Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary https://www.mbts.edu We are for the church. Wed, 15 Jul 2020 21:34:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Midwestern Seminary and CARES Act Funds https://www.mbts.edu/2020/07/midwestern-seminary-and-cares-act-funds/ Wed, 15 Jul 2020 19:43:26 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31467 In May 2020, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary became a recipient of the CARES Act. In accordance with the details of the grant, the institution plans to award no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students. The institution received $233,499 […]

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In May 2020, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary became a recipient of the CARES Act. In accordance with the details of the grant, the institution plans to award no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students. The institution received $233,499 from the Department of Education specifically for emergency financial aid grants to students.

As of July 8, 2020, the institution has disbursed $146,365 in emergency financial aid grants to 90 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Students who were potentially eligible were encouraged to complete the FAFSA and an emergency aid request form. Other students who were already eligible were distributed funds based on expenses incurred, as calculated by the institution.

Spurgeon College or Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students who feel they may be eligible should complete the 2019-20 FAFSA and complete an emergency aid request. When both of these requirements have been met, the institution will review the aid request and distribute funds, if allowable. For additional questions, please reach out to financialaid@mbts.edu.

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Spurgeon College announces new B.A. in History program, B.A. in Communications degree program updates https://www.mbts.edu/2020/07/spurgeon-college-announces-new-b-a-in-history-program-b-a-in-communications-degree-program-updates/ Mon, 13 Jul 2020 18:53:30 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31415 Spurgeon College announced on July 13, the launch of a 120-credit hour undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in History degree program, along with faculty-approved updates to the current Bachelor of Arts in Communication program. The history program, which includes the same general education and biblical studies core courses required of all Spurgeon College students, also incorporates […]

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Spurgeon College announced on July 13, the launch of a 120-credit hour undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in History degree program, along with faculty-approved updates to the current Bachelor of Arts in Communication program.

The history program, which includes the same general education and biblical studies core courses required of all Spurgeon College students, also incorporates an additional 42 credit hours that focus on history and historical methods. Six credit hours of electives round out the degree track.

Andrew King, assistant dean of Spurgeon College, said the addition of the B.A. in History aligns perfectly with Spurgeon College’s mission of existing “For the Kingdom,” as it adds to the current diverse degree options for study and deployment of students in a variety of avenues both in the marketplace and ministry.

“Considering these marketplace degrees,” King said, “when we think of being for the Kingdom, we’re not considering training only in missions, the pastorate, or some other ministry-related field. This type of training can be seen, for example, through our communications degree, which can lead to working at ad firms, or our business degree setting a student up to launch into business leadership—all from a Christian worldview. I’m glad to see the history program join these programs to drive our broader focus and vision for Spurgeon College.”

For students specifically inclined toward serving in missions, King added the history curriculum provides valuable insight into the historical and cultural heritage of areas where they may serve or support as missionaries.

King explained that the B.A. in History program’s curriculum includes many of the vital standard courses like world, American, and church history, but it also includes exciting new courses in African, European, Asian, and Latin American history—taking the degree to the next level. “These globally infused historical courses,” he said, “are designed for students to understand the heritage, history, and culture of not only the United States, but of nations and cultures around the globe.”

One of the significant aspects of the history program that King said excites him is its globality. Tying together the fact that Spurgeon College’s exists “For the Kingdom,” and that Christ’s Kingdom is global, is something King hopes will be eye-opening for students.

“The Kingdom of God is advancing to the ends of the earth through faithful gospel ministers, and that’s the reason we’re here—to spread the fame of Christ from Eden to the ends of the earth,” he said. “So, students in our new history program, who may not initially possess a global perspective, may take an Asian history class and the Lord may open their hearts to that part of the world.

“Even if they’re not thinking of serving cross-culturally, learning the history and dynamics of varied global areas and cultures may help them to know how to pray better, or how to support those who are going to serve in those areas. The missions thrust and implications of the program are great.”

King added that another goal of the B.A. in History program is to prepare students to become excellent historians who possess a biblical worldview.

“Our hope is for students to come away from their studies with all the skills necessary to conduct solid research and methodology in the field of history,” he said. “But ultimately, we want them to use those skills to magnify our Triune God, while leading future generations to understand and appreciate the diverse histories and cultures of the world God has made.”

B.A. in Communications Updates

Patrick Hudson, coordinator of the B.A. in Communication degree program at Spurgeon College, noted that while the initial development of the communications program was well-designed with a mix of communications and business classes, the recent curricular updates are designed to maximize the practical and theoretical study of communications for students.

Hudson said a primary goal of Spurgeon College’s communications program is to provide students the best platform to launch into local church ministry or the marketplace for the kingdom.

He added, “By making these changes to the B.A. in Communications program, we now offer our students a strong mix of communications theory and practical skill application. Many communications programs are loaded toward the theoretical side, but we desire our students to have the hands-on skills needed to enter the ministry or marketplace and immediately make an impact for Christ.”

Changes to the communications program include replacing five business courses with new communications courses including Journalism II, Online Presence, Principles of Crisis Communication, Advanced Visual Communications, and Introduction to Communication Theory.

“We’re thrilled that students can dive more deeply into subjects like journalism, graphic design, and crisis communication while being exposed to communication theory and current digital communications technology like web development and social media strategy,” he said.

