Lilly grant funds OC theology academy

Oklahoma Christian received a $175,000 grant to establish a theology academy as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative.

Named “Restore: Theology Academy at Oklahoma Christian University,” the program will provide high school students with mentors who will guide learning and connect students with scriptural and theological resources as they contemplate social, historical, and cultural concerns.

Through classroom and field experiences, students will learn to examine moral and ethical dimensions of life and explore how their lives can positively affect the church and society.

Charles Rix, interim dean of OC’s College of Biblical Studies, will lead Restore along with program director Ben Langford, who also serves as director of OC’s Center for Global Missions. Doug Peters, associate professor of Bible and the Baugh Chair of Preaching, and theological librarian Chris Rosser were integral to the Lilly Endowment process and will help plan and execute academy initiatives.

“We want to develop young leaders by helping them imagine and discern their future vocations as active participants in God’s story,” Rix said. “God calls us to be good stewards of this world he has created. We want students to confront injustice, inequality and exclusion so they can help bring restoration and reconciliation to the church and the world.”

Restore will function in a three-year cycle: “Restoring Humanity,” which will empower students as young leaders to confront injustice in the world; “Restoring Believers,” which will empower students to be unifying agents in the Christian community; and “Restoring Creation,” which will challenge students to contemplate divine and human creativity and empower to live lives of faithful stewardship.

Oklahoma Christian will model this program after its highly successful Honors Summer Academy, which attracts more than 100 students to the OC campus for experiential academic programming each year.

“We hope to transform each student’s heart so they pursue love for God and love for others,” Rix said.

Summer 2016

View more stories from the Summer 2016 issue of Vision magazine.