Midwestern Seminary’s Accelerate program introduces four new tracks of study

Posted June 1, 2020 by T. Patrick Hudson

Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announced today (May 26) the addition of four new tracks of study within its Accelerate program.

Accelerate, which allows students to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in only five years, now offers studies in the areas of missions, Christian education, and two biblical counseling tracks. The new tracks will officially launch in Fall 2020, but enrollment is currently open, and students are encouraged to apply now for acceptance into the program.

Sam Bierig, dean of Spurgeon College, explained that: “At Spurgeon College, we recognize there are two things that will outlast this present age—souls and Scripture. The Accelerate program has historically proven to create experts in these two domains, all the while getting students to the field faster.

“I am thrilled to see the benefits of the Accelerate program extend to more specific vocational training for international missions, biblical counseling, and Christian education. The Accelerate program is a time-scholarship and a budget-scholarship unto itself, and I am excited to see a new wave of students trained better and faster for service to Christ and His Kingdom.”

Bierig added that the genius of the Accelerate program is it reduces eight-or-more years of study into five; thus, saving students considerable amounts in tuition and fees and getting them into their ministry field more quickly. Midwestern Seminary launched Accelerate in 2015, and five years later the program has paid dividends, having graduated 18 into ministry and 115 more students currently enrolled.

Now, with the addition of the new tracks of study within Accelerate, students can focus on a wider array of options for their theological education.

Taylor DiRoberto, Accelerate program coordinator, explained, “These additions are helpful because they will allow for Spurgeon and Midwestern students to earn graduate degrees in more specific vocational lanes in an accelerated timeframe, all the while growing through vocational mentorship and discipleship.”

He added that this concept follows along Spurgeon College’s vision of training leaders for a broad range of Kingdom roles including missions, Christian education, and biblical counseling.

Of the new offerings, the missions track is residential, while the two biblical counseling and the Christian education tracks are offered residentially and online.

Dale Johnson, associate professor of biblical counseling noted of the new biblical counseling track: “This is an excellent opportunity for qualified biblical counseling students to dive in and enjoy the breadth of a valuable general educational foundation, while remaining focused on the specific knowledge and skillsets they intend to build for practical ministry purposes.”

Erik Odegard, director of the Fusion program, added, “I have been eager for the release of Accelerate: Missions for some time because I see a powerful potential for putting better equipped laborers on the mission field faster. One might view it as a fast-track, of sorts, paving the way for students to apply earlier for appointments through the International Mission Board.”

He also explained that Fusion alumni and others pursuing missions ministry can, at times, be slowed down by having to double-back to earn graduate-level credits for work they’ve essentially already completed in their undergrad.

“Through more strategic alignment,” he said, “Accelerate: Missions will better serve students to reduce their financial and time commitment while also better serving hard places around the world in need of a missionary presence.”

According to Bierig, students involved in the Accelerate program experience a four-pronged approach:

Community: Accelerate implements a cohort structure which fits best-practice models throughout higher education for engaging students.  Bierig said this style of learning aids in retention, provides encouragement, and strengthens learning.

“Ultimately, it prepares the student for lifelong ministry and learning, supported in later years by communities of similar ethos,” he said. “A minister who refuses to minister alone is a minister who is built to last.”

Leadership: The Accelerate program’s cohorts and academic classes are designed to continually emphasize the necessary skills for each graduate to enter his or her ministry field as a high-capacity leader, according to Bierig.  Assessment structures, practicums, and regular courses contribute to the cohort structure, reinforcing leadership ideas that help each student to become better suited to the 21st century church.

Discipline: Bierig shared that the academic rigor of Accelerate challenges students to develop capacities of self-discipline that are essential to short- and long-term ministry success. To a certain extent, and by design, the proposed structure replicates the pressures of actual ministry.

He added, “If through the program students learn to manage reading loads, class projects, ministry obligations, and community responsibilities effectively, they will be more apt to maintain healthy balances in their future ministries.”

Experience: The environment sustained within Accelerate equips students with an essential package of theoretical knowledge, but it also engages students in first-hand ministry, alongside their formal studies. Bierig said Accelerate intensifies this combination still more.

“In their final year of study, students will be well-engaged in the apprenticeship phases of ministry service,” he said. “Especially for students who struggle with practical engagement, the required practicums in the fifth year create and require new opportunities for ministry.”

For more information about Accelerate, to learn more about its new tracks, or to start the enrollment process, visit https://spurgeoncollege.com/academics/accelerate/.

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