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Published Date: February 1, 2018

Announcing the Asbury Church Planting Fellowship!

We are excited to be launching the Asbury Church Planting Fellowship in March! Designed to form a collaborative partnership with women and men who are engaging in new, innovative approaches to church planting and fresh expressions in the 21st century, we are inviting planters within the first three years of the planting process to participate in this exclusive training cohort.

Beginning with a training event with Alan Hirsch at our Wilmore Campus on March 8-9, planters will present summaries of their context, vision, and strategic plans before our team and the top ten candidates will be selected to join a one-year training group. Those selected will receive grant funding of up to $10,000, enjoy free resources, participate in regular coaching calls, and attend an annual retreat focused on leadership and spiritual formation.
If God is calling you to plant an innovative church and you are in the first three years of the planting process, then click below to read more and begin the application process! Deadline to apply is Feb. 21. Apply Now:

Asbury Seminary Receives Major Lilly Grant

Asbury Theological Seminary has received a $999,515 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in support of its Thriving in Ministry Initiative. The grant is the result of a two-phased application process. In the first phase, the Seminary applied for and received a planning grant of $50,000 to allow for exploration of potential participation in the initiative. Organizations which were awarded the planning grant were then eligible to apply for the implementation grant to execute their plans.

“This Lilly Endowment grant speaks directly to the heart of Asbury’s mission,” President Timothy C. Tennent said. “Especially as we seek to encourage women leaders and pastors to thrive in their ministries, as well as our ongoing commitment to banded discipleship which creates accountability and transformation among Christian leaders. We are delighted about the multi-year adventure which awaits us in these vital areas.”

Asbury Seminary’s project takes a unique approach that will unfold during a five-year research, piloting, and implementation period. The project will address issues facing clergy from three under-addressed groups and how they can thrive in the initial phases of their ministry. These groups include women pastors in their first five years, Latina/o bi-vocational pastors in their initial years of ministry, and church planters, particularly within multi-cultural settings, during their inaugural period of ministry.

Seminary leaders believe that pastors in these three groups can be served effectively within Asbury Seminary’s theology, ethos, and expertise through the historic Wesleyan practice of connecting small groups together in “bands,” to provide contexts for mutual encouragement, education and continuing peer relationships. The banded-discipleship groups will be facilitated through the NewRoom Bands web-based app through the Seedbed initiative of Asbury Seminary.

The first three years of the grant funding will be used to research and pilot-test the content and banded-discipleship to support the target clergy groups to “thrive in ministry.” During years four and five, the participants will transition to financially supporting the services.

The overall thriving initiative will be housed within the Provost’s Office and under the co-direction of Dr. David Gyertson, Associate Provost, and Dr. Brian Yeich, Assistant Provost. Leadership will be drawn from multiple departments and areas of the Seminary: the Alumni Office and Chapel Office for the women in ministry sub-group; the Asbury Latino Center based on Asbury Seminary’s Florida Dunnam Campus for the bi-vocational Latina/o ministry; and the areas of Leadership, Church Planting, the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, and the Counseling department for the church planting sub-group.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a national private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion

Asbury Theological Seminary is an independent, non-denominational school of theology with campuses in Wilmore, Ky. and Orlando, Fla., as well as an online program and an extension site in Memphis, Tenn. Accredited by The Association of Theological Schools and the Southern Association of Schools – Commission on Colleges, Asbury Seminary has as its mission the preparation of men and women for a variety of ministries in the Wesleyan tradition.

Dr. Steve Stratton and Team Awarded Research Grant from Louisville Institute

Asbury Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, Dr. Steve Stratton and colleagues received a grant from the Louisville Institute to fund a longitudinal study looking at Christian college and university students negotiating the intersection of gender identity and faith. This grant represents collaboration not only between the Seminary and Asbury University, but also between Regent University and Houghton College. The grant funds two years of quantitative and qualitative study of Christian undergraduates, while also supporting research assistants from among Asbury Seminary’s counseling program.

