CCD Secures $1.25 Million Grant To Disciple Children, Families

Early childhood learning

TheTable and the Children’s Table ministry will build around micro-communities and resource parents and caregivers

This summer, the North Texas Conference Center for Church Development received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc., supporting efforts to leverage early childhood education as an avenue to disciple children and engage families.

The effort is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative, which is designed to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.

In North Texas, the funds will enable the NTC Center for Church Development, in partnership with Creation Incubator, LLC, to launch TheTable and the Children’s Table ministry, building around micro-communities and resourcing parents and caregivers to help children and families grow in their faith.

NTC churches will begin seeing the fruits of the partnership later this month, when the Center for Church Development hosts “Leveraging Early Childhood Education to Disciple Families,” a webinar on exploring TheTable’s proven ways to disciple children and engage families. Pastor Michael Scott, senior pastor of TheTable Blue Springs, and Kay Kotan of Creation Incubator, and authors of “Inside Out: Everting Ministry Models for the Postmodern Culture,” will lead the Sept. 26 webinar (10:30 a.m.). Register here.

“This grant has the potential to benefit all of our United Methodist churches as we work to disciple children, engage new parents and families and maximize income to support our ministries,” said Rev. Dr. Owen Ross, director of the NTC Center for Church Development. “The webinars, specialized cohorts and shared learnings coming from this initiative will introduce new ideas and ways of thinking for churches across the diversity North Texas contexts.”

In addition to the Sept. 26 webinar, the Center for Church Development will engage a cohort of churches interested in establishing or reimagining their early childhood education centers and will ultimately offer deeper, intensive support for 20 churches to fully implement TheTable and Children’s Table.

The North Texas Conference is one of 77 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Christian Parenting and Caregiver Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion.  “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation. 

For more information about the grant’s application in the North Texas Conference, email Jessica Vargas, mission coordinator in the Center for Church Development.

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.

Published: Wednesday, September 6, 2023