Campbell University received an innovation grant for $3,500 through Brian Foreman’s participation in Foundations of Christian Leadership through Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
The innovation grant supports the “innovative approaches to rural congregational engagement” though the Campbell Center for Church and Community. There is an opportunity for rural congregations to lead innovation efforts within their faith communities and the community as a whole. This assumption is important for Campbell University, which still sees a significant population of students from rural and small towns, many of whom are first-generation college students.
A significant percentage of Campbell graduates return to small and mid-sized towns for careers and to raise families.
“We believe that when congregations entrust their students to us, we should be preparing them to lead with purpose wherever they may return,” said Foreman, executive director of the Center. “Much of what is written and researched about the church and healthy congregations is done so through suburban and urban churches. This grant will help us contribute to a body of research and literature that includes a faithful presence in rural and small towns.”
Foreman added that as polarization continues regarding perceptions of urban and rural centers, there is an important role and voice that small towns offer.
“The church can and should be a leader in that voice,” he said, “and we want to not only protect the voice, but also empower it to lead in a way that suggests traditioned innovation is alive and well in rural and small towns.”
Leadership Education aims to create lasting change in U.S. congregations by supporting Christian leaders and the institutions they serve. It designs educational services, develops intellectual resources and facilitates networks of institutions that cultivate a coherent vision of Christian institutional leadership and form Christian leaders.
Leadership Education is a non-degree-granting initiative of Duke Divinity School funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and based in Durham, North Carolina.