successful ministry is grounded in the ability to proclaim the Word in relevant and accessible ways. Central’s degrees have always focused heavily on the Bible and biblical preaching. However, we have also seen the need to support preachers in their work long after they graduate. The goals of this initiative are to help preachers produce messages that are biblical, accessible, incarnational, and transformational. To do this, we will offer ongoing opportunities for learning, coaching, and media support for our churches and their leaders.”

Central Christian College of the Bible is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in the Black Church and in Hispanic and Asian American Christian traditions.

“Throughout history, preachers often have needed to adapt their preaching practices to engage new generations of hearers more effectively,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We are pleased that the organizations receiving grants in this initiative will help pastors and others in ministry engage in the kinds of preaching needed today to ensure that the gospel message is heard and accessible for all audiences.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Compelling Preaching Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.  

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.