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FROM THE SEMINARIES: MBTS Accelerate program adds four new tracks; Greenway and Dew discuss leading beyond COVID-19

Midwestern Seminary’s Accelerate program introduces four new tracks of study
By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College announced 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.

“At Spurgeon College, we recognize there are two things that will outlast this present age — souls and Scripture,” said Sam Bierig, dean of Spurgeon College. “The Accelerate program has historically proven to create experts in these two domains, all 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 said the genius of the Accelerate program is it reduces eight or more years of study to five, thus saving students a considerable amount of money and getting them into their ministry field more quickly.

Midwestern Seminary launched Accelerate in 2015. In five years, the program has graduated 18, and 115 students are currently enrolled.

“These additions are helpful,” Accelerate director Taylor DiRoberto said, “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.”

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

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


Greenway and Dew discuss leading in and beyond COVID-19

FORT WORTH/NEW ORLEANS (SWBTS/NOBTS) — The presidents of two Southern Baptist Convention seminaries — Adam W. Greenway of The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Jamie Dew of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary — participated in a live Zoom chat on “leading in/beyond COVID-19” with hosts Matt Henslee and Kyle Bueermann of “Not Another Baptist Podcast” May 28.

The two presidents, who were elected to their positions within three months of each other last year, reflected on lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic, how to lead with wisdom and grace as things gradually return to normal, and what advice they would give students currently deciding whether to attend seminary online or in person this fall.

“There are some things that we can do in person or we can do online, and it’s just as good online,” Greenway said. “There are other things that we can do in person or online, but it’s clearly better in person. COVID-19, I think, is giving us a deeper appreciation for real, in-person community.”

Dew agreed, adding: “If COVID-19 has done anything, it has given us a scenario that reminds us of just how much we need each other. We need each other relationally, we need each other psychologically, we need each other spiritually, we need each other missiologically. And so it’s given us a context now that should forever change the way we celebrate and embrace public gathering.”

The two noted, however, that some lessons learned from the pandemic will be useful moving forward, such as continuing to meet with church members via Zoom during the week in order to stay connected.

As students make plans for the fall and are considering whether to do their theological education online or in person — especially in light of the seminaries’ proven ability to conduct their programs fully online during the pandemic — the two presidents encouraged them to, if possible, choose the on-campus experience.

“If you have the opportunity to get to campus, get to campus,” Dew said, “for this reason: the longer it takes you to do your degree program, the less likely it is that you will finish.”

Dew noted that residential students, on average, take 12 hours per semester, while online students take an average of only 3-6 hours. He said drawing out the education experience renders it less likely that online students will finish their degrees.

“There are intangibles that you just can’t get in the same way in this format,” Greenway said of the online program. “Some of the best content of these Zoom meetings has been what didn’t make it into the recordings — it’s the pre-conversation; it’s the post-conversation. In the same way, some of the most memorable content I ever received in seminary was not part of the planned lecture from the professor; it was after class as he was walking out and I was walking with him to the office. It’s organic; you can’t script it, you can’t plan it — you have to be there.”

To listen to the full conversation, see here.

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  • SBC Seminary Staff