WILMORE, Ky., June 10, 2024 – On May 9-10, 2024, Asbury Theological Seminary hosted a Pastoral Residency Symposium at the Tulsa Extension Site. Pastors were invited from churches with pastoral residency or fellowship programs that have not previously required formal theological education. The symposium was also a step in building relationships with churches that have a similar mission and vision as Asbury Seminary.

The event in Tulsa was an opportunity for these pastors to talk to one another and share ideas. Drs. John Ragsdale, Jonathan Powers, and Kevin Watson represented Asbury Seminary at the meeting. 

“Asbury Seminary is passionate about serving the local church,” said Dr. Kevin M. Watson, the Director of Academic Growth and Formation for Asbury Seminary. “Many of the fastest growing churches in the United States do not have institutions beyond the local church serving them. This is especially true of theological education. We are thrilled to have a chance to build relationships with the pastors of these churches.” 

The Master of Biblical and Theological Foundations (MBTF) was a focus of the conversation as a way that the Seminary would partner with these churches in raising up the next generation of leaders for the church. The MBTF is a 39-hour degree that focuses on building a strong biblical, theological, and historical foundation for church leaders with online courses that allow them to learn while remaining immersed in their ministry contexts. The program provides an opportunity to partner with churches that have not previously been connected to formal theological education through a degree program that meets their needs.  

Dr. Jonathan Powers, incoming interim Dean of the School of Mission and Ministry, noted the  Seminary’s enthusiasm for partnering with churches and “the numerous ways we can partner with them to support and enhance the valuable work they are doing for the Kingdom.” 

Dr. John Ragsdale, the incoming interim Provost for Asbury Seminary summarized the strategic importance of the Pastoral Residency Symposium: 

“Conversations like the one we had in Tulsa recently are of signature importance for us. Engaging with these leaders, hearing directly from them about the ministry and leadership challenges they face, brainstorming how Asbury Seminary can co-labor with them to raise up a fresh generation of leaders for the Church, and praying for one another is the fruit of much good labor completed and the seed of much good labor to come.” 

A gift from The Woodlands Methodist Church (Woodlands, TX) to the seminary made the event possible. Asbury Church (Tulsa, OK) also provided financial support for this gathering.

For more information on the Master of Biblical and Theological Foundations, visit https://asburyseminary.edu/degrees/master-of-biblical-and-theological-foundations/