Southeastern believes leadership and ministry skills are an integral part of 21st century church ministry. Through the Charles Haddon Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, the seminary offers assistance, resources and training to students, as well as to pastors and churches, to equip them to serve in the crucible of real life ministry.
Creating the Center was the first goal of Chuck Lawless, vice president for graduate studies and ministry centers, when he came to Southeastern in 2012. Created in June 2013, the Center represents an intentional bridge between Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and the local church and encourages pastors to lead healthy, disciple-making churches for the glory of God around the world.
Southeastern’s Board of Trustees recently approved John H. Ewart as the new director of the Spurgeon Center. He will continue with his responsibilities as associate vice president for Global Theological Initiatives of Southeastern.
Chuck Lawless, vice president for graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern, said, “I am convinced that John Ewart will lead the Center to heights I did not imagine when we first started talking about the Spurgeon Center. We want the Center and Southeastern Seminary to be the 'go to' place for pastors and students who want encouragement, training and support.”
Ewart has experience as a missionary and pastor. “I am truly humbled and excited about adding this new opportunity,” he said. “Although I have served in two of our seminaries now for several years, my heart has never left the local church and the privilege I have had to serve the Kingdom with the title of pastor.”
New initiatives and ideas will be driven by those engaged with the Center to fulfill its vision and purpose.
“Few churches and seminaries offer strong practical leadership training, and the result has men in positions of leadership without the skills for the task,” Ewart said. “Pastors themselves often seek leadership mentoring and guidance. Southeastern Seminary can help meet this need.”
“We are asking vital questions such as: Who should a pastor be? What should a pastor know? What should a pastor be able to do?” Ewart explained. “We will seek to accomplish our purpose and answer these questions through four major areas of training and ministry.”
The four key strategies of the center are: ministry to pastors and churches, on campus and online ministry preparation and continuing education for pastors and churches, specific field based training for pastors and churches and research and writing for pastors and churches.
The Center will work closely with the Southeastern Alumni Office and existing networks of partners and churches to grow the influence of the Center within the SEBTS family and ministries that have similar affinities.
“I am confident we will discover many more avenues of training and ministry as we begin this journey,” Ewart said. “I welcome and invite the wise suggestions and ideas.”
“My prayer remains that the Spurgeon Center will be a primary component of Southeastern's commitment to train and support pastors,” Lawless emphasized.
A board of advisors have worked with Bruce Ashford, provost of Southeastern, and Lawless, to guide and promote the work of the Center since its inception.
The center’s advisory board includes Edgar Aponte, director of Hispanic leadership development at SEBTS; Johnny Hunt, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia; Dennis Kim, senior pastor of Global Mission Church, Silver Spring, Maryland; Sam Rainer, senior pastor of Stevens Street Baptist Church, Cookeville, Tennessee; and A. B. Vines, senior pastor of New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, California.
Those attending the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, Maryland are encouraged to join Southeastern’s Spurgeon Center’s breakfast on Tuesday, June 10 at 7am. “Restoration & Revival Through Prayer” is the theme of the national convention, and a timely discussion on “Prayer and Spiritual Warfare in the Life of a Pastor” will be led by Chuck Lawless and Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, and SBC presidential candidate.
The Spurgeon Center will be giving away Floyd’s book, “The Power of Prayer and Fasting: God’s Gateway to Spiritual Breakthroughs” to the first 100 people to register.
Please click here to register for the event ($5 per guest).
To learn more about the C. H. Spurgeon Center, please click here.
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.