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SBC DIGEST: MBTS provides free theological training; LifeWay to host virtual Black Church conference; IMB to host virtual MedAdvance conference

MBTS introduces free local church theological training through FTC Institute
By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Seminary announced Tuesday (July 7) the launching of the For the Church Institute — a free online training platform designed to provide accessible theological training to equip, encourage and edify the local church and beyond.

Jordan Wilbanks, director of church partnerships at Midwestern Seminary, acknowledged that there is a growing movement in local churches, called “church-based theological education,” where regular church members are seeking out educational opportunities — such as classes typically taken in seminaries — from within their own churches.

In response to this need, Wilbanks said Midwestern Seminary has spent considerable time over the past 18 months developing For the Church Institute, which provides solid theological training to local congregations through 10-week classes on foundational subjects like theology, church history, being a Christian, Old Testament, New Testament and more.

“What we’ve aimed for in developing FTC Institute is to provide a curriculum consisting of shell versions of our core classes that are accessible for anyone from pre-teens to great-grandmothers,” Wilbanks said. “We want to remove the ivory tower image of a seminary in our dealings with churches. The fact is, we exist for local churches.

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LifeWay to host free, online Black Church Leadership and Family Conference
By Aaron Wilson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LifeWay’s 27th annual Black Church Leadership and Family Conference (BCLFC) is being held online this year July 20-24 and will be available to watch for free through LifeWay Digital Pass.

The BCLFC serves as a leadership development conference and spiritual retreat. While attendees are typically predominantly African American, conference leaders say everyone is invited to attend. Teaching content is also designed for parents of Black children, church leaders who want to reach Black communities and leaders desiring to become more multicultural.

Mark Croston, national director of LifeWay Black Church Ministries, believes the conference will be extremely timely given that many leaders are currently asking questions and seeking information about racial reconciliation. The theme for this year’s conference is “Challenged to Love” from Mark 12:30-32, which implores Christians to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love their neighbors as themselves.

“Only God could have orchestrated our theme to match today’s crises so perfectly,” Croston said. “Whether it’s the problems of the pandemic or the rigors of our racial tensions, BCLFC is an opportunity not just for Black people, but also for people who want to learn more about ministry in multi-ethnic dimensions.”

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IMB to host virtual MedAdvance conference Aug. 7-8
By Caroline Anderson

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — For the past 13 years, IMB has hosted the MedAdvance conference as a forum for healthcare professionals, students, church leaders and state and associational leaders to learn how they can partner with IMB healthcare workers.

This year’s MedAdvance conference will be held virtually Aug. 7-8.

Dr. Rebekah Naylor, IMB’s global healthcare strategist consultant, said healthcare is on everyone’s mind because of COVID-19. MedAdvance will provide a forum for participants to hear about current and ongoing IMB projects that meet medical and spiritual needs.

Naylor said healthcare advances the Gospel and provides inroads into communities where it would be difficult or impossible to enter through other means. Volunteers from the U.S. are a key component in the ministry strategies of IMB missionaries and expand their reach, she added.

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