Asbury Seminary receives two new research grants

Published 11:22 am Thursday, December 28, 2017

Asbury Seminary recently received two grants: one with the objective of looking at under-addressed groups and how they can thrive and  another to conduct a study of the sexual minority experiences of Christian undergraduates in collaboration with Asbury University, Regent University and Houghton College.

The Major Lilly Grant totals $999,515, and was received from Lilly Endowment Inc. in support of Asbury Seminary’s Thriving in Ministry Initiative.

A two-phased application process allowed Asbury Seminary to apply for a planning grant worth $50,000 in order to explore the potential participation of the initiative.

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Once awarded the planning grant, Asbury was then eligible to apply for the implementation grant in order to execute its plan.

In a prepared statement, President Timothy C. Tennent said, “This Lilly Endowment grant speaks directly to the heart of Asbury’s mission. Especially as we seek to encourage woman leaders and pastors to thrive in their ministries, as well as ongoing commitment to banded discipleship which creates accountability and transformation among Christian leaders. We are delighted about the multi-year adventure which awaits us in these vital areas.”

Also in a prepared statement, it was announced the project will take place over a five year research, piloting and implementation period.

The issues of three under-addressed groups, woman pastors in their first five years as well as Latina bi-vocational pastors in their initial years, and how they can thrive in their ministry will be evaluated.

The first three years will be used for research and pilot testing content and banded discipleship. During the fourth and fifth year, participants will transition to financially supporting the services.

Professors and teams at Asbury Seminary were also recently awarded a research grant. The grant was awarded to Dr. Stratton and his colleagues, and is administered through Regent University. Dr. Mark Yarhouse, Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology at Regent University, is leading the study.

The grant will fund two years of the quantitative and qualitative study of Christian undergraduates and will support research assistants from Asbury Seminary counseling programs.

The purpose of the study is to listen to students who entrust researchers with their stories as they maneuver through gender and spiritual identities.

This begins the second longitudinal study looking at sexual minority experiences which take place on Christian minority campuses for Asbury Seminary. The first study focused on the LGB experience of Christian undergraduates.

“We hope to hear the voices of those students in Christian colleges and universities who are living, learning and developing in the midst of faith-based academic communities,” Professor Steve Stratton said in the statement.

“We want to understand the student experience and we also want to hear about the influence of Christian Community on this developmental process of Christian students.”