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New Children s Discipleship Initiative Enabled by $1 25 Million Grant

New Children's Discipleship Initiative Enabled by $1.25 Million Grant

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The Assemblies of God has recently received a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the I Am A Disciple Children’s Initiative. This new AG Children’s Discipleship initiative is focused on preparing churches to equip children and families to bring their faith home — to raise up disciples who make disciples.

The I Am A Disciple Children’s Initiative is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to support faith-based organizations as they help children grow in faith and deepen their relationship with God.

“Today in the AG (USA), there are nearly 13,000 churches and more than 3 million constituents, of whom 31 percent are under the age of 18,” says Doug Clay, AG general superintendent. “The future of the Church is bright if we follow the Holy Spirit and work together to help our children grow in the faith. Raising children to know how to follow Jesus as revealed in Scripture will create stability and hope in the lives of the next generation through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The I Am a Disciple Children’s Initiative will offer a distinctly Spirit‐driven, biblically founded pathway for exceptional discipleship of children. The keys to the initiative include attention-securing resources, tools, and training aimed at increasing intergenerational discipleship through worship, prayer and service events, sermon series, art, experiential age‐aligned curriculum in partnership with Bible Engagement Project (BEP), and resourcing pastors and volunteers with training to increase their skills in effectively discipling early childhood and elementary children.

Julie A. Pratt serves as the director of Children’s Discipleship for the AG and will lead the grant efforts.

“I’ve been dedicated to discipling children and families in the local church for 28 years,” says Pratt, who has devoted her life to ministry as a children’s pastor, family pastor, and in Christian higher education. “From my many years’ experience, I deeply understand the need for resources and training for the local church. I am thrilled to help lead this initiative and believe in its potential to change the face of children’s discipleship for years to come.”

Kelly Presson, national Children’s Ministries director, says that the new I Am A Disciple Children’s Initiative is on track to begin releasing resources in early 2024.

Lilly Endowment launched the Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative in 2022 as part of its commitment to support efforts that strengthen the religious education and formation of children and enhance the vitality of Christian congregations. The Assemblies of God is one of 26 organizations, from a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, taking part in the initiative.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $32 million in grants through this invitational round of the Nurturing Children Initiative. The grants are funding efforts to help organizations develop new and/or enhance existing programs that support congregations as they design worship services and prayer practices that more intentionally and fully engage children.

For more information about Lilly Endowment Inc. — its history, philosophy, and entities it supports — click here.

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