Hudson also explained that students in the current communications program will be unaffected by the changes, as all the communications and business courses are available to them. However, those wishing to pursue the updated degree would need to take all of the newly added courses to complete their degree.

One other aspect of the program that should be exciting to current and prospective students, Hudson noted, is the Communications Studies Capstone course. “This course culminates our communications students’ hard work and enables them to practice and hone their skills through internships and mentoring.”

Hudson said that through these internships students will also have an opportunity to learn from the best practitioners in the field of communications in areas such as journalism, graphic design, church communications, and public relations. He added, “We’re always looking for new partnerships, and we’ll need even more as our program continues to grow.”

At present, he said, Spurgeon College is partnering with SBC entity communications offices, state entity newspapers, local church communications teams, and local businesses to provide students with incredible opportunities to learn and serve.

Both King and Hudson shared that Spurgeon College’s Online Studies Department is hard at work ensuring that both programs are integrated online in the future. Hudson said the B.A. in Communications degree’s first online course, Introduction to Public Relations, will be available this fall semester, and others are currently being developed for future terms.

To learn more about the B.A. in History, which will be offered beginning this fall, or to apply for the program, visit https://www.spurgeoncollege.com/academics/bah.

To learn more about the B.A. in Communications degree or to apply for the program, visit https://www.spurgeoncollege.com/bacomm or contact Hudson directly at phudson@mbts.edu.

 

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Midwestern Seminary introduces free local church theological training through FTC Institute https://www.mbts.edu/2020/07/midwestern-seminary-introduces-free-local-church-theological-training-through-ftc-institute/ Tue, 07 Jul 2020 13:30:48 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31389 Midwestern Seminary announced today (July 7) the launching of the For the Church Institute—a free online training platform designed to provide accessible theological training to equip, encourage, and edify the local church and beyond. Jordan Wilbanks, director of church partnerships at Midwestern Seminary, acknowledged that there is a growing movement in local churches, called “church-based […]

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Midwestern Seminary announced today (July 7) the launching of the For the Church Institute—a free online training platform designed to provide accessible theological training to equip, encourage, and edify the local church and beyond.

Jordan Wilbanks, director of church partnerships at Midwestern Seminary, acknowledged that there is a growing movement in local churches, called “church-based theological education,” where regular church members are seeking out educational opportunities—such as classes typically taken in seminaries—from within their own churches.

In response to this need, Wilbanks said Midwestern Seminary has spent considerable time over the past year-and-a-half developing For the Church Institute, which provides solid theological training to local congregations through 10-week classes on foundational subjects like theology, church history, being a Christian, Old Testament, New Testament, and more.

“What we’ve aimed for in developing FTC Institute is to provide a curriculum consisting of shell versions of our core classes that are accessible for anyone from pre-teens to great-grandmothers,” Wilbanks said. “We want to remove the ivory tower image of a seminary in our dealings with churches. The fact is, we exist for local churches.

“Our primary goal is to strengthen the church from the inside out,” he added. “In these challenging cultural times, it’s imperative that our everyday church members know how to defend their faith and continue growing as a Christian.”

The FTC Institute, Wilbanks shared, is a free resource built specifically for church members to learn from Midwestern Seminary’s world-class faculty—making the Bible come alive and enabling believers to grow in a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Wilbanks added that through this program there is absolutely no intent to displace the local church pastor’s teaching responsibilities or teaching function. Rather, he noted, “For the Church Institute is a tool created to help church leaders shepherd their people and equip them for ministry.

“The courses are intended to help church members know God better through his Word under the instruction of their pastors with our professors as a resource. At Midwestern Seminary, we have a world class faculty, and FTC Institute shares them directly with local churches. In these classes, you can build a solid foundation of theological education to strengthen your faith and your confidence with the Word of God.”

Wilbanks said his office frequently hears from pastors wanting to provide some kind of educational structure so their people can grow deeper in their personal study and knowledge of God. In partnership, he said, FTC Institute desires to see these saints, with eyes trained on eternity, being equipped for the work of the ministry—while not leaving all the ministry to those in pastoral ministry.

For the Church Institute’s initial offerings include Church History I, taught by John Mark Yeats, dean of students and professor of church history; Theology I, led by Owen Strachan, associate professor of Christian Theology; “Being a Christian” with President Jason Allen; and “The Story of Everything” led by Jared Wilson, author-in-residence and assistant professor of pastoral ministry. Other courses to be developed in the future include Old Testament & New Testament Surveys and Interpreting the Bible.

Wilbanks explained that FTC Institute is a tool ready-made for pastors to help their churches without needing much prep time, and participating church members aren’t required to have any prior level of training to benefit from the courses. “Just come with a heart willing to learn more about the God who saw fit to come to the earth, save us from sin, death, and hell, and make us his own through his Son, Jesus Christ.”

The FTC Institute’s vision for the future is one in which each member of each Christian church is trained with sound doctrine to go and make disciples, Wilbanks said. “For the Church Institute is not a silver bullet or the ultimate answer to any church’s woes—again, that answer is Jesus Christ.

“But through these classes, we desire to have a church body in which 15-year-olds know that the Old and New Testaments are one story, revealing the Word made flesh. We need our oldest saints equipped and laser-focused for mission that they might share the great story of Scripture with friends who fear the darkness on the nearing horizon. As a result, the church of Jesus Christ will be made stronger.”

