Bethel College and the Missionary Church USA announce the creation of a living endowment to fund a professor in the denomination’s name at Bethel College. The Missionary Church Endowed Professor of Biblical Theology was created to address the critical importance of comprehensive and Biblically-faithful theological academic training for future pastors and church leaders.
This partnership is a solution for challenges across America related to Biblical literacy and ministry preparation. Despite Barna Research showing 6 in 10 Millennials leaving the church and holding the greatest Biblical illiteracy of any living generation, Bethel College students studying for vocational ministry have increased by 50 percent over the past five years, as did voluntary participation in discipleship groups.
The position is funded through Missionary Church-related individuals and Missionary Church Foundations for a cumulative total of $750,000 to cover wages and ministry support for 10 years. As a living endowment, the intention is to perpetually renew the commitment and funding for the position.
The Rev. Steve Jones, president of the Missionary Church, says this partnership is an important statement of financial support for Bethel, the denomination’s only college, and will be a significant benefit to both organizations.
“This partnership benefits the Missionary Church because it’s vitally important that we have theologically trained pastors and Christian workers, trained by our own college that we trust, who can help us fill the needs that we have for the future,” says Jones. “The position will also continue to strengthen the relationship between the Missionary Church and Bethel in many ways, including bringing us together to discuss theological topics that are important to both institutions.”
The Missionary Church Endowed Professor of Biblical Theology will have a reduced course load in order to devote a percentage of time in service to the denomination. This may include hosting events for pastors and professors, being a part of pastor gatherings or supporting doctrinal summits with White Papers.
The professor may teach undergraduate general education courses such as Exploring the Christian Faith and Senior Experience, as well as major courses such as Systematic Theology I & II, and Christian Apologetics. Graduate courses may include topics such as History of Christian Thought, Christian Apologetics, and Systematic Theology.
“In a time where there is a deep need for Biblical belief, knowledge and practice among Millennials, this partnership is a statement of denominational support, launching a new era of collaboration in ministry,” says Bethel President Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D.
The college and the denomination are currently reviewing candidates to fill the position, and expect to announce the professor this summer.
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