Asbury Seminary Trains 1,000 Church Planters
The Asbury Seminary Church Planting Initiative (CPI) connects, trains, and mobilizes God’s people to plant and ReMission reproducing churches in every context. Originally tasked with training 800 church planters by 2023, the Church Planting Initiative quickly expanded its goal and its focus to include assessment tools, personal coaching, and annual fellowship grants for selected planters. CPI has not only met, but exceeded the 800 planters goal, training 1,000 church planters to serve globally.
“The majority of church planters will never come to Seminary, so we need to take the Seminary to them,” Dr. Winfield Bevins, Director of the Church Planting Initiative, said. “Out of this 1,000, 150 have been graduates from our degree programs. That means more than 800 might have never come to Asbury Seminary for a traditional degree, but through Institutes, certificate programs and other resources, the Church Planting Initiative partners with those in the field and shares training and resources to those who would not have access.”
The Church Planting Initiative began in 2013 and creates bridges for bi-lateral learning between Asbury Seminary and the global church planting community. In 2014, Dr. Winfield Bevins joined the Seminary community as the founding director of this new initiative due to his own work in leading both revitalization efforts as well as planting a successful church in North Carolina. The Initiative offers a variety of tools to train church planters, including institutes, events, fellowships and degrees.
“As we approach our 100-year anniversary in 2023, I am incredibly grateful for the work of the church planting initiative and its commitment to provide life-long learning for pastors, church leaders and laity,” Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, President of Asbury Seminary, said. “With this achievement, we continue to realize our goal of equipping the global church and increasing accessibility to those in ministry around the world. We are grateful for the tireless work of all involved and pray God’s continued blessing on them and those they serve.”
The Asbury Seminary Church Planting Institute offers affordable, non-residential training so that participants can be equipped to learn while within the context of their ministry. Traditionally, the Institute has consisted of five content modules that are offered in one-to-two-day intensive formats at a regional site and can usually be completed in six months to a year. CPI also offers regional hubs, online learning labs, and shorter modules, as well as a variety of other formats to train church planters within their context.
The regional hub strategy allows the Seminary to partner with organizations, institutions, or networks of churches that are raising up indigenous planters. The Church Planting Connection offers more than 200 online resources, including a community that nourishes international and cross-cultural relationships between planters who would not have met otherwise.
CPI also offers monthly virtual Learning Lab events and fellowship opportunities to further train church planting leaders. Each year, qualified church planters in their first three years of ministry have the opportunity to apply for the fellowship and receive funding of up to $5,000, enjoy free resources and receive regular coaching from an expert in a contextually appropriate area. Moving forward, planters can work towards the minimum of 30 contact hours to achieve a training certification through a combination of Institutes, events, webinars, and one-on-one coaching.
The Church Planting Initiative plans to connect, train and mobilize more than 10,000 church planters through a wide array of initiatives by 2030.