We seek to help Christians in the United States live their faith fully and well. We support efforts that help individuals and families from diverse communities explore their deepest spiritual questions, discover the beauty of Christian life and encounter God. At the same time, we support work that helps Christians in a variety of settings draw more fully on the wisdom of their scriptural and theological traditions to help them understand and respond to contemporary challenges that they face. We encourage efforts that help Christians pass their faith traditions to their children and youth, while also nurturing the spiritual lives of individuals throughout their lifetime. We also support pastors, theologians, writers, scholars and others who probe the influences of rapid cultural change and produce resources to help Christians navigate the impact of these influences on all aspects of life, including faith.

Related Initiatives

Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative, which launched in 2022, builds on recent research that affirms the pivotal role parents play in the religious lives of their children. The Endowment supports organizations in designing and implementing programs to help interested parents and caregivers directly or through congregational ministries learn, adapt and embrace time-honored practices to share their faith and values with their children. Indiana Wesleyan University hosts a coordination program for grantees in the initiative.Learn more

Young Adult Initiative supports 33 colleges, universities, seminaries and other non-profit organizations around the nation to establish innovation hubs that help congregations design and launch new ministries with young adults, ages 23 to 29. Located in 17 states and the District of Columbia, the organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: Mainline Protestant, evangelical and historic Black denominations, as well as Roman Catholic, Orthodox and independent congregations. The Center for Congregations hosts a coordination program for the initiative.

Strengthening Ministries With Youth Initiative helps congregations and other organizations design and test new models for ministries with middle and high school youth, ages 12 to 18. The organizations are exploring new approaches for nurturing the religious lives of young people that push beyond the youth fellowship group model and are attentive to the changing experiences of young people today and their expectations to be involved in the design and execution of youth programs. Through the initiative, the Endowment has made grants to 23 organizations working with congregations and other Christian youth-serving organizations as well as support for the TenX10 network. Fuller Youth Institute hosts a coordination program for this initiative.

Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative supports religious organizations work with congregations to launch ministries that help Christians discover and claim how God is calling them to lead lives of meaning and purpose. The aim of this initiative is twofold: to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians by equipping them to discern and live out their callings and to enhance the vitality of congregations by developing new ministry models for inspiring and supporting the Christian callings of their members. The Collegeville Institute hosts a coordination program for this initiative.LEARN MORE

Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative supports congregations as they design intergenerational corporate worship and prayer practices that more intentionally engage children to help them come to know and love God and grow in faith. The initiative launched in 2022 with 31 grants to educational institutions, denominations, publishers and other organizations. Indiana Wesleyan University hosts a coordination program for the initiative.

Related Projects

Collegeville Seminars on Vocation is a collaborative initiative involving theologians and scholars from multiple disciplines, pastors and religious leaders, and Christian lay people who are leaders in their professional fields. The project seeks to deepen reflection on the Christian concept of vocation and produce resources for congregations and other audiences to help Christians explore how God calls them to live out their faith through their work, families and communities.LEARN MORE

Collegeville Writing Workshops, which are offered each summer to pastors, ministers, writers, lay leaders and other thinkers, involve week-long intensive experiences geared toward various levels of writing skill, genre and interest. Taught by prolific Christian writers, the workshop participants come together to write, learn and discover a call to write about the life of faith.LEARN MORE

National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) at the University of Notre Dame was a national longitudinal research project on the religious beliefs, affiliations and practices of American youth and young adults. Initiated in 2001, the project was conducted in four waves and published groundbreaking research that examined the religious lives of young people from early adolescence to the later stages of young adulthood. The success of the NSYR led to another national research project funded by Lilly Endowment in 2014 to study the impact of parenting on the religious lives of children and youth. Two books about the findings, Religious Parenting: Transmitting Faith and Values in Contemporary America and Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation were published in 2020 and 2021 respectively.LEARN MORE

The Project on Lived Theology explores the interconnection of theology and lived experience so that theologians, students, pastors and civic leaders can learn with and from one another. This project, based at the University of Virginia, is designed to encourage theologians and other influential scholars to connect their research and writing directly with the everyday experiences of Christians and produce resources that integrate the wisdom from the broad diversity of Christian traditions with the questions and struggles faced daily in congregations and other religious communities.LEARN MORE

Faith at Work, a research study based at Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program, explores how people understand their faith to inform their work and what congregations and their leaders can do to support members of their church communities as they connect their faith to their daily work.LEARN MORE

Children’s Spirituality Research Hub is an interdisciplinary research project exploring all aspects of faith formation with children through emerging research in education, psychology, science and other fields, as well as new research about how faith is transmitted to children. The project, Real Kids Real Faith, is based at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.LEARN MORE