Bethlehem Seminary Adds a Church Planting Concentration – by Kenny Stokes

Last month, at the Bethlehem College & Seminary Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved a new  “Church Planting & Revitalization” concentration in the Master’s of Divinity program.

Here is some background. In consultation with Steve Childers, of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and Global Church Advancement, I brought the proposal in 2012 as a way to advance the church planting efforts of Bethlehem Baptist, and to strengthen the Treasuring Christ Together Church Planting Network (TCTN). The proposal was unanimously recommended to the board by the BCS faculty committee, and then unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees.

The concentration is 12 credits, made up of both course work and mentored internships. It contains 3 specialized courses:

  1. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism(2 Credits): Develops a robust biblical and theological understanding of the gospel and its applications, implications, and essential place in the life of faith personally and corporately. The course will provide practical tools for, and experience in, personal evangelism and the equipping of others.
  2. Church Planting and Revitalization  (2 credits): Develops a biblical and theological understanding of church planting and challenges students to formulate biblical vision, values, and contextualized, applicable strategies for starting and developing God-centered, Christ-exalting, gospel-proclaiming churches.
  3. Church Growth and Renewal (2 credits): Presents a biblical, theological and practical introduction to principles and strategies needed for growing and renewing healthy, reproducing, gospel-centered churches.

In addition, practical internship experience in a church plant would be required to fulfill the Mentored Ministry program requirements.

I am looking forward to this partnership between TCTN and Bethlehem College and Seminary. The church will be well-served by a group of passionate, Jesus-loving, biblically-centered church planters. Please pray that God opens the door wide to those whom he has called to be a part of this program.

By Kenny Stokes