To learn more about the FTC Institute or register your church for the program, visit www.ftcinstitute.com.

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Midwestern Seminary grad assists in NYC COVID-19 hotspot hospital as ER nurse https://www.mbts.edu/2020/06/midwestern-seminary-grad-assists-in-nyc-covid-19-hotspot-hospital-as-er-nurse/ Mon, 22 Jun 2020 14:18:39 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31335 Just a few months prior, Daniel Pentimone fully expected to be celebrating the completion of his Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern Seminary with family and friends, just like any other graduate. Instead, on May 1 he spent the day at a Brooklyn, N.Y., hospital emergency room battling the COVID-19 pandemic and ministering to patients […]

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Just a few months prior, Daniel Pentimone fully expected to be celebrating the completion of his Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern Seminary with family and friends, just like any other graduate. Instead, on May 1 he spent the day at a Brooklyn, N.Y., hospital emergency room battling the COVID-19 pandemic and ministering to patients and medical staff.

Pentimone, who grew up in the Kansas City area, earned a nursing degree from Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley campus in 2012, and began working at Belton (Mo.) Regional Medical Center shortly after. Ever since, he’s served as an emergency room nurse.

He shared that it was his love for the stories of past medical missionaries like David Livingstone and Hudson Taylor as well as a desire for ministry through medicine that caused him to enter the nursing field.

As the pandemic swept the United States, word spread that his hospital might send him to assist in New Orleans but that never came to fruition. The idea, however, stuck with him, and he began to deeply consider if he’d be willing to go and serve at a hospital in a COVID hotspot.

Pentimone explained, “I realized, ‘Yes! Why shouldn’t I?’ I have the skills, experience, and flexibility to serve in a hard-hit location. More than that, I’m a Christian, and shouldn’t God’s people be the first to help out those in need?”

Initially, Pentimone heard that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was asking for nurses to help, as the city was overwhelmed with patients from COVID-19. So, he applied directly to two hospitals, which didn’t pan out, and then he decided to apply through a third-party organization that was deploying hundreds of nurses to the hotspot. He applied and, boom, he was on a plane to New York within 48 hours.

Pentimone departed for New York City on April 5, started work on April 10, and soon realized the task and the need were enormous, saying he was assigned to an inner-city emergency room in the heart of Brooklyn. He worked 46 shifts in 48 days—each of which lasted 12 hours and were all at night.

Such a schedule meant he and his coworkers all had very little down time, and sleep was always a precious commodity. Pentimone spent 80-to-90 percent of his shifts working in the ER, but he also floated to some of the “temporary” ICUs.

“There were so many COVID patients that they didn’t have enough room in the regular ICU, so they had to create these temporary units,” Pentimone said. “These units were lined with intubated, ventilated patients—scores of them—separated by curtains. Some of the nurses had little or no ICU experience, and the nurse/patient ratios were high. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but the need was so great. In the middle of a crisis, you figure out a way to make things work.”

Pentimone shared that the situation upon his arrival was abysmal, and he saw things he never would have imagined. “For a while, they were constantly paging ‘Code 99’ overhead, which is the equivalent of ‘Code Blue,’ or that someone’s heart had stopped. So, scores of people were dying every night I worked.”

Additionally, he said it was surreal to be in the makeshift ICUs, which looked just like the pictures on the news. Rows and rows of patients were lying in beds, on ventilators, unconscious, or barely alive. He said, “It was a spectacle of misery and death in many ways, and when you see that, it’s a really powerful reminder of the shortness of life, especially when you see people in their 40s that weren’t expected to make it.”

Even though he was only originally scheduled to work in NYC for three weeks, he ended up spending seven weeks there. His last day in Brooklyn was on May 29, and he believes the experience was a blessing.

“The experience really allowed me to live out my faith,” Pentimone shared. It enabled him to demonstrate “Christian love in action, and more than that, to care for individuals’ spiritually.” He added that patients coming into the ER with COVID-19 were often frightened, but he was able to share encouragement from God’s Word and pray with some of them.

He also had high praise for his coworkers saying the level of teamwork and comradery was at a level he’d never experienced before. “We were all there to complete a mission,” Pentimone said, “and we all looked out for each other.” This included dropping everything to help one another keep the patients alive.

As his experience in NYC ended, Pentimone said he was ready to get home and eager to return to his home church, Summit Woods Baptist Church in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The most difficult part, however, was coming back to a quarantine and going from constant action and chaos to nothing happening.

In the end, it was love that spurred on Pentimone to action. “I love to study theology and doctrine, and I’m grateful for my time at Midwestern Seminary,” Pentimone said, “but I think that, as Christians, we need to recognize that everything in the Christian life stems from love.

“Going to NYC was a unique opportunity for me to love God and others,” he continued. “At the same time, now that I’m home, my core calling remains the same: to love God and others. And that is something I’d encourage all believers to consider as well.”

So, while Pentimone didn’t have the opportunity to participate in commencement activities at Midwestern Seminary, neither did his classmates—as the school abided by local authorities’ health guidelines and shut down all activities for the semester due to the pandemic.

Instead, hospital coworkers celebrated his accomplishment with a surprise party on their unit with an ice cream cake, and Pentimone knew there was nowhere else God wanted him to be that day—sharing the love of Christ through his medical giftings and ministry preparation obtained at Midwestern Seminary.

