With the culmination of Fusion: International’s spring semester global missions phase, significant changes to the program now begin at Spurgeon College in Kansas City, Mo.
On May 17, 59 Fusion students who had returned to campus after their nearly five-monthlong overseas missions in locations like North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia – celebrated with family, friends, and the Midwestern Seminary community during their annual commitment ceremony.
Wearing the traditional garb of the countries where they served alongside IMB missionaries during spring semester, each cohort of four-to-five students, and their group leaders, were awarded Bibles and committed their lives to live out the Great Commission values learned over the past year through Fusion.
Thus, as one version of the Fusion program ended, a new-look era of the program began.
“We are extremely proud of the dedication these students have shown throughout their year in Fusion, and particularly during this semester-long deployment,” said President Jason Allen. “We are grateful to God for his kind provision and protection as these students have, prayerfully, attained a heart for a lifetime of missions service.
“We are also excited to be implementing several key changes to the program that we feel will be effective and beneficial to everyone involved well into the future.”
The most significant changes moving forward are the implementation of Fusion: North America, a shift to summer-long deployments, and bidding farewell to the program’s executive director.
Fusion: North America, which officially launched in January, will consist of students spending time during their first year at Spurgeon College living within the context of a cohort (four-to-five student groups) that is intentionally preparing for a summer of service alongside a NAMB church planter.
Cohorts will participate in bold evangelism and Bible-centered life-on-life discipling, beginning with the training phase during the college’s academic year and continuing through the summer project, which will last approximately 10 weeks. Fusion: North America candidates will receive top-notch Fusion training specifically tailored toward evangelistic ministry in North American contexts.
The first group of five students departed for Chicago and Clarkston, Ga., on May 18 to begin their missions phase. They will return to Midwestern Seminary’s campus in August.
Similarly to Fusion: North America, Fusion: International will look very comparable in function of training and preparation, but now students will train throughout the academic year and deploy alongside IMB missionaries during the summer months. Previously, the cohorts trained for a semester on campus during the fall before deploying overseas for spring semester.
“We are eager to see how expanding Fusion to a 12-month process will positively impact our students, our partnership with IMB and NAMB, and our institution,” said Erik Odegard, the director of Fusion. “For our students, they will continue to have a life-changing deployment to hard places. But now their academic training on campus will be stronger than ever while not hindering our team leaders from advancing in their degree programs.
“For our partners at IMB and NAMB, they will continue to get mid-length teams who serve their long-term church planting strategy, but now they will receive them even more well-trained than before. For Spurgeon College, the campus will enjoy the ongoing presence of our teams zealously preparing to take the gospel to hard places.”
He added that Fusion students will benefit from the increased imprint of their college professors and campus culture prior to deployment.
“It is our eager expectation that these changes will help us better accomplish our vision of raising up disciples committed to living so others may hear and live,” Odegard said.
Founded in 2005 at Midwestern College (now Spurgeon College), Fusion began as a directional process whereby young Christians would grow into biblical manhood and womanhood by embracing the call of the gospel.
As students grow in their understanding of Jesus and His call, they are asked, “Is it worth it?” In the midst of growing challenges, they prepare to take the calculated risk of trusting Jesus to draw people to Himself as He is lifted up to the ends of the earth. Fusion students take ownership of their faith by facing great responsibility with high expectations in the context of life-on-life discipleship in small teams.
At its outset, Fusion was founded by Scott Brawner, who served as the group’s on campus director from 2005-2007, and then in varying capacities until 2015, when he assumed the role of executive director. During the May 17 Commitment Ceremony, Brawner was honored and thanked by Allen for his service to the program.
“We are deeply thankful to Scott Brawner for the instrumental role he has played in establishing and directing Fusion and for his years of faithful service and oversight,” Allen said. “We pray that Scott and his family will be blessed as they continue to serve Jesus through their other significant ministry roles.”
Taking the reigns from Brawner is Odegard, who will continue as Fusion’s director. Of the role, Odegard said, “I have been privileged to serve in Fusion in a variety of capacities since 2008. The Lord was pleased to use it as a significant aid in my own sanctification, and I have witnessed Him do the same in the lives of hundreds of others.
“To be entrusted with the stewardship of this program is a great honor and a tremendous responsibility. There must be few endeavors more worthy of investing a life in – equipping those who are taking the saving message of Christ to those who have never heard, first for a few months and then for a lifetime.”
To learn more about the Fusion program, visit https://spurgeoncollege.com/academics/fusion/ or call (816) 414-3777.