Pentecostal Leadership Council at SEU
On Thursday, January 25, Southeastern University invited members of the Executive Leadership Team of the Assemblies of God to join us for a Pentecostal Leadership Council. The intent of the council is to discuss and formulate ideas for Southeastern’s Barnett College of Ministry & Theology in order to shape the future of Pentecostal leaders. The AG leadership team joined 20 pastors from across the United States, along with Southeastern’s leadership team and several faculty members.
General Superintendent Doug Clay commenced the meeting with sharing statistics about Pentecostal leaders in the Assemblies of God (AG). He noted that the average age of attendees at AG churches is 35 years old, while the average age of credentialed ministers is 60.
“We think that these kinds of conversations are very critical. We want to bring back the emphasis of being called into full-time ministry,” said Clay.
Dr. Chris Owen, the executive vice president of Southeastern, continued the conversation of ministry development through sharing efforts Southeastern is currently implementing in order to invest in the next generation. “We have watched the hand of the Lord work through Southeastern,” said Owen.
SEU President Dr. Kent Ingle introduced how the purpose of the council was to bring in leaders who would have a voice of impact on the university and the importance of seeking wise counsel. “We recognize every student is a gift from God. It is a privilege to come alongside a generation that God is raising up through helping them discover and develop their divine design, which can be developed through Spirit empowerment,” said Ingle.
Ingle shared the example of a leader who played a vital role in his own life, one of the council attendees, Dr. Don Argue, an Ambassador-at-Large with Convoy of Hope. “God knew I needed Don in my life. He helped me learn and discover a good path to follow. As great leaders, you have great voices,” said Ingle.
Students preparing for ministry are part of the largest and fastest growing programs at SEU, with nearly 500 students pursuing ministry degrees on the main campus in Lakeland and another 1,500 in extension sites.
Partnering with the Local Church
In the 2018–2019 academic year, Southeastern’s extension site number is estimated to increase from 80 current sites to over 100 across the United States. The majority of the students at these sites are pursuing degrees that would enable them to go into full-time ministry. In all, more than 1,800 students are enrolled in Southeastern’s extension sites.
Ingle added that the goal of the university is to partner with the local church and to create programming that is accessible and innovative in delivering Christian higher education. SEU’s extension sites help to make ministry training affordable and accessible.
“We believe in taking scholarship to the streets,” said Ingle, who encouraged the participants to join together in a discernment design-thinking process.
During a variety of sessions throughout the day, the council explored which values and core competencies students in ministry should learn and what lessons and experiences students need to develop their character and skills. Ideas and suggestions discussed among the council members will be used by the SEU team as they continue to develop and re-evaluate programs that will empower students going into ministry.
Participants in the Pentecostal Leadership Council include Doug Clay, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; Rick Dubose, general treasurer of the Assemblies of God; Alton Garrison, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; Jim Bradford, general secretary of the Assemblies of God; Don Argue, Ambassador-at-Large with Convoy of Hope; John Baschieri, lead pastor of New Life Assembly, Lehigh Acres, Florida; Jeremy Yancey, lead pastor of Timber Creek Church, Lufkin, Texas; Shayne Walters, senior pastor of Mosaic Church, Milford, Ohio; Chad Gilligan, lead pastor of Calvary Church, Maumee, Ohio; Mark and Michelle Benson, lead pastors of Dothan First Assembly of God, Dothan, Alabama; Jon Susa, lead pastor of Caring Place, Indianapolis, Indiana; George Sawyer, pastor of Calvary Assembly of God, Decatur, Alabama; Chris Railey, senior director of the Center for Leadership & Church Development with the National Leadership & Resource Center; Ed Garvin, lead pastor of Calvary Orlando, Winter Park, Florida; Jeff Leatherman, lead pastor of Garywood Assembly, Hueytown, Alabama; Chris Foster, lead pastor of Family Life Church, Brunswick, Georgia; Allen Griffin, president of Allen Griffin Ministries; Gabby Meija, pastor of New Birth Church, Kissimmee, Florida; Caleb and Chrissy Cole, lead pastors of Project Church, Sacramento, California; Brian Henly, lead pastor of Bethany Assembly, Adrian, Michigan; David Stocker Jr., lead pastor of Brave Church, Miami, Florida; and Kevin Taylor, lead pastor of Journey Church, Kenosha, Wisconsin.