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Spurgeon College’s Fusion offers alternative to high school grads’ gap year concept https://www.mbts.edu/2020/06/spurgeon-colleges-fusion-offers-alternative-to-high-school-grads-gap-year-concept/ Wed, 17 Jun 2020 12:47:38 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31326 Taking a year off after high school to contemplate next steps, make important life decisions, or traveling the world has become increasingly popular for graduates. However, Spurgeon College’s Fusion leadership is prepared to offer a solid alternative to this current student trend. For students not inclined to jump immediately into college life, Erik Odegard, director […]

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Taking a year off after high school to contemplate next steps, make important life decisions, or traveling the world has become increasingly popular for graduates. However, Spurgeon College’s Fusion leadership is prepared to offer a solid alternative to this current student trend.

For students not inclined to jump immediately into college life, Erik Odegard, director of Fusion, would encourage them to consider a program that provides all the elements of a traditional “gap year,” but offers missions experience, ministry training, and relationship building, all while working toward a bachelor’s degree.

Odegard said he understands the current cultural moment for students considering higher education. He noted there’s uncertainty about whether colleges will open in the fall or about how they’re responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families, he said, are saying, “Well, maybe this just isn’t the right year for you to start college.”

This is where Fusion meets a huge need, Odegard said. “There’s absolutely no uncertainty surrounding the fact that Spurgeon College will be open this fall. It will be, and that means Fusion will carry on with its mission as well.

And for students concerned about the reported second wave of the Coronavirus affecting schools’ operations, Odegard notes how Spurgeon College has implemented Residential Plus—an educational model that allows a seamless transition from the classroom to live online interaction between students and faculty in the event further disruption by COVID-19.

“Students can be 100-percent confident in completing a full school year at Spurgeon College,” Odegard said. “They don’t have to be concerned that their plans will be foiled. Essentially, what we’re saying is, ‘Don’t waste a year; don’t take a year off from college; we’ve got a way for you to redeem this year for Kingdom purposes.’”

But exactly how does Fusion supplant the gap year ideology? Foremost, Odegard explained, is that Fusion is a one-year program within a four-year degree. As students are experiencing all Fusion has to offer, they are concurrently earning credits toward college graduation with a B.A. in intercultural studies degree.

Secondly, Odegard said Fusion meets the predominant goals students typically look to accomplish by taking a gap year. This includes four ingredients: experiential learning, making a difference, authentic community, and travel/adventure.

Odegard highly encourages students to get their hands dirty pursuing interests and learning through experience, and “Fusion’s definitely a ‘get your hands dirty’ kind of program. Our training consists of very hands-on learning and a lot of simulation—like traveling around the U.S. before traveling internationally. Then, ultimately, if you want to be a missionary, we’re preparing you to go overseas for three months, where you’ll partner in gospel ministry alongside missionaries. That’s about as hands-on as you can get.”

Fusion also offers the opportunity for students to make a difference in the world. There are many ways in life to do this, Odegard shared, but he posits that if one desires to do this, do it by “investing in something with an eternal difference. We’ve got the greatest cause in all the world—making disciples of all nations.”

For students wondering where in life they fit in, Odegard shared that Fusion offers deep, authentic community.  Fusion students do life in small groups—together living in the dorm, taking classes, ministering around Kansas City, and traveling the world. They also worship together in local churches learning what true church membership looks like.

Lastly, Odegard explained that students are seeking adventure and desire to travel the U.S. and the world in search of it. This can be accomplished through Fusion because at the end of their year of training and studies, students go abroad and serve in ministry alongside International Mission Board missionaries.

This work isn’t done in garden spots; rather, “We leverage that desire to go to the fringes and places where few people have gone. We leverage that adventurous desire for the sake of the gospel and to establish and strengthen churches as we go.”

Luba Eady, an Accelerate program student at Spurgeon College, who’s pursuing a B.A. in intercultural studies and M.Div. in church planting, has taken both paths.

Eady took a gap year after graduating high school in 2018, and then joined Fusion in 2019. She explained that upon graduation she felt called into ministry, but she was unsure which field. As a result, she decided to take a year off from school to find clarity about which area of ministry to pursue.

After her gap year, Eady enrolled at Spurgeon College because Fusion offered her hands-on training that would prepare her for a lifetime of missions. She admitted, “I wanted to be challenged inside and outside a classroom setting, and Fusion provided the hands-on training opportunities.”

Eady shared that the biggest difference between a traditional gap year and her Fusion experience was how Fusion training equipped her for most any circumstance while also learning how to make disciples, who make disciples.

“There were multiple times where training that candidates receive in Fusion would have been handy for me while I was overseas on my gap year,” Eady said. “The training that’s received in Fusion doesn’t only prepare their candidates for a moment, but for a lifetime.”

If she had to do it all again, Eady said she might opt for a different route, saying, “In hindsight, after going on my gap year and then going to Fusion, I wouldn’t choose the same path. Instead, I would jump straight into Fusion after high school because I felt more prepared through Fusion for a lifetime of missions than I did through the training I received on my gap year.”

Ultimately, Odegard believes many students, like Eady, who take gap years wind up regretting the decision. “I think often, for a number of students, they’ll get later on in their degree and wish they’d gotten to school sooner because people their age will already be graduating. They’ll wish they’d already made that progress, and perhaps they’ll wish they would’ve used their gap year more effectively.

