ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Milligan University was awarded a $1,201,100 grant to “help strengthen and expand the preparation, support and development of engaging and effective preaching,” according to the university.

The university announced on Monday the grant is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative.

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for providing this crucial support which will enable us to further prepare and equip future preachers for service to the Kingdom,” said Dr. Bill Greer, president of Milligan University. “The funds will enable us not only to cultivate future preachers but also to assist and encourage preachers at every level of experience throughout their careers.”

The new Center for Preaching hopes to benefit Independent Christian Churches nationally with a particular focus on more than 350 churches located within 100 miles of Milligan, the university said.

The center will partner with the university’s existing undergraduate Ministry Leadership Program and the seminary’s Ministry Resource Center for compelling preaching in different ministry settings.

Milligan is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative, a release from the university states.