“The North American Mission Board college worker of today is the church planter of tomorrow” and, according to Dean Sam Bierig, this is exactly the reason why Spurgeon College is teaming with NAMB to introduce the SEND Spurgeon initiative.
Through a series of instructional sessions and an emphasis on practically applying what’s being learned, SEND Spurgeon aims to equip teams of Spurgeon College students in the areas of evangelism, missional living, and church planting strategy before deploying them to serve in the field alongside NAMB church planters across the continent.
In conjunction with NAMB’s existing GenSend program, which focuses on the “how” of missional living, SEND Spurgeon College trainings will take place during the spring academic semester in Kansas City, and then students will serve 6- or 8-week terms over the summer in locations such as San Diego, Denver, and New York City.
“We are excited to partner with Spurgeon College to Discover, Develop, and Deploy the next generation on mission,” said Steve Turner, NAMB’s director for next generation mobilization. “As we mix academics with strategic church planting experience, we are better equipping students to enter the fields white unto harvest as laborers for the Gospel.
“The end goal is always to send students to make disciples who make disciples and plant churches everywhere for everyone.”
At present, training is under way and plans are being made for the first group of SEND Spurgeon students to deploy in summer 2021.
Taylor DiRoberto, SEND Spurgeon program coordinator and NAMB church planter, explained that while in the program students walk through training sessions several times a semester—learning from him as well as other seasoned NAMB church planters from Kansas City and throughout the nation.
He shared that since students’ work with church planters across the country may consist of diverse roles and responsibilities, trainings will include a diverse mix of theoretical and practical matters. Additionally, he said SEND Spurgeon offers the vital component of “students having the opportunity to learn from, and build relationships with, church planters from a diverse array of contexts.”
At the end of the trainings, DiRoberto said he expects that students “will be equipped with biblical, missiological, and practical knowledge pertaining to biblical church planting and will have put that knowledge into practice via evangelism and other ministry projects on the ground in K.C.”
He further noted, “Our goal is that these experiences will get students acquainted with missional church planting movements throughout the Southern Baptist Convention and allow them to gain practical and spiritual insight from church planters already laboring in the field.”
In addition to the immersive training and experience students will gain through SEND Spurgeon, DiRoberto said involved students will also earn course credit at Spurgeon College for their involvement in program.
All Spurgeon College students are eligible to apply for SEND Spurgeon. In this way, DiRoberto said, “Students coming to Spurgeon to pursue ministry or marketplace degrees will have the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-ground experience in a church planting context. Qualifying students will also be able to participate over multiple summers.”
Bierig said prospective students, particularly ones interested in church planting and looking at Spurgeon College for their theological education, should clearly understand that the institution “is fully committed to the identification, development, and deployment of future church planters.”
“We can’t wait to get these ministers of the gospel trained in church planting contexts. This is the epitome what we mean when we say we are ‘for the Church’ and ‘for the Kingdom.’”
Ultimately, DiRoberto relishes the prospects of providing Spurgeon College students with “pathways to meaningful, Kingdom-building ministry opportunities, even as they pursue their undergraduate degrees.”
Applications for SEND Spurgeon are currently being accepted. To apply or learn more about the program, visit spurgeoncollege.com/send