“Again, let me encourage students to not waste a valuable year of their life. Fusion meets the four ingredients they desire in a gap year, and it makes the most of their efforts for Kingdom purposes. I don’t believe anyone regrets progress toward their degree or getting to the mission field sooner.  Fusion can help you accomplish that.”

To learn more about Fusion at Spurgeon College, visit https://spurgeoncollege.com/academics/fusion/.

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Midwestern Seminary’s Accelerate program introduces four new tracks of study https://www.mbts.edu/2020/06/midwestern-seminarys-accelerate-program-introduces-four-new-tracks-of-study/ Mon, 01 Jun 2020 15:39:33 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31247 Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announced today (May 26) the addition of four new tracks of study within its Accelerate program. Accelerate, which allows students to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in only five years, now offers studies in the areas of missions, Christian education, and two biblical counseling tracks. The new tracks […]

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Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announced today (May 26) the addition of four new tracks of study within its Accelerate program.

Accelerate, which allows students to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in only five years, now offers studies in the areas of missions, Christian education, and two biblical counseling tracks. The new tracks will officially launch in Fall 2020, but enrollment is currently open, and students are encouraged to apply now for acceptance into the program.

Sam Bierig, dean of Spurgeon College, explained that: “At Spurgeon College, we recognize there are two things that will outlast this present age—souls and Scripture. The Accelerate program has historically proven to create experts in these two domains, all the while getting students to the field faster.

“I am thrilled to see the benefits of the Accelerate program extend to more specific vocational training for international missions, biblical counseling, and Christian education. The Accelerate program is a time-scholarship and a budget-scholarship unto itself, and I am excited to see a new wave of students trained better and faster for service to Christ and His Kingdom.”

Bierig added that the genius of the Accelerate program is it reduces eight-or-more years of study into five; thus, saving students considerable amounts in tuition and fees and getting them into their ministry field more quickly. Midwestern Seminary launched Accelerate in 2015, and five years later the program has paid dividends, having graduated 18 into ministry and 115 more students currently enrolled.

Now, with the addition of the new tracks of study within Accelerate, students can focus on a wider array of options for their theological education.

Taylor DiRoberto, Accelerate program coordinator, explained, “These additions are helpful because they will allow for Spurgeon and Midwestern students to earn graduate degrees in more specific vocational lanes in an accelerated timeframe, all the while growing through vocational mentorship and discipleship.”

He added that this concept follows along Spurgeon College’s vision of training leaders for a broad range of Kingdom roles including missions, Christian education, and biblical counseling.

Of the new offerings, the missions track is residential, while the two biblical counseling and the Christian education tracks are offered residentially and online.

Dale Johnson, associate professor of biblical counseling noted of the new biblical counseling track: “This is an excellent opportunity for qualified biblical counseling students to dive in and enjoy the breadth of a valuable general educational foundation, while remaining focused on the specific knowledge and skillsets they intend to build for practical ministry purposes.”

Erik Odegard, director of the Fusion program, added, “I have been eager for the release of Accelerate: Missions for some time because I see a powerful potential for putting better equipped laborers on the mission field faster. One might view it as a fast-track, of sorts, paving the way for students to apply earlier for appointments through the International Mission Board.”

He also explained that Fusion alumni and others pursuing missions ministry can, at times, be slowed down by having to double-back to earn graduate-level credits for work they’ve essentially already completed in their undergrad.

“Through more strategic alignment,” he said, “Accelerate: Missions will better serve students to reduce their financial and time commitment while also better serving hard places around the world in need of a missionary presence.”

According to Bierig, students involved in the Accelerate program experience a four-pronged approach:

Community: Accelerate implements a cohort structure which fits best-practice models throughout higher education for engaging students.  Bierig said this style of learning aids in retention, provides encouragement, and strengthens learning.

“Ultimately, it prepares the student for lifelong ministry and learning, supported in later years by communities of similar ethos,” he said. “A minister who refuses to minister alone is a minister who is built to last.”

Leadership: The Accelerate program’s cohorts and academic classes are designed to continually emphasize the necessary skills for each graduate to enter his or her ministry field as a high-capacity leader, according to Bierig.  Assessment structures, practicums, and regular courses contribute to the cohort structure, reinforcing leadership ideas that help each student to become better suited to the 21st century church.

Discipline: Bierig shared that the academic rigor of Accelerate challenges students to develop capacities of self-discipline that are essential to short- and long-term ministry success. To a certain extent, and by design, the proposed structure replicates the pressures of actual ministry.

He added, “If through the program students learn to manage reading loads, class projects, ministry obligations, and community responsibilities effectively, they will be more apt to maintain healthy balances in their future ministries.”

Experience: The environment sustained within Accelerate equips students with an essential package of theoretical knowledge, but it also engages students in first-hand ministry, alongside their formal studies. Bierig said Accelerate intensifies this combination still more.

“In their final year of study, students will be well-engaged in the apprenticeship phases of ministry service,” he said. “Especially for students who struggle with practical engagement, the required practicums in the fifth year create and require new opportunities for ministry.”

For more information about Accelerate, to learn more about its new tracks, or to start the enrollment process, visit https://spurgeoncollege.com/academics/accelerate/.

