Lilly Endowment Grant Will Fund Youth “Disciples on the Way” Program

Caldwell University has received a grant to start a new program “Disciples on the Way” that will encourage high school students to look at what it means to be a disciple in today’s world. Thanks to a five-year $222,000 Lilly Endowment grant students will have the chance to explore questions about their faith and the moral dimensions of contemporary challenges.

In 2015, Caldwell University received a four-year grant to establish a residential summer program, the Spirituality and Leadership Institute (SLI), on campus for high school students and Caldwell’s undergraduate spiritual mentors. The major focus was to study theological works and to examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.  SLI has introduced high school and undergraduate students to spiritual disciplines as leadership practices and helped them develop as young citizens who promote public justice and seek the common good.

With the new “Disciples on the Way” program, participants will be immersed in intellectual, spiritual and practical ways of living as they focus and build on different aspects of discipleship, such as leadership, arts and spirituality, and prayer methods. All programming will be aimed at helping young people have a greater understanding of their ability to be disciples in today’s world and to have an initial full experience experimenting with and using the suggested discernment tools. The program will help youth intensify connections to their faith in areas of interest and envision how they can become faith leaders in their community, school, church, family, workplace and even online through social media.

Colleen O’Brien, Caldwell University’s director of campus ministry, is a seasoned youth minister in higher education, who will lead this effort supported by an array of CU spiritual mentors and an assistant youth minister. She hopes it will help students deepen their faith. “We are working to engage current and future faith leaders in our community and help them discover the many ways God is calling them to live and be in the world.”


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.



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