BJU Seminary Announces New Leadership Team, Return to Roots
BJU Seminary implements new leadership team and return to roots with “5P” strategic plan propelling new 500 x 5 x 5 vision to equip 500 pastors.
new leadership team
Today BJU Seminary announced a new leadership team and a new strategic vision. Beginning in the fall of 2021, Alan Benson will be taking on the expanded role of Executive Vice President of Student Development and Ministerial Advancement at Bob Jones University. He will be coming alongside current Seminary Dean Neal Cushman to help propel BJU Seminary forward with its new strategic vision.
Dr. Benson, who served for 25 years as a pastor, formerly occupied the role of BJU Vice President for Student Development and Discipleship. He will now oversee ministry education at the University and the Seminary. He joins Dr. Cushman, a longtime church planter and administrator for both BJU Seminary and Northland International University, who has played a key role in recent years in modernizing the Seminary’s programs to meet the needs of modern ministry.
Dr. Benson noted, “According to the Barna research organization*, more pastors are over 65 today than under 40—presenting an enormous challenge to Great Commission-oriented churches attempting to capitalize on the greatest gospel opportunity since the Reformation created by a pandemic and cancel culture. Which means BJU Seminary must be more committed than ever to serving the church, not only by providing the next generation of Word-proclaiming pastors, but also by humbly listening to and supporting leaders facing isolation, disorientation, doctrinal drift, and financial need.”
New strategic vision
In addition to the changes in leadership, the seminary also announced a new strategic vision: a 500 x 5 x 5 campaign to help address a nationwide pastor shortage by putting 500 new pastors on the path to the pulpit in the next five years—and every five years beyond that. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Benson and Dr. Cushman outlined an ambitious “5P” strategic plan to build on the Seminary’s next-level teaching and hands-on training and firmly establish it as the school of choice for pastors as well as counselors, missionaries, and biblical scholars.
Seminarians will benefit from expedited innovations and investment to further strengthen the school’s:
- Program of increasingly affordable and accessible residential and distance learning offerings, designed to meet diverse, emerging demands from high-level pastoral, biblical counseling, and theological studies training to micro-credentials (certificates and badges)
- Partnerships with leading theologically-conservative ministries enabling unique, exclusive course offerings and off-campus training opportunities.
- People– building on an internationally known and respected faculty and improving customer service
- Plant– including extensive, planned investment in upgrades of classrooms, digital technology, and the student experience
- Profile– to confirm the Seminary’s emerging status as a top-tier institution and leader in advancing a biblical worldview.
Dr. Steve Pettit, President of Bob Jones University, stated, “Ministry education is on the move at BJU with Dr. Alan Benson taking on a new, expanded role and joining Dr. Neal Cushman to develop a compelling new vision for BJU Seminary. Their dynamic ‘500 x 5 x 5’ initiative to help alleviate a nationwide pastor shortage, and 5P Plan to achieve that vision, are the culmination of seven years of preparation and positioning by the University’s leadership to elevate ministry training and firmly establish BJU Seminary as a distinct, premier graduate theological institution.”
Dr. Cushman added, “Our 500 x 5 x 5 vision and 5P plan are about demonstrating our promise to equip students with the uncompromised, next-level teaching to effectively proclaim the Word; along with the hands-on, basin-and-towel training to humbly serve the church; and the boldness, inspiration and commitment to confidently advance the gospel.”
Concluded Dr. Cushman, “BJU Seminarians will never have to compromise when it comes to content, quality, or convenience. We are continuing to build our program of in-depth, authoritative, and faithful exploration and exposition of God’s Word—presented by world-class experts and thought leaders in their fields—and make it more affordable and accessible than ever across the full range of formats and channels, on campus and online.”
BJU Seminary increased autonomy
The announcement of the leadership team and strategic vision coincides with a broader University strategic plan—the culmination of seven years of preparation driven by Dr. Pettit and the Board of Trustees—that will elevate ministry training and increase BJU Seminary’s autonomy.
Stated Dr. Benson, “We’ll capitalize both on the outstanding resources and reputation of BJU and also on our increased autonomy to stake out a higher profile in advancing a conservative theological perspective—providing both academic thought leadership on all areas of theology and ministry as well as useful resources for churches on encouraging their congregations’ renewed commitment to everyday life practices of personal holiness, prayer, and outreach.”