NOBTS receives Lilly Endowment Grant for PREP program

By Staff

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) has received a $125,000 grant as part of the ongoing Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. 

NOBTS was one of 67 theological schools across the country to receive the original grant in 2013. The original grant provided three years of funding for the seminary’s financial education program, known as PREP. The current grant provides partial support for PREP.

According to Chris Shaffer, director of the PREP program at NOBTS, the initiative has been successful in help students mitigate debt during their time in seminary. The new grant will help further integrate PREP into the life of the seminary and help make financial education available to more students.

Personal financial pressures are severely limiting the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of too many pastoral leaders.  To help address this issue, Lilly Endowment created the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers.  The initiative’s aim is to encourage theological schools to examine and strengthen their financial and educational practices to improve the economic well-being of future pastors. 

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will use its funding to help students develop financial skills and take active steps toward reducing their debt burden while in seminary.  Research and education components of the program will target students at several stages of the seminary journey, from the transition to seminary life to their post-seminary ministry positions.

“The decline in Cooperative Program support from Southern Baptist churches is shifting more of the cost for theological education to students.  This is making the problem of debt more likely among SBC seminary students,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley in 2013 when the grant was first received. “We are deeply grateful to the Lilly Foundation for their help in working with our students on a crucial issue that could limit the ways they serve our churches and hinder their access to foreign mission fields waiting for a gospel witness.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — 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.  More information can be found at