KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – During Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s spring convocation service, President Jason Allen announced a $2.5 million gift and launched a new institutional initiative in partnership with the International Mission Board – what has been dubbed a “missions moonshot.” Specifically, Midwestern Seminary aims to produce 100 new missionaries annually in the years ahead.
Allen began the service referencing President John F. Kennedy’s moonshot address to rally the American people to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.
The term ‘moonshot,’ he explained, is shorthand for a goal that is so daunting and ambitious that it requires a special, collective effort of sacrifice and determination. In the context of the seminary, he said, it is a goal so big so as to be unachievable by our own energies. It’s a goal that requires God’s blessing and help.
Midwestern aims to produce annually 100 individuals who are committed to overseas service to unreached or underreached people groups for a minimum commitment of two years.
“What we long to see God do here in the years ahead is a deepening and expanding of our Great Commission work so that annually we can see and celebrate 100 students or graduates going out to the nations,” Allen said. “We don’t intend this number generically, but through a countable, defined and identifiable group of men and women who are called to the nations.”
Demonstrating the biblical basis for the new initiative, Allen preached from John 10:16. He referenced how many consider this verse to be one of the greatest missionary verses in the whole Bible, motivating missionaries such as David Brainerd, William Carey and David Livingstone.
From this text, Allen highlighted the certainty of Jesus’ words, giving the missionary great confidence in Jesus’ great promise.
“Jesus has sheep He has died for,” Allen said. “And we who are on mission with Him, are to be about finding and bringing these sheep into the flock through the preaching of the Gospel and strategic missionary work.
“We look at John 10:16 not only to motivate us for the nations, but also to embolden us with confidence for our work.”
It is the right time on this campus, Allen said, with a growing burden for the nations in recent years.
It is the right global moment, with increased secularity, war and deprivation leaving people empty and desperate globally.
It is the right denominational moment, with an opportunity to further our collective denominational call to the nations such that would eclipse all other distractions that might hold Southern Baptists back.
It requires the right resources, which the Lord has continued to provide through generous partners in support of Midwestern Seminary.
“God has put on the heart, and provided the resources for a couple, who wish to stay anonymous, to give a $2.5 million donation and pledge to the mission programs at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College,” he said. “They’ve chosen to make this gift in honor of one of Southern Baptists’ finest laymen, Wayne Lee.”
“When God called me to Midwestern Seminary 10 years ago, I first met trustee Wayne Lee. Southern Baptist leaders Jimmy Draper and O.S. Hawkins told me then that Wayne Lee may well be the finest layman in Southern Baptist life. Mr. Lee has blessed Midwestern Seminary in every way, and I’m delighted to see this gift made in his honor.”
It is the right vision, Allen continued, as to be “for the Church” means to be for the nations. And the seminary has the right personnel, with an increasing amount of faculty and staff burdened for the nations. It also has the right programs, with specific classes and cohorts designed with the nations in mind.
Specifically, Allen referred to the Fusion masters and undergraduate programs. At both levels, Fusion involves several cohorts of students completing a year of study and training at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College before going overseas for the summer. While overseas, the students have the opportunity to implement what they’ve learned and gain real-life experience on the field.
It is the right partner, Allen said, as God has blessed the Southern Baptist Convention with the International Mission Board, which has more resources than it has people ready to be sent to the nations.
Reflecting on this new partnership, International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood said, “The International Mission Board is delighted to work in partnership with Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College to reach the world for Christ, especially through their Fusion programs.
“I’m overjoyed by this announcement of their ‘missions moonshot,’ and this timely expansion of their Great Commission vision. The Lord’s provision of financial support, strategic academic programs, rigorous overseas opportunities, and Gospel-minded leadership at Midwestern Seminary makes achieving this bold goal possible—and even more.”
Lastly, Allen said Midwestern Seminary has the right enrollment, with students from 63 countries.
“God has given us a reach far beyond what we could have dreamed 10 years ago,” he said, “— a reach that must be maximized for the sake of the Gospel.”