The seeds of the In Trust Center began in 1987 with a conversation between Robert W. Lynn, senior vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment Inc.; J. L. Zwingle, retired executive director of the Association of Governing Boards (AGB); and Christa R. Klein, Lilly Endowment’s consultant on seminary trusteeship. The three discussed developing an “occasional periodical” to address the needs of theological school boards in the face of significant shifts in theological education, including a decline in denominational funding and an increase in the number of nontraditional students.

A collection of essays sent to seminary presidents in May 1988 laid the foundation for what would become In Trust magazine. The next major turning point came in 1992, when a grant from Lilly Endowment moved In Trust to a quarterly publishing schedule and expanded its mailing list to include every trustee at every accredited theological school in the United States and Canada.

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1995, In Trust’s first venture beyond the magazine was its Good Faith Governance Seminar series, out of which grew a Governance Mentor service. 

In 2013, In Trust announced that thanks to significant support from Lilly Endowment Inc., the organization was being reconfigured as the In Trust Center for Theological Schools. With this new identity, the In Trust Center introduced a major new program, Resource Consulting, which connects member schools with resources while walking alongside them to define challenges and initiate solutions. In addition, the audience for In Trust was broadened from board members and senior administrators at theological schools to include faculty. 

The In Trust Center adopted its current mission statement in 2017: To strengthen theological schools by connecting their leaders to essential resources for mission vitality. Today, the In Trust Center carries out this mission through In Trust magazine, Resource Consulting, webinars, and other initiatives. 

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |