SEBTS to offer courses in partnership with Church Answers and Revitalize Network

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) is partnering with Church Answers and the Revitalize Network to offer two courses in conjunction with the Revitalize Convention in February of 2020. These courses come as part of a larger focus at SEBTS to train students for church revitalization through its M.A., M.Div. and certificate programs.

“Seventy percent of North American churches are plateaued or declining. This fact alerts us to the crucial and strategic need for church revitalization,” said Keith Whitfield, acting provost, vice president for academic administration, dean of graduate studies and associate professor of theology at SEBTS. 

The M.A. in church revitalization is a 37-hour vocational degree designed to equip students to move established churches from flatlining to flourishing. Students desiring to enroll in this program must hold a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) and currently serve on staff at a local church or denominational entity. 

The M.Div. is an 82-hour degree, which requires students to complete both the M.Div. core and four specialized courses regarding church revitalization. These courses include Church Revitalization, Knowing Your Church and Community Practicum, The Leader and Church Revitalization and Organizational Change and Conflict Resolution. Students who enroll in the certificate program will complete the 12 hours of specialized courses. 

“The reality is turning around a church is not easy,” said Whitfield. “It is not for the faint of heart. Change is possible. Southeastern’s partnership with Church Answers and Revitalize Network provides students with the ministry skills and network to lead churches in recovering gospel effectiveness.” 

Knowing Your Church and Community Practicum and Leadership for Church Revitalization will be the two courses offered in conjunction with the Revitalize Convention. Professors teaching these courses include Thom Rainer, founder and CEO of Church Answers, executive director of the Revitalize Network and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources; Sam Rainer, president of the Revitalize Network and Church Answers, co-founder and co-owner of Rainer Publishing and pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida; Brad Waggoner, acting president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources; John Ewart, associate vice president for Global Theological Initiatives and professor of missions and pastoral leadership at SEBTS; and Chuck Lawless, vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers, dean of doctoral studies and professor of evangelism and missions at SEBTS.

“With so many of our churches needing revitalization, the demand for well-trained pastors and leaders is greater than ever before,” said Thom Rainer. “Church Answers and Revitalize Network is excited to partner with Southeastern Seminary to provide formal training for the next generation of church revitalizers.”

The Revitalize Network is a non-profit organization that has the goal of seeing 200,000 churches replanted and revitalized through partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board and Brentwood Baptist Church. The Revitalize Network seeks not only to provide resources to pastors called to revitalize and replant, but the organization also equips churches by helping them connect with one another. For more information about the Revitalize Network, visit   

Church Answers is an organization that provides consulting for church leaders through digital platforms, including monthly coaching emails, online discussions with other pastors and online resources from Thom Rainer’s blog and podcast. Various levels of resources and consultation are available. For more information about Church Answers, visit

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