Flagler College’s Youth Ministry program has received a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to begin a new program called “The Missing Voices Project” that will look for new ways to reach young people who are on the margins of society, culture and even the church.
“We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment for this grant, and we are looking forward to this exciting opportunity,” said Justin Forbes, director and 2002 alumnus of Flagler’s Youth Ministry Program.
Forbes said today’s youth are increasingly diverse and represent a wide spectrum of experiences that are often underserved by mainstream ministerial approaches. The goal of the Missing Voices Project is to seek new perspectives, practices and methodologies to help ministries more effectively reach these youth at the margins, including middle and high school students who are living in poverty, have special needs, are immigrants, are in prison or other young people who are often missing from the church.
“The whole idea of this grant is to explore designing new expressions of youth ministry for people that are typically overlooked,” Forbes said. “The dominant model of youth ministry has left a lot of these kids out.”
The project will experiment with new approaches to ministry as it works with 12 Florida congregations that will be selected to take part in Missing Voices. Forbes said many of those details will follow in 2019.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and 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, the Endowment 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.
The Youth Ministry Program at Flagler is an academic minor that prepares students for a wide variety of ministerial and church-related vocations, religious studies and seminary. In addition to courses specifically devoted to the theology and skills of ministry, the minor also provides opportunities for supervised fieldwork and training in areas such as Young Life, local churches and other institutions.
For more information visit, missingvoices.flagler.edu.