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We are ready for Fall 2020 https://www.mbts.edu/2020/05/we-are-ready-for-fall-2020/ Tue, 26 May 2020 16:53:16 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31222 The post We are ready for Fall 2020 appeared first on Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Introducing Residential Plus https://www.mbts.edu/2020/05/introducing-residential-plus/ Tue, 26 May 2020 16:51:13 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31219 The post Introducing Residential Plus appeared first on Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announce fall reopening plan – “Residential Plus” https://www.mbts.edu/2020/05/midwestern-seminary-and-spurgeon-college-announce-fall-reopening-plan-residential-plus/ Tue, 26 May 2020 16:40:26 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31218 Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announced today (May 26) its intention to reopen its on-campus classes and be fully operational for the fall semester. In light of sensitivities to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local government social distancing measures, that reopening will look slightly different than it has over the school’s 63-year history. […]

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Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announced today (May 26) its intention to reopen its on-campus classes and be fully operational for the fall semester. In light of sensitivities to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local government social distancing measures, that reopening will look slightly different than it has over the school’s 63-year history.

According to President Jason Allen, an initiative, known as Residential Plus, will be implemented for the fall semester. Under the plan, an innovative new platform will be introduced that combines world-class residential lectures with cutting-edge technology, resulting in one of the most flexible class experiences available.

Additionally, Allen noted that student, faculty, and staff safety is of paramount importance, and measures will be in place to not only meet but exceed public health guidelines.

“Our ambition to have residential classes this fall has never changed,” Allen said, “But we’ve deliberated significantly about how we can ensure the learning experience is safe from a public health standpoint and is also delivered with excellence regardless of what COVID-19 may throw at us.

On the safety front, Allen shared that Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College are taking steps, like extensive cleaning and implementing social distancing policies on campus, that students and their families would expect to be in place so that students can study in a safe environment.

In addition to safety, Allen said Residential Plus offers flexibility. He explained that a main question asked in the planning process was, “How do we adjust if COVID-19 spikes this fall or inhibits residential instruction in some way?”

“This fall we hope against that,” Allen said. “But we do anticipate the need to have an institutional dial that we can turn based upon what public health guidance and city and national officials are telling us about residential education.

The schools’ desire, Allen shared, is that every class takes place and that every student is able to attend those classes in person on campus this fall, “but if COVID-19 spikes, then we can seamlessly turn the dial, so to speak, and respond to that—delivering those classes live and interactively.”

Allen emphasized, “Regardless of what COVID-19 throws at us, ministry is too important. Ministry preparation is too urgent not to be strategic during this season. At Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, we’re being strategic, and we want our students back in the classroom training and preparing for their ministry calling.”

One other aspect considered by the schools’ administration when developing Residential Plus was the individual student’s comfort level and health considerations when it comes to social-distancing guidelines.

Allen explained that Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College will be understanding and sensitive in this area. He said, “After consulting with their professor(s), if a student doesn’t feel comfortable coming to class due to social distancing or individual health concerns, he or she can still take the class as normal via live, interactive delivery.”

John Mark Yeats, dean of students, noted that Residential Plus enables the fall semester to launch with a semblance of normalcy, but “with a modified structure that enables us to reduce physical class sizes and enhance the ‘new normal’ of digital classroom engagement.” He added that this hybrid model enables synchronous (or live presentation) class meetings during the normally scheduled class times.

These capabilities, Yeats acknowledged, are the best way to keep all of Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College’s students involved and pursuing their God-called theological education. He said, “We know this fall may be a bit different than what we are all used to, but it will be an incredible opportunity to show our students how much we care about their health and safety while affording them the instruction and preparation necessary for serving in a lifetime of ministry.”

In the weeks ahead, Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College faculty will also undergo training measures to ensure they are prepared for students’ return to classes. Provost Jason Duesing shared that there will be some issues to work out in preparation for the fall; however, he’s confident the Midwestern Seminary community is up to the task.

“One of the great joys I’ve had while serving here is seeing the growth of innovation as a key facet of the Midwestern Seminary mindset,” Duesing said. “From deans to faculty, there is a readiness to climb the next mountain and find new ways to do so ‘for the church.’ This mindset is vital for the present and future of Christian higher education—and Residential Plus is a fine example of that.”

Duesing also noted that while both schools’ on-campus experience will be slightly different this fall, Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College’s Online Studies Department is not impacted by Residential Plus and will continue business-as-usual.

The bottom line, according to Allen, is that “students can register for fall on-campus classes with confidence”—knowing that Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College are prepared for them and able to adapt to virtually any scenario.

To register for classes at Midwestern Seminary or Spurgeon College, visit www.mbts.edu/fall2020.

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Thomas Kidd lecture, Ph.D. presentations highlight MBTS virtual colloquy https://www.mbts.edu/2020/05/thomas-kidd-lecture-ph-d-presentations-highlight-mbts-virtual-colloquy/ Mon, 18 May 2020 18:20:17 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31156 Historical theology was the theme of the second annual Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Colloquy, which was held on May 8 via Zoom. The colloquy, which is a theological forum for MBTS’s doctoral students to present topics aimed at further scholarly discussion and hosted by Midwestern Seminary’s Residency Program, saw 14 presenters and over 60 people […]

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Historical theology was the theme of the second annual Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Colloquy, which was held on May 8 via Zoom.

