Tabor College has received a $300,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to continue FaithFront, a program funded through Lilly Endowment’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative. The initiative seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.
FaithFront is designed to equip Mennonite Brethren and other Christian youth, ages 14-19, to develop theological competencies essential for ministry leadership with special emphasis on pastoral ministry and other church vocations.
The heart of the program is Encounter, a summer mobile “intensive” retreat designed as a lab to help participants engage their culture by interacting with a variety of global issues that call for Christian action.
FaithFront programming also includes workshops that encourage local churches to cultivate a culture of calling and on-campus retreats that help high school students explore what it means to think theologically.
Wendell Loewen, Tabor College professor of youth, church and culture, directs the program with assistance of FaithFront staff, Tabor’s religion professors and a variety of denominational leaders.
“Our desire is to utilize a model of innovative theological reflection and engagement with culture,” Loewen says, “to identify, equip and empower a growing community of called, skilled and equipped leaders for the church.”
Tabor College President Dr. Jules Glanzer applauds the impact this program is having.
“Tabor College is committed to providing a ‘kingdom awareness real world readiness’ education for our students. FaithFront is an example of this commitment extended to students in high school that are interested in exploring God’s call on their lives.”
Tabor College is one of a multitude of schools from across the country participating in the initiative. The grants are part of the Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a new generation of theologically-minded youth who will become leaders in church and society.
“These colleges and universities are well-positioned to reach out to high school students in this way,” says Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment. “They have outstanding faculty in theology and religion who know how to help young people explore the wisdom of religious traditions and apply these insights to contemporary challenges.”
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr., and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.