SEBTS announces 2 church revitalization courses
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is partnering with Church Answers and the Revitalize Network to offer two courses in conjunction with the Revitalize Convention in February 2020.
The courses will be part of a larger focus at SEBTS to train students for church revitalization through its M.A., M.Div. and certificate programs.
“Seventy percent of North American churches are plateaued or declining. This fact alerts us to the crucial and strategic need for church revitalization,” said Keith Whitfield, SEBTS acting provost, vice president for academic administration, dean of graduate studies.
Knowing Your Church and Community Practicum will be one of the courses offered in conjunction with the Revitalize Convention; Leadership for Church Revitalization is the other.
Instructors will include Thom Rainer, founder and CEO of Church Answers, executive director of the Revitalize Network and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, and Sam Rainer, president of Church Answers and the Revitalize Network, co-owner of Rainer Publishing and pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Fla.
Others providing instruction will include Brad Waggoner, acting president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources; John Ewart, SEBTS associate vice president for Global Theological Initiatives and professor of missions and pastoral leadership; and Chuck Lawless, SEBTS vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers, dean of doctoral studies and professor of evangelism and missions.
Church Answers, online at churchanswers.com, is an organization providing consulting for church leaders through digital platforms, including monthly coaching emails, online discussions with other pastors and online resources from Thom Rainer’s blog and podcast.
The Revitalize Network, online at revitalizenetwork.org, is a nonprofit organization with a goal of 200,000 churches being replanted and revitalized through partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board and Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church.
Southeastern’s M.A. in church revitalization is a 37-hour vocational degree to equip students to move established churches from flatlining to flourishing. Students enrolling in the program must hold a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) and currently serve on staff at a local church or denominational entity.
The M.Div. is an 82-hour degree, which requires students to complete both the M.Div. core and four specialized courses in church revitalization: Church Revitalization; Knowing Your Church and Community Practicum; The Leader and Church Revitalization; and Organizational Change and Conflict Resolution. Students who enroll in the certificate program will complete the 12 hours of specialized courses.
“The reality is turning around a church is not easy,” said Whitfield, who also is associate professor of theology at SEBTS. “It is not for the faint of heart. Change is possible. Southeastern’s partnership with Church Answers and Revitalize Network provides students with the ministry skills and network to lead churches in recovering Gospel effectiveness.”
Thom Rainer noted, “With so many of our churches needing revitalization, the demand for well-trained pastors and leaders is greater than ever before. Church Answers and Revitalize Network is excited to partner with Southeastern Seminary to provide formal training for the next generation of church revitalizers.”
Ross Inman to join SEBTS faculty
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Ross Inman has been named associate professor of philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, effective July 1.
SEBTS President Danny Akin noted that “God in His providence has brought … an outstanding young scholar to Southeastern Seminary and The College at Southeastern” to join “one of the finest philosophy and apologetics departments anywhere.”
Inman previously served at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as assistant professor of philosophy, chair of the philosophy department and coordinator of the school of theology’s philosophy and ethics division at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus. Inman previously held Templeton Research Fellowships at both the University of Notre Dame (2013-2014) and Saint Louis University (2014-2015).
Keith Whitfield, SEBTS acting provost, vice president for academic administration, dean of graduate studies and associate professor of theology, said, “In my first encounter with him, I was struck by how well he fits into our campus culture. Ross is one of the leading young evangelical philosophers who approaches his calling to teach and write with a pastoral disposition and a Great Commission heart.”
In 2018, Inman published his first book, “Substance and Fundamentality of the Familiar: A Neo-Aristotelian Mereology.” Among book chapters, articles and reviews he has written, his peer-reviewed “Omnipresence and the Location of the Immaterial” was awarded the 2014 Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Religion. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as Philosophical Studies, American Philosophical Quarterly and Metaphysica.
Inman received his Ph.D. from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in 2013. He also holds master of arts degrees in philosophy and theology from Biola University in California and an undergraduate degree in philosophy and biblical studies from San Diego Christian College.
J.P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology, said in his 29 years of teaching graduate philosophy, Inman is “among the top three students I have ever taught. He is a brilliant Christian philosopher with a passion for Jesus, His Kingdom and the inerrant Word. He is equipped and fervent about training a new generation to be able to winsomely and intelligently speak a biblical worldview into the cultural chaos all around us.”
Inman is an active member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, serving as editor of its biannual journal, Philosophia Christi, and an executive committee member from 2013-2016. He also is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Society for Christian Philosophers.
He and his wife Suzanne have three children.