The study seeks to respectfully listen to students who entrust these researchers with their stories as they navigate the intersection of gender and spiritual identities. “We hope to hear the ‘voices’ of those students in Christian colleges and universities who are living, learning, and developing in the midst of faith-based academic communities,” Professor Steve Stratton said. “We want to understand the student experience, and we also want to hear about the influence of Christian community on this developmental process of Christian students.”

Dr. Mark Yarhouse, Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology at Regent University, leads the study. Mike Lastoria, retired Director of Counseling Services at Houghton College; Janet Dean, associate professor at Asbury University; and Stratton complete the research team.

This study begins this team’s second longitudinal study looking at the sexual minority experiences on Christian college and university campuses.  The first focused on the LGB experience among undergraduate Christians and will be published as an IVP Academic book entitled Listening to Sexual Minorities: A Study of Faith and Sexual Identity on Christian College Campuses in Spring 2018.

Roman But Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years After the Reformation

Asbury’s Dr. Kenneth J. Collins alongside Jerry L. Walls recently released their book, Roman But Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years After the Reformation. This book offers a clearly written, informative, and fair critique of Roman Catholicism in defense of the catholic faith. Two leading evangelical thinkers in church history and philosophy summarize the major points of contention between Protestants and Catholics, honestly acknowledging real differences while conveying mutual respect and charity. The authors address key historical, theological, and philosophical issues as they consider what remains at stake five hundred years after the Reformation. They also present a hopeful way forward for future ecumenical relations, showing how Protestants and Catholics can participate in a common witness to the world.

Kenneth J. Collins (PhD, Drew University) is professor of historical theology and Wesley studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He has authored or edited over a dozen books, including Exploring Christian Spirituality. Collins is also an internationally known Wesley scholar who has written four books on the subject.


“‘Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.’ The poet Yeats probably did not have the Roman Catholic Church in mind, but Collins and Walls do, and they make a vigorous case here for why Rome should not insist on being the exclusive center of the catholic church. Roman centricity deconstructs true catholicity by suggesting that Orthodox and Protestant churches are deficient; it similarly undermines canonicity (i.e., biblical authority) insofar as sola scriptura is virtually displaced by sola Roma. Collins and Walls remind us that what continues to divide Christians 500 years after the Reformation are not simply disagreements over doctrine or the authority and interpretation of Scripture, but differences over the nature of the church and the meaning of catholicity.”

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“For decades, there has been a spirited polemic against Protestantism that sought intellectual solace and resolution in converting to Rome. It was only a matter of time before somebody, somewhere, would challenge this whole operation. Collins and Walls have done so in a way that lowers the temperature but does not shirk the full range of issues at stake. The claims of the Roman church are subject to searching examination in an irenic yet candid assessment. No doubt the debate will continue; we can only hope that the tone and content will be better as a result of their efforts.”

William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

“The thesis of Roman but Not Catholic is that ‘the Church of Rome is not sufficiently catholic,’ and authors Collins and Walls support that admittedly ironic claim irenically but stringently. This is a book every Protestant who feels some pull toward Rome must read before converting. It should also be read by every Protestant who knows a fellow Protestant moving toward Rome.”

Roger E. Olson, Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

“The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation has spawned a number of attempts to explain why it happened and why it still matters. In this volume, Kenneth Collins and Jerry Walls paint a picture of Catholicism that is broader and more authentically traditional than the one professed by the Roman church. They do so with both clarity and charity and demonstrate that evangelical Protestantism has a strong claim to be the truest expression today of the faith once delivered to the saints.”

Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

Warner Press Releases 1st Book for Longtime Church of God Pastor  

Warner Press continues its strong relationship with the Church of God by publishing the first book of longtime pastor and 1995 Asbury Seminary alumna, Melissa Pratt.  Pratt’s new book, Impact, shares how you can use your role as a disciple of Jesus to change and impact others’ lives for the better.

“As believers in Christ we are called to make an impact on the world for Christ,” said Melissa Pratt. “Our lives should be so impacted by the Gospel that as we live out its message we are convincing evidence that Christ is real and that His presence brings real and positive transformation to a surrendered life.” Dr. Pratt’s book deals with questions such as:  How do you want your life to influence others? Who will follow Jesus more closely because they want more of what they see in you? This book is an invitation to think about the personal impact you could make on those around you.

