Concordia Seminary, St. Louis is one of 44 recipients and the only seminary chosen as part of the “Vital Worship Grants Program” from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Mich., for 2018-19.
The Seminary will use the $18,000 grant to conduct a year-long study of congregations with successful catechumenate programs, which can be replicated and adapted for use in other congregations. The goal is to strengthen the patterns for discipleship and participation in church life among millennials and Generation Z.
The study will be overseen by the Seminary’s Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean of Chapel Dr. Kent Burreson and Term Professor of Theology and Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Rhoda Schuler from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
“Dr. Schuler and I are grateful to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) for the opportunity to receive this grant enabling us to conduct this study into the formative value of catechumenal practices among the millennial and Gen Z generations,” Burreson said. “It is research that has the potential to strengthen patterns of discipleship in many congregations beyond the eight involved in the study.”
Burreson and Schuler said the results of their research will be shared widely so congregations can adapt and use the successful practices.
“I was thrilled when Dr. Burreson invited me to collaborate with him on the grant proposal and participate in this research project,” Schuler said. “As one who teaches undergraduates, I have seen firsthand the drift of younger generations away from active participation in the life of the church. It’s an honor to be involved in research that could enhance the mission of the church and strengthen congregational life.”
This year’s grant recipients include 27 congregations, one high school, six colleges and universities, one seminary and nine other groups, including two community organizations, three denominational organizations, a retreat center and a retirement community, according to the CICW. They also represent 17 different Christian denominations, 25 states and two Canadian provinces.
The grants, ranging from $6,000 to $18,000, have a common purpose of desiring to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation. Each grant will fund a year-long project beginning in June that promotes vital worship and faith formation.
John Witvliet, director of the CICW, believes that the 2018 projects will help the institute in its goals to enhance the scholarly study of Christian worship and the renewal of worshiping communities across North America and beyond.
“We learn a tremendous amount from these programs,” he said in a release. “We look forward to sharing insights from these projects with a larger audience in our future programming over the next several years.”
The grant program is made possible through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.
For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please seeworship.calvin.edu/grants.
About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit www.csl.edu.