The Kern Family Foundation Grants Significant Funding to SEBTS for New Courses

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The Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Family Foundation has awarded Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) a grant of over $200,000. The grant will fund initiatives concerning faith, work and economics in academic classes.

Provost and Dean of Faculty and Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at SEBTS, Bruce Ashford, said, “I am profoundly grateful to The Kern Family Foundation for its willingness to assist with the resources necessary to carry out this project.”

The Kern Family Foundation, through their Oikonomia Network, is committed to preparing pastors “to describe work and the economy in moral and spiritual terms” in order to “help people live out Christianity full-time in all they do.”
The faith, work and economics classes will enable pastors to grasp a deeper understanding of these topics to instill in their congregations. “SEBTS’ Economic Wisdom project is designed to help pastors strike the right note in leading their congregations toward a healthy, biblically-based view of the workplace and the economy,” Ashford said.

Starting next semester, Spring of 2014, the first class, Theology of Culture, will be taught on campus with the online format available in Fall 2014. Theology of Vocation will be the next class followed by Economics, Poverty and Wealth. Enrollment is open to SEBTS students for courses taught on campus. The online MOOC classes will be open to pastors and other interested publics free of charge. Details will be made available on Southeastern’s website,, as registration becomes available.

“Students will be exposed to three courses which guide them in building a theology of culture, a theology of vocation and a biblically-informed view of the economy,” Ashford said. “These courses’ lectures will also be offered in a free online format following the initial on-campus class.”
Several of the SEBTS faculty, including Ashford, Dave Jones, Benjamin Quinn and Walter Strickland, will be involved in creating and teaching the content of the classes. “We will write discipleship booklets on culture, workplace and the economy,” Ashford said. “These booklets are designed for laypeople in our churches.” Readers will have access to the booklets in electronic and print formats to reinforce the course content. 

A forum with a nationally acclaimed speaker will be held in the coming months in partnership with The Kern Family Foundation and The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture and The Spurgeon Center at SEBTS.
“It is difficult to overstate our gratefulness to God for The Kern Family Foundation and their foresight in making this initiative possible. Real-world issues that emerge at the intersections of faith, work and economics are not peripheral, but central, to the Christian life,” Ashford said. “This grant affords Southeastern an unprecedented opportunity to develop a robust series of courses that will serve as the backbone of a world-class preparation benefitting current and future pastors as they lead their flock to glorify Christ in all aspects of their daily lives.”

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