Read what others are saying about Impact:

Impact is a delightful read that challenges us to think clearly about leaving a mark on the world.  Melissa Pratt draws creative pictures of how God’s body-the church-can make a difference in today’s culture.  She packs the book with deep meaning for all Christians who desire to be Jesus to the world in which they live.  Read it.  Enjoy it.  Live it.  -Gary L. McIntosh, Professor, Speaker, and Author

Jesus famously called his followers to become salt and light.  These are the two drivers of Christian ministry, bringing influence that changes the taste, tenor, and perspective of everything (and everyone) it touches.  They are Kingdom words and Kingdom commands.  But, with the velocity of change and challenge in the modern world, how do we live up to this high calling?  Impact is Melissa Pratt’s answer–grounded in Scripture, inspired by the Spirit, and proven true by the extraordinary pastoral experience and witness that mark her walk with Jesus.  Impact is more than a “how to,” it is a “why not me and why not here, now?”  Read it and change your world. -Rev. Jim Lyon, General Director, Church of God Ministries

Impact is available online at and is also available at Amazon.

Rev. Dr. Melissa Pratt has been the Senior Pastor of the Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, since February of 2007. Prior to accepting that call, she served as the Assistant Pastor of the Dayspring Church of God in Cincinnati, Ohio, for twelve years. Melissa is a 1991 graduate of Anderson University and a 1995 graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. She has also received her Doctorate of Worship Studies from the Institute for Worship Studies in 2007.  Between college and seminary, she served the Church of God as a Special Assignment Missionary to the island of Cyprus in the Middle East. In addition to her pastoral work, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband, Rev. Thom Pratt, and their children, Hannah and Joshua. She also enjoys writing, travel, movies, plays, and concerts.

Talking With God

I still can’t believe I wrote a book. Crazy, right? Want to know something crazier? Talking With God is being re-released as a soft cover with a brand new chapter (on listening to God). I’m SO excited about the re-release, but even more excited that I get to add a chapter I really felt was missing. 

To help spread the word, I’m assembling another book launch team! 500 people to be part of my team. 500 people who are crazy enough to help spread the word about this book, again! (Please only sign up if you’re willing to do the 2 things mentioned below). 

Beyond thankful. For more information about the book launch team, click here.

Asbury’s Community Garden Featured in Christianity Today!

Asbury Theological Seminary’s Community Garden was featured in an incredible article in Christianity Today as part of a study on what has been termed “Farminaries” and their ability to grow community, provide food, and teach important Christian values such as creation care as well as sustaining and stewarding the good gifts God has given us, including the earth below our feet. It was such an honor for our hard work in the field of creation care and community building to be acknowledged by such a publication.

Bat Tongs and Other Humorous Reflections on Pastoral Ministry

Get ready to laugh and completely relate to the adventure that is pastoral ministry! Alumnus Jeff Crawford tells his best stories.

A word from the author:
Bat Tongs and other Humorous Reflections on Pastoral Ministry is a 188 page book covering more than thirty three years of pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church. This book contains 60 humorous reflections featuring the characters and experiences that made up the fabric of pastoral ministry in four congregations plus my time as a District Superintendent in what was then the Olean District of the old Western New York Conference (Now absorbed into the Upper NY Conference).  
Bat Tongs is available through Amazon, but I have distributed 300 signed and personalized copies through a book signing tour of the churches I served, etc. I have made the book available for a reduced cost and have given many copies away, inviting folks to make a contribution to the church budget or a special project. 
Many reviews have complimented the story-telling which is central in the book. This was a labor of love as is the second book I am engaged in writing. The second book will include how God shaped my life during my first thirty years and will include reflections on my four years (1972 – 1976) at ATS. I met my wife of 42 years while a student at the seminary and must say that professors such as Chuck Killian helped nurture my creative juices.
Jeff Crawford, M Div 1972


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