The Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Office of the Bishop



Episcopal Diocese of Texas in

Partnership with Backstory Preaching

Receives $1.25M Grant for Compelling Preaching Initiative

Contact: Tammy Lanier at 281-543-7845

[email protected]   

October 12, 2023

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, in partnership with Backstory Preaching, has received a grant of $1.25M from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish The Community for Compelling Preaching Initiative. 

The program is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that inspires, encourages, and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

Through the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the Community for Compelling Preaching Initiative aims to enhance and expand Backstory Preaching’s Collectives, a first-of-its-kind, online community for continuous preaching education and formation. The vision for The Collectives is to grow preachers in the craft, process, and spirituality of compelling preaching over the long-term so they more effectively offer good news to their listeners. Through this collaboration, the partnership will evaluate and enhance existing offerings, develop new tools and resources, and establish personalized learning models so preachers receive targeted support for timely impact. 

“Backstory Preaching has been an incredible resource for clergy. The Lilly Endowment grant reveals the value of this ministry for the church and its mission,” said the ninth Bishop of Texas, C. Andrew Doyle. Bishop Suffragan Kathryn M. Ryan fervently echoes the bishop’s sentiments. 

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in the Black Church and in Hispanic and Asian American Christian traditions.

“Throughout history, preachers often have needed to adapt their preaching practices to engage new generations of hearers more effectively,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We are pleased that the organizations receiving grants in this initiative will help pastors and others in ministry engage in the kinds of preaching needed today to ensure that the gospel message is heard and accessible for all audiences.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Compelling Preaching Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States. 


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his 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, it 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

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