Bob Jones University (BJU) President Steve Pettit today announced a new strategic vision for BJU Seminary to spearhead a 500x5x5 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.
This strategic plan announcement follows Pettit’s April 16 naming of Dr. Alan Benson to a new, expanded role as executive vice president for student development and ministry advancement, joining BJU Seminary Dean Dr. Neal Cushman in the Seminary’s leadership team. Benson has served at BJU since July 2018, as vice president for student development and discipleship.
Pettit 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 ‘500x5x5’ vision 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.”
Benson added, “According to Barna research, there are more pastors over 65 today than under 40 – presenting an enormous challenge to Great Commission-oriented churches with the greatest gospel opportunity since the Reformation. To respond to the challenge, 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 church leaders facing isolation, disorientation, doctrinal drift and financial need.”
To address the need to prepare pastors, biblical counselors, and thought leaders around the world for this challenge, Benson announced a far-reaching ‘5P’ plan of extensive, expedited innovations and investment in BJU Seminary’s:
- Program of increasingly affordable and accessible residential and distance learning offerings, meeting 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 to upgrade classrooms and digital technology to enhance the student experience
- Profile, to confirm BJU Seminary’s emerging status as a top-tier institution and leader in advancing a biblical worldview
Cushman added, “Our 500x5x5 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.”
The announcement of the strategic plan coincides with a broader University strategic plan and the culmination of seven years of preparation driven by Pettit that will elevate ministry training and increase BJU Seminary’s autonomy.
Benson noted, “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.”
—By CNJ Staff