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Aspire Campaign Approaches $7 Million Raised for Culture of Innovation Projects

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An innovative, Christ-centered educational community distinguishes Grace College & Seminary.  “Culture of Innovation” is one of four priorities of Grace’s Aspire Campaign, the $37 million comprehensive campaign launched in March.  As Grace seeks to build on its reputation as an innovative institution, it will pursue two primary projects within this priority: the Deploy seminary model and the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams.  Deploy has garnered $750,000 while the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams has raised $5.93 million to date.

Deploy is a biblically centered, globally aware, competency-based seminary education model offered on-site at churches.  The program is designed to enable more effective service within the unique contexts of urban, rural and suburban settings. Dr. Jeff Gill, dean of the Seminary, explains, “The definition of ‘deploy’ is to strategically equip and send out.  That’s exactly what we desire to do. We want to equip laborers and send them out into the harvest. ‘Deploy’ is also a verb; it reiterates that we are actively on mission.”

Grace has established partnerships with five “hubs,” or church sites, around the Midwest where seminary students can earn their master’s degree without relocating to the main Grace campus in Winona Lake. Students will attend classes in the church hub nearest to them where they will interact with credentialed faculty members who will oversee their instruction of and mastery in biblical languages, theology, hermeneutics and the other competencies required by their degree of choice. Additionally, each student will have two mentors from his current ministry who will focus on the development of the student’s ministry skills and spiritual formation.

“Future pastors and ministry leaders need to apply their knowledge in the context of ministry work,” said Mike Yoder, lead pastor of Grace Polaris Church in Westerville, Ohio, a Grace alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees. “Through the Deploy model, students will receive a theological education at a convenient location that facilitates their development in order to be faithful and effective ministry leaders.” To date, $750,000 of the $1 million Deploy goal has been raised to renovate the William Male Center and launch the beginning stages of Deploy.  Pending Higher Learning Commission Approval, Deploy will start this fall.

The second primary innovation project of the Aspire Campaign is the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams.  Recently renamed to recognize the substantial leadership gifts from Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Lilly family to the center’s endowment fund, the Lilly Center seeks to improve the health and safety of Kosciusko County lakes and streams.  The center conducts research, provides resources, engages and educates residents and collaborates with local organizations in pursuit of this goal.

The Aspire Campaign sought to raise $5 million for the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams to ensure that groundbreaking research and strategic partnerships will continue through the center well into the future.  On March 24, Grace College broke ground on the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, a 35,000 square-foot renovation and new building project, which will house the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams as well as Grace’s growing math and science programs.

“As we look ahead to the next 10 years, we plan to develop additional collaborative partnerships and increase our research and educational capacity in the wonderful new science facility,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the center. “We will continue to make our local lakes and streams clean, healthy, safe and beautiful.” To date, $5.93 million has been raised for the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams.

For more information or to give to the Aspire Campaign for Grace College & Seminary, visit or call (866) 448-3472.

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