The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) has received a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., to help create the Theologies for Pastoral Ministry project, including a book series focusing on practical theological wisdom across denominations and addressing current needs in the Church and among clergy.

M. Craig Barnes, president emeritus of Princeton Theological Seminary, is leading the ambitious initiative, and told ATS’ Colloquy that the project “will make a significant contribution to the Church, its theological schools and, most of all, to thoughtful pastors in search of a theological north star for guiding their congregations through the turbulent changes of contemporary life.”

The project plans to address topics such as social polarization, the effects of the pandemic, denominational decline, and financial stress in ministry. It will include 10 books based on a series of in-person gatherings of working pastors representing the wide diversity of the Church. Barnes, the author of nine books, will serve as general editor of the series. “The theologies we develop for the Church and its pastors will rise from the ground up, beginning with a careful process of listening to diverse gatherings of clergy and scholars,” Barnes said.

ATS Executive Director Frank Yamada called it a “timely project that will gather wisdom from leaders during this time of significant change. The books will inform a generation which already has navigated the major disruptions of social change,” including leading through the recent global pandemic.

According to ATS, the grant will fund the project’s first phase from January 2024, through June 2025. The full project is slated to end in December 2028.


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