The colloquy, which is a theological forum for MBTS’s doctoral students to present topics aimed at further scholarly discussion and hosted by Midwestern Seminary’s Residency Program, saw 14 presenters and over 60 people attending via virtual format from across the country and even overseas.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the colloquy, which ordinarily would be held at Midwestern Seminary’s Kansas City campus, was presided over by Owen Strachan, associate professor of Christian theology and director of the Residency Program at MBTS. He opened the event by encouraging attendees that during this season when many are fighting to survive and exist, that “at Midwestern Seminary, we are not only trying to exist, but to thrive theologically, academically, and institutionally.”

Strachan charged the presenters to keep pushing intellectually and theologically, and he expressed that great leadership is a key component to thriving in “God’s kindness.”

“I want us to revel in the life of the theological mind,” Strachan said to the group of doctoral students. “A colloquy on historical theology lets us do just this. In a season when so much is unsettled, we have the joyful privilege of studying the work and doctrine of God in history. What better pursuit than this when we feel tempted to drop back and ease up? We want to think with excellence unto the glory of God, and we believe this is valuable in any season, easy or hard.”

He added that the seminary’s prime focus is to take students deep into the Word of God so that they can minister the grace of God to the church of God. “We believe in scholarly excellence, but it is all submitted to the all-conquering, all-ruling Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

After Strachan’s introductory comments, each of the 14 presenting students was given two minutes to provide a summary of his or her paper. Afterward, other students, along with Kidd and Strachan, took time to further the dialogue on the varied subjects and give the presenters an opportunity to further elaborate on their conclusions.

Thomas Kidd, distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and distinguished professor of church history at Midwestern Seminary, assisted in evaluating the presentations and was also the keynote speaker, presenting on the topic, “Who is an Evangelical: The History of a Movement in Crisis” from his recent work which carries the same title.

Following the student presentations and discussions, Kidd’s lecture offered a flowing narrative of the timeline of Evangelicalism in America. He charted how the term evangelical went from denoting one who believed in a born-again experience tied to faith in Christ to a social-political affiliation and even became tied to racial culture.

This change in the term’s meaning was, according to Kidd, due to a fight within evangelical Christianity against theological liberalism, which embraced arguments against the inerrancy of the Bible and scientific thoughts such as evolution. This would all manifest itself in the ties between Evangelicalism and politics, as exemplified in partnerships between Billy Graham and U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

Today, Kidd said, this phenomenon can be seen in the connection between the term evangelical and those who support current president Donald Trump.

Kidd closed his argument with a charge to reclaim the term back to its roots of belief in Christian conversion, the inerrancy of the Bible, and God’s presence in the world as defining those who are evangelical.

Doctoral students who participated in the event spoke highly of the overall experience as well as the adapted format in light of social distancing measures.

Travis Montgomery, Ph.D. student and member of the Residency Program, who presented on the biblical-theological foundations of Abraham Kuyper, said, “It was a great relief in the midst of the stay-at-home order to enjoy some digital academic fellowship. This year’s colloquy was certainly unusual, but it presented a great opportunity to learn and grow. Our students are excellent, and the benefit of the interdisciplinary vision of the colloquy and the Residency was on full display.”

Another Ph.D. student and Residency member, C.J. Moore, addressed the group on “the dangers of presenting Christ as our ‘ancestor,’ which can lead to issues of heresy and promoting the African ancestor mythology.” He explained that the unique format of presenting in two minutes afforded him the opportunity to hone and craft a concise summary for his paper’s argument.

Moore also appreciated the thoughtful interaction from Strachan and Kidd saying, “When it comes to historical matters, Christian or otherwise, Dr. Kidd is surely considered one of the best historians of our time. To be able to present my paper before him, Dr. Strachan, and fellow MBTS students, was a blessing that I do not take lightly, and it made me even more diligent to do the most excellent work I could do.”

The Residency program has been offered at Midwestern Seminary since 2016 and combines the best aspects of the American Ph.D. program and the traditional U.K. doctoral model. The goal of the Residency, according to Strachan, is to merge independent advanced theological research with cohort-based mentorship and oversight. This is all done via regular, intensive engagement with faculty and other theological leaders within the normal rhythm of the unique on-campus ministry culture of Midwestern.

Strachan further noted, “The Residency is a unique program that offers students an intellectual community sparked by sound doctrine and a commitment to fellowship. We want it to have a Shire-like feel, and in some ways it does.

“Our weekly gatherings allow us to hear from faithful Christian leaders of varying vocations, deepening both the faith and practice of our students.”

The Residency plans to hold its third colloquy in May 2021.

For more information about The Residency, visit https://www.mbts.edu/degrees/doctoral-studies/the-residency/, or Midwestern Seminary’s doctoral program, visit https://www.mbts.edu/degrees/doctoral-studies/.

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Midwestern Seminary faculty, students read “Lost Sermons” and contribute to “24 Hours with Charles Spurgeon” event https://www.mbts.edu/2020/05/midwestern-seminary-faculty-students-read-lost-sermons-and-contribute-to-24-hours-with-charles-spurgeon-event/ Thu, 14 May 2020 14:59:05 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31137 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (MBTS) – Evangelicals from across the globe, including faculty and students from Midwestern Seminary, partnered together on May 8-9 with Spurgeon’s College in London via a digital age event called “24 Hours with Charles Spurgeon.” During the event, participants from the U.K., the United States, New Zealand, and Australia took turns reading […]

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (MBTS) – Evangelicals from across the globe, including faculty and students from Midwestern Seminary, partnered together on May 8-9 with Spurgeon’s College in London via a digital age event called “24 Hours with Charles Spurgeon.”

