Moody Theological Seminary Launching MTS Center for Compelling Biblical Preaching

14 December, 2023
Dr. Winfred Neely with students

Moody Bible Institute has received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Moody Theological Seminary (MTS) Center for Compelling Biblical Preaching.

The center 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.

“Since our inception in 1886 by D.L. Moody and Emma Dryer, who were both extremely effective in communicating God’s Word, we have been committed to train and equip the next generation to proclaim God’s Word and connect with people from all walks of life,” said Dr. Winfred Neely, vice president and academic dean of Moody Theological Seminary. “We are extremely grateful for this partnership with Lilly Endowment as we seek to foster a deeper understanding of God’s Word in the lives of those gifted and called to preach and help prepare them to do so in diverse settings through traditional and non- traditional forms of communication.”

The creation of the MTS Center for Compelling Biblical Preaching will coincide with the launch of Moody’s first doctorate program, a DMin in Biblical Preaching. Housed on the Chicago campus, the center will be led by an executive director, with support from a program coordinator and an administrative assistant. A homiletican in residence and an honorary research fellow will also serve with this center.

Dr. Eric Redmond, Executive Director of MTS Center for Compelling Biblical Preaching
Dr. Eric Redmond, Executive Director of MTS Center for Compelling Biblical Preaching

With today’s announcement, MTS has named Dr. Eric Redmond, professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute, as executive director. Dr. Redmond has been on faculty since 2015.

MTS has created a five-year strategic plan to launch the center and offer various resources and programs aimed at identifying and equipping individuals to become impactful preachers. Beginning in early 2024, the MTS Center for Compelling Biblical Preaching will launch a series of one-day workshops, as well as regular seminars during the academic year. In subsequent years, the center will host an annual conference along with apprenticeship programs that will provide coaching and mentoring to those currently serving in ministerial roles.

Moody Bible Institute 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.