Fuller Seminary is thrilled to announce the recent award of a $10.7 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the TENx10 (or “Ten by Ten”) Collaboration, a project of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). The mission of TENx10 is to help faith matter more among 10 million teenagers during the next 10 years.
This transformative gift is one of the largest Fuller has received in its 75-year history. With this grant, Fuller’s comprehensive campaign, Transforming Hope, moves closer toward its $150 million fundraising goal.
“It’s estimated that more than one million teenagers per year drift from Christian churches,” reports Kara Powell, Fuller’s chief of leadership formation and executive director of FYI. “In response, FYI will lead this four-year grant to help reorient ethnically, denominationally, and geographically diverse youth ministries across the US around relational discipleship radically focused on Jesus.”
TENx10 is a well-established network of more than 60 youth ministry organizations that are serving diverse contexts across the spectrum of American Christianity. With this new funding, it intends to shift the focus of ministry with youth away from siloed, entertainment-driven programs and toward intentional family and intergenerational relationships. In turn, these relationships will help cultivate the exploration of young people’s deep questions about identity, belonging, and purpose in light of Scripture and Christian practices.
“I have had the joy of witnessing youth discipleship formation through missions mobilization for many years,” said David Emmanuel Goatley, Fuller’s president. “Numbers of adolescents live amid spiritual barrenness. However, I have supported and seen young people bear good and faithful witness to Christ Jesus when nurtured to know the life-giving love and power he brings. Teens are ready for what TENx10 offers. Many will be blessed.”
Powell is overseeing TENx10 and believes that in the midst of their loneliness and mental health struggles, young people are open to caring adult relationships. “We see in the data that while teenagers feel isolated after the pandemic, they are hungry for meaningful relationships. This is a unique window for diverse faith communities to accompany young people and see them be changed by their faith to change our world, and we are grateful for support from Lilly Endowment as we equip leaders toward that goal.”
Over the course of the initiative, TENx10 seeks to accomplish four major objectives:
- Raise youth discipleship to a top priority for US ministry leaders by generating national prayer and awareness, as well as advocacy among senior leaders.
- Ensure that leaders of color and their strategic organizations and networks reflect the diversity of the body of Christ and US young people today.
- Curate, create, and disseminate core resources and training that embody TENx10’s seven Discipleship Emphases and equip local ministry leaders to enact lasting change.
- Connect and mobilize partner organizations to collectively impact 100,000 diverse faith communities nationally.
Recently appointed as TENx10 executive director, Ray Chang summarizes the vision of TENx10 as “diligently working to catalyze a youth discipleship movement that demonstrates a type of gospel collaboration that many are longing to see––where people from various denominational, racial, geographic, and socioeconomic lines are moving on mission together out of a love for Jesus and a heart for young people’s faith. Gifts and contributions like this add jet fuel to our ability to achieve the mission and we are grateful for the confidence of Lilly Endowment in this effort.”
ABOUT LILLY ENDOWMENT INC.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic 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. Although the gifts of stock remain a 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. Although the Endowment maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana, it also funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. While the primary aim of its religion grantmaking focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States, the Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair, accurate, and balanced ways the contributions that people of all faiths and diverse religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.