Thriving on Impact


The Office of Lilly Projects at Lexington Theological Seminary

Dr. Charisse L. Gillett serves as President of Lexington Theological Seminary and as Executive Director of the Office of Lilly Projects at Lexington Theological Seminary.
The mission of Lexington Theological Seminary is to prepare faithful leaders for the church of Jesus Christ and, thus, to strengthen the church’s participation in God’s mission for the world. This core expression of the Seminary’s mission to educate and train clergy and lay leaders is anchored in the premise that people are called to ministry by God and they accomplish their purposes in ministry in partnership with the church.

Lexington Theological Seminary lives out this belief through its strategic imperative to sustain pastors in ministry. We understand that preparation for pastoral ministry entails rigorous education, caring mentors, substantive peer relations, and a deep understanding of congregational life. We also understand that skills, habits, and practices that sustain pastors in congregational ministry develop over a lifetime of ministry in collaboration with communities of faith.

Through the generosity of Lilly Endowment Inc. and their grant funded initiatives, Conversations on Stewardship & Finances, Thriving in Ministry, Thriving Congregations, and Pathways for Tomorrow, LTS has been able to implement significant programs that will impact the church for years to come. Participation in these initiatives since 2014 has allowed LTS to support student financial well-being, expand the understanding of structural economic challenges faced by clergy and congregations, conduct research related to bi-vocational ministry, and help clergy and congregations delve more deeply into ways they thrive in their respective calls to serve God’s people.

The Office of Lilly Projects at Lexington Theological Seminary seeks to provide a set of overarching programs and services that embraces students, journeys with them as new pastors, and supports well-being in ministry to strengthen clergy, congregations, and communities.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Office of Lilly Project Leadership

Rev. Dr. Charisse L. Gillett

President, Lexington Theological Seminary and Executive Director, Lilly Projects at LTS



Rev. Dr. Kristen P. Bentley

Director, Thriving in Ministry Project and the Institute for Bi-Vocational Ministry, Lexington Theological Seminary



Rev. Erin Cash

Director, Thriving Congregations Initiative, Lexington Theological Seminary



Rev. Dr. Jonathan Barnes

Director Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, Lexington Theological Seminary