During the event, participants from the U.K., the United States, New Zealand, and Australia took turns reading selections from the venerable Victorian preacher’s sermons, letters, and other works via Zoom and then provided insight into those works to benefit today’s listeners. In sum, each had 30 minutes’ time to contribute.

Spurgeon College’s Principal, Philip McCormack, shared that “While Spurgeon’s writings were the initial focus, we wanted each reader to focus upon the biblical principles that Spurgeon had been speaking on and offer a contemporary application, especially in the context of a global pandemic.”

A group of six faculty members and students from Midwestern Seminary took part in the event, reading messages from The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon series—which features 400 of Spurgeon’s earliest sermons, written from 1851-1854 during his first pastorate at Waterbeach, near Cambridge, in England.

Midwestern Seminary Provost and General Editor of the Lost Sermons Jason Duesing noted that “These sermons are more than the early ‘trial-runs’ of a young preacher. Yes, Spurgeon was 16-19 years old at the time, but even then, his God-given gifts of genius and zeal were on display.”

B&H Academic began releasing the multi-volume series in 2017 and currently has three volumes in print. Work is underway and progressing on volumes four-through-seven, with volume four due out in November.

McCormack noted that millions of Christians around the world today continue to read Spurgeon’s sermons and books and added that Spurgeon “has left the whole Christian church a rich legacy and treasure-store of material that continues to bless God’s people because the spiritual principles contained in the Bible are timeless.

“This God-gifted preacher never ceased to have his Lord, Jesus Christ, as his primary focus; Christ was the creed upon which he built his life and ministry.”

Of Midwestern Seminary’s participation in the event, Duesing—who read sermon 198, “Going Out of the Camp”—said that a day reading Spurgeon’s sermons is day well spent. “Reading Spurgeon’s sermons always turns into a doxological event for me as he, even as a young preacher, always pointed to Jesus Christ and directs one’s heart and mind upward to him. Thus, I am grateful for Spurgeon’s College, London, for their hosting this event and for our partnership with them and B&H Academic that gave us the opportunity to participate.”

Newly appointed Curator of The Spurgeon Library and volume editor of the Lost Sermons, Geoff Chang, said that it was an honor to join in the event with so many others who have contributed toward Spurgeon scholarship and to provide hope from Spurgeon’s messages in light of Covid-19.

He read from a message in Lost Sermons, vol. 6, entitled “Christ is Precious” from 1 Peter 2:7, saying, “Amidst a global pandemic, I wanted to give Spurgeon a chance to remind us of how Christ is more precious than anything else we might hold dear or any worldly treasure we might lose.”

In all, Chang said, he was thankful that the “24 Hours with Charles Spurgeon” event highlighted the solid scholarship that is taking place at Midwestern Seminary as well as the important contribution of The Spurgeon Library through The Lost Sermons.

Another participant, Ed Romine—who is a Midwestern Seminary Ph.D. student and research assistant in The Spurgeon Library and read sermon 147, “The Joy of Heaven” from The Lost Sermons Volume 3—shared his hope for the event is that it showed viewers around the world that MBTS is among the premiere institutions to study the life and legacy of C.H. Spurgeon.

Romine noted, “It gave me great joy to participate in a far-reaching event where Spurgeon’s sermons could encourage believers and evangelize the lost. Any chance I can get to preach Christ, through Spurgeon, I will take it!”

Summing up the event, McCormack shared, “I am grateful to God for his grace and mercy in turning the initial, slightly crazy idea into an amazing, global event in the space of only three weeks. This would not have been possible without the gracious and generous support of friends like Midwestern and the other Christian universities, seminaries, colleges, pastors, ministers and missionaries that were willing to support the idea of ‘24 Hours with Charles Spurgeon.’”

Those who missed “24 Hours with Charles Spurgeon,” can view the event by visiting https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqJkxquIQYErJAJwI5a6RVA

To learn more about The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, visit https://mbts.cc/lostsermons-4, and to learn more about The Spurgeon Library, visit https://spurgeon.org.

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CARES Act funds https://www.mbts.edu/2020/05/cares-act-funds/ Mon, 11 May 2020 13:37:22 +0000 https://www.mbts.edu/?p=31125 The Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Congress have created the CARES Act, which allows for students who have incurred expenses due to campus disruption caused by COVID-19 to be eligible for a grant. ED has required educational institutions to follow many restrictions when disbursing funds. Thus, a limited amount of MBTS students will […]

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The Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Congress have created the CARES Act, which allows for students who have incurred expenses due to campus disruption caused by COVID-19 to be eligible for a grant. ED has required educational institutions to follow many restrictions when disbursing funds. Thus, a limited amount of MBTS students will be qualified to receive these funds. If it has been determined that you meet all of the requirements, you will receive an email with an application to apply for these funds. Please note, applying for the CARES Act funds does not mean you will receive the grant.

Students with questions can reach out to financialaid@mbts.edu for more information.

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