FROM THE SEMINARIES: Spurgeon College broadens Fusion to North America; Boyce College adds communications program

by Southern Baptist Seminary Staff, posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 (4 months ago)

Midwestern's Spurgeon College broadens Fusion to North America

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) -- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and its Spurgeon College have announced a partnership with the North American Mission Board to give missions-minded college students an opportunity to train and be mentored by church planters and serve local churches within the North American context.

Fusion students previously have trained at Spurgeon College's Kansas City campus during their first semester of the program and then deployed to serve overseas with International Mission Board missionaries during their second semester. Now through the program known as Fusion: North America, they will train on campus in the fall and spring semesters, then deploy over the summer months to locations such as New York City, Puerto Rico and Quebec.

"Much thought, planning and effort have gone into bringing this concept to reality," Midwestern President Jason Allen said, "and we are very much looking forward to the ways it will benefit the local church. We are grateful to NAMB President Kevin Ezell and his team for their willingness to partner and provide such an incredible opportunity to our students."

While the seminary's existing IMB partnership -- now known as Fusion: International -- will continue, Fusion: North America will enable students also to develop "a passion for missions where there is great need -- right here in North America," Allen said. "Our goal is to instill in these students a heart for a lifetime of serving Jesus Christ and proclaiming the Gospel to the lost."

Ezell echoed Allen's comments, describing the partnership as "an incredible opportunity for Spurgeon College students to gain experience on the mission field and serve alongside missionaries who are sharing Jesus every day. I am grateful to Jason Allen and the Midwestern leadership for putting their institution on the front lines like this.

"We need more workers in the harvest," Ezell added. "Fusion: North America will give college students hands-on experience, but my prayer also is that it will ignite a passion for the mission field and for reaching the lost. Everyone has a part to play in this task, and we hope this opportunity will help more people discover their calling."

In Fusion: North America training, students will spend time during their first year at Spurgeon College living within the context of a cohort that is intentionally preparing for a summer of service alongside a NAMB church planter.

Cohorts will participate in evangelism and Bible-centered life-on-life discipling, beginning from the training phase through the summer project, lasting approximately 10 weeks.

"Fusion has always been about releasing biblical adults committed to a lifetime of making disciples for God's glory," said Erik Odegard, director of the Fusion program. "We have always achieved this goal through a process, which includes life-on-life discipleship, practical challenging training, and an international deployment. So, what we've essentially done is to change the location of deployment. We're looking for some of our students to serve alongside North American church planters while others will serve with international missionaries."

Odegard said a few training elements will be tailored specifically to North American church planting, but the end goal remains the same.

"Now, we get to expose Fusion teams to the work and lives of North American church planters -- seeing the way that church planters lay down their lives for the sake of the Gospel. This will give our students a whole new perspective on what it looks like to leverage their lives for the glory of God."

Founded in 2005 at Midwestern College (now Spurgeon College), Fusion began as a directional process whereby young Christian adolescents would grow into biblical adulthood by embracing the call of the Gospel through several rites of passage. The Fusion leadership team engaged the students in spiritual, academic, physical and contextual training. As the small group teams matured and developed, they deployed in their second semester to overseas locations to serve alongside missionaries and to proclaim the Gospel to a lost world. Fusion's motto is, "So that others may hear and live."

To learn more about Fusion: North America, visit https://www.spurgeoncollege.com/fusion-na.

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Boyce College adds communications program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Boyce College has announced a new bachelor of science degree in communication, extending the mission of the school to new academic territory, said Matthew J. Hall, dean of Boyce College.

Boyce is the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"As we explored the next stage of Boyce College's academic development, the degree program that immediately came to the fore was something in the field of communication," Hall said, noting that the college extensively researched the program's viability in both general demand for students with skills related to the field of communication and employment outlook for such graduates.

"The program seemed to be immediately and naturally consistent with our institutional mission and philosophy of education," Hall said. "We are hopeful that the major will continue the vision that we've had for all of our degree programs -- that students would have expanded opportunities to discern their vocation and to be well-equipped for wherever God would send them in the world."

The program will take an interdisciplinary approach to studying influential communication techniques and concepts, with 42 hours in their major and 30 hours of biblical training. Students with this degree will be equipped for a number of fields in a diverse and complex world: Christian ministry, business, public relations, marketing, sales and government service. The curriculum will include a series of communication courses including mass media, intercultural communication and communication theory. The program also will include a concentration in "strategic communication," which focuses on the business side of communications.

"I really cannot think of a degree better suited to meet the needs of the 21st century, to help to give a rising generation of young Christians critical skills in very important dimensions of communication," said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary and Boyce College. "In the secular world, in the international arena, in the church and everywhere you look, skills in communication are becoming more and more necessary. This degree program is going to equip a new generation of Christians to be effective and faithful communicators in a world that desperately needs not only skills in communication, but needs to hear the Gospel, biblical truth, communicated."

The B.S. in communication is a continuation of Boyce's mission, Hall said. All degree programs at Boyce -- including business, education, philosophy, politics and economics -- offer students an extensive education in biblical and theological studies.

Students who graduate from the communications program will get a premier classical theological education, Hall said. "It's the same core curriculum that's in every one of our majors, but they'll also get with that a cutting-edge education in the field of communication studies that will allow them to take timeless truth and apply it to the 21st century wherever God takes them."

Leading the program will be Jason Leverett, who will be associate professor of communication and program coordinator.

Leverett joins the college after nearly a decade of teaching experience in the field, most recently as assistant professor of strategic communication at Liberty University in Virginia. He holds a doctor of philosophy and master of arts in communication from Regent College in Virginia Beach, Va., and an undergraduate degree from Liberty. Leverett and his wife Heather have four boys.

"As we explored what this program should look like and the way it would best serve our mission and our students, it became exceptionally clear early in the process that the Lord was leading us to Jason Leverett," Hall said. "Dr. Leverett is a proven teacher with ample experience. His research and scholarship in the field is highly respected, and he brings a unique awareness of what this major needs to look like in the 21st century for a school like Boyce College. He's an innovative thinker, a passionate teacher, and he's a gracious and kind Christian gentleman with a wonderful family."

The announcement of Boyce's communications degree comes shortly after its business program added multiple new emphases: financial and accounting management; nonprofit management; and entrepreneurial management. The communication program will launch in the fall 2019 term. More information is available at www.boycecollege.com/academics. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Spurgeon College also is launching a communications degree. See https://www.mbts.edu/2018/12/bachelor-of-arts-in-communications-degree-now-offered-at-spurgeon-college.

Reported by T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the communications office of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston contributed to this digest.
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