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Evangel University staff and students react to $1 million grant for diversity training for ministers

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 4:15 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Evangel University received a 1 million-dollar grant to build up theological training for black and Hispanic ministers.

At Evangel University, officials said this grant gives way to advanced degrees for underserved student groups at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

Michael Bryant, a Freshman studying worship leadership and marketing at Evangel University, said this grant can create new beginnings.

”For me personally this grant kind of just opens the door almost,” said Bryant. “When I go to AGTS to get my master’s, grants like this can really help me afford something like that.”

Administrators said they found out about the $1 million award just before Christmas. They said it’s from the Lily Endowment Fund, a fund that helps theological schools across the nation. Evangel University staff said this award will provide scholarships, advanced training for more black and Hispanic pastors, and provide platforms for all races to discuss social justice challenges facing black communities.

Dr. Michael Kolstad, Evangel’s Chief of Staff, said they have more ways to give out online degrees, teach in different languages, and create a more diverse campus. Kolstad said this fund also helps the minister shortages.

”It creates pathways for more people to become educated to become ministers,” said Kolstad. “It’s going to benefit Springfield, it can benefit the entire United States.”

Bryant said he encourages the school’s efforts to expand.

”The fact that we’re trying to draw in more black and brown students who are studying things like I’m studying, it’s gonna make the classes more fun, better,” said Bryant.

Administrators said the plan is to bring more professors and both Kolstad and Bryant are excited for what the future holds.

”It’s more than just helping students,” said Kolstad. “It’s identifying that spark that everybody has, and then helping that student turn that spark into a flame.“

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