The Charles H. Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, which is expected to launch this fall, will be a means by which Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary equips Great Commission-minded pastors to preach God’s Word and lead healthy churches.
Charles “Chuck” Lawless, dean of graduate studies and professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern, will assume the directorship of the Spurgeon Center, which will be run out of his office.
“I envision the center promoting practical leadership training for local church pastors,” Lawless said. “We want to help church planters as well as pastors who are working to revitalize a church.”
This center has a board of advisors composed of Edgar Aponte, director of Hispanic leadership development at Southeastern; Dennis Kim, senior pastor of Global Mission Church, Silver Spring, Md.; Johnny Hunt, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.; Sam Rainer, senior pastor of Stevens Street Baptist Church, Cookeville, Tenn.; and A.B. Vines, senior pastor of New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, Calf.
The board will help guide the center in assisting pastors in excelling within their daily ministries. Alongside of growing healthy churches and revitalizing dying churches, the center plans to encourage and resource church planters. It also will seek to build strategic partnerships with other Southern Baptist Convention entities, such as LifeWay and the North American Mission Board, that also work with pastoral leaders.
“I am excited about the blessing this center will be to the churches,” said Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern. “We will attempt to serve pastors in fulfilling this noble work given to them by King Jesus.”
A primary goal of the center is to help churches become Great Commission churches. Lawless said, “We’re partnering with local churches to make them more effective in areas such as leadership so that the gospel can penetrate local communities and ultimately extend to all nations.”
Lawless emphasized that the center “wants to provide the best advice and necessary tools for pastors of local churches.”
“Because of the world we live in today,” Lawless said, “we have to offer multiple media. I would like to bring individuals to campus as well as send our faculty to those local churches. Alongside of these traditional avenues, I think we also have to be ready to provide training online.”
The center plans to utilize the experience of Akin, Tony Merida, pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, and Jim Shaddix, pastor for teaching and training at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., to assist the center in helping equip churches.
“God calls and raises up pastors to feed, lead, protect and reproduce sheep,” Akin said.
“Those under-shepherds who labor for the glory of the Great Shepherd need to be equipped and well trained for the weighty assignment that has been laid upon them.
“And we want to equip and train ministers well through the Spurgeon Center at Southeastern.”