Multnomah’s Seminary Growing Strong with Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Multnomah’s Biblical Seminary using nearly $1 million awarded grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to grow pastoral ministry curriculum and establish relationships with local church community

In 2021, Multnomah’s Biblical Seminary was awarded a nearly $1 million Pathways for Tomorrow Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant initiative focuses on the long-term sustainability of seminary education. We believe the viability of Multnomah Biblical Seminary is intertwined in the health and welfare of the local Church and our relationship to the local community we serve. Earning the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant is a substantive gain for Multnomah University to better prepare pastors and churches to serve the needs of their local communities effectively.

The grant has provided Multnomah with funding to revise the pastoral ministry curriculum and enhance and establish new relationships between Multnomah and the local Church. Since being awarded the grant, the Seminary has already made several exciting steps to continue educating students for a life of Biblically grounded ministry.

Meet the Professors

Since being awarded Grant, Multnomah’s Seminary has hired two new faculty members and a seminary recruiter. Ruben Alvarado Th.M and Matthew Farlow, Ph.D., have joined faculty as professors of Pastoral Ministry and Community Development. Here is what they had to say about the opportunity of the Grant and coming to Multnomah.

Having obtained my M.Div and T.hM. degrees from Multnomah Biblical Seminary, I’m thrilled to return now as an Asst. Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Community Development! My experience in pastoral ministry, leading community engagement and development initiatives, tells me that Multnomah is perfectly poised for helping churches emerge from our pandemic realities. In the years ahead, our cities will need the church’s faithful presence and creative vision for loving our neighbors. Through this new program we hope to deepen Multnomah’s impact in helping pastors and churches engage their city for lasting and redemptive change!

Ruben Alvarado,  Th.M.

Faculty Headshot Ruben Alvarado

Multnomah holds a special place for the Farlows. My theological journey began when God called me towards my Masters at Multnomah. Our next step led us to Scotland (Univ of St Andrews) for the PhD and, now, brings us back to MU! I am stoked to be back at MU. I am convinced the Lord has brought my family and I back to MU to be wonderfully inconvenienced by the needs of the students, churches, and surrounding communities—to be an integral part in the mentoring, educating, and training of transformational leaders for today and tomorrow.

At Multnomah I will teach Theology, Pastoral Ministry, Discipleship, and other creatively created courses! Through my teaching, interactions, and presence at MU, my hope is to be a part of the MU goodness! That is, my heart longs to step into the beauty and goodness of MU so that with my MU family, we might glorify Christ and live out His crazy insane love as we impact and infect this world with a love that knows no bounds… Amen Jesus!

Matthew S. Farlow, Ph.D.

Faculty Headshot Matthew Farlow

Our Biblical Seminary and greater collegiate community welcomes the return of these Godly men. Multnomah has already begun to benefit from their impact on the hearts and lives of their students.

About the Grant

Multnomah University is the only Seminary in the state of Oregon to receive the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and one of two in the entire Pacific Northwest. Numerous faculty and staff members put in countless hours towards obtaining the grant because they believe in the importance of offering a Biblical Seminary education in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Derek Chinn, the Dean of Multnomah’s Biblical Seminary and Graduate School and the Director of the Master of Divinity Program, deserves special acknowledgement for his dedication to obtaining this substantial grant for the university. In his own words, Dr. Chinn shared the significance of the endowment for the future of the seminary program:

The Pathways for Tomorrow grant initiative provides the Seminary with an opportunity to look at how we train people for pastoral ministry with fresh eyes. In particular, how the evangelical Church in the US is engaging and being shaped by contemporary events.

In light of how the political climate in the United States has shaped some believers’ expression of faith, we believe the Seminary can be a resource to the Church by connecting the Gospel to local needs and concerns of the community in which a local church resides. By way of example, there are some polls and research that indicate evangelicals are perceived as more interested in political power than Jesus.

With the grant, we will equip our students and partner with the local church to change this perception. Our work focuses on what this Gospel witness looks like and how it is expressed in tangible ways. Working with pastors doing localized ministry, we will examine and develop ways believers are able to build and/or restore relational trust with their neighbors and “enemies.” This work can only be accomplished in and through Jesus and requires us to be faithful learners of the Word.

Dr. Robby Larson also had a significant role in helping Multnomah create its proposal. Robby shouldered the burden of staying on schedule and overseeing the administrative aspects of the grant. We commend Multnomah’s Chief Academic Officer, Mr. Alin Vrancila and Dean Dr. Derek Chinn — along with their anointed and appointed team of faculty and staff— for their outstanding leadership.

Learn more about Multnomah’s Seminary program at