By Walter Fenton
May 11, 2022
Asbury Theological Seminary and the Global Methodist Church have entered into an agreement for a church planting initiative funded by a $500,000 matching grant from a donor to the seminary.
At a ceremony held on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Dr. Tim Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary, and the Rev. Keith Boyette, the Global Methodist Church’s senior executive and administrative officer during its transitional period, signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the initiative.
The Seminary has agreed to provide $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000 renewable, dollar-for-dollar, matching grants to its graduates and alumni who are involved in planting new congregations of the Global Methodist Church around the world. The Seminary will provide funding up to $500,000 with a corresponding matching gift from the Global Methodist Church. Grant applications will be approved by a joint committee established between the Seminary and the Global Methodist Church.
“Throughout the church’s history it has often had to struggle to maintain its voice in the world,” said Tennent. “Asbury has long believed church planting is one of the most important initiatives for the global renewal of the church both here and abroad. We are grateful for this partnership with the Global Methodist Church that will allow church planters to thrive and continue to spread the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.”
The signing ceremony, held in McKenna Chapel on the school’s campus in Wilmore, Kentucky, was witnessed by approximately 50 members representing the Seminary’s faculty, administration, and board of trustees.
“I am grateful to Asbury Theological Seminary for making this major commitment in literally the second week of the life of the Global Methodist Church,” said Boyette. “This initiative communicates the investment that a significant seminary like Asbury is making in church planting in this new church. I believe God will bear much fruit through this initiative for the Global Methodist Church, and above all for the kingdom of God.”
Tennent and Boyette were joined by Dr. Tom Tumblin, Dean of the Beeson School of Practical Theology and Executive Director of Church Planting, and the Rev. Angela Pleasants, the Global Methodist Church’s Director of Clergy and Church Relations.
“I have received numerous calls from clergy and laypeople who are enthusiastic about planting new Global Methodist local churches,” said Pleasants. “It is imperative that we begin immediately planting these new congregations; this partnership with Asbury is wonderful news for the kingdom of God.”
Founded in 1923, in addition to its main campus in Kentucky, Asbury Theological Seminary operates the Dunnam Campus in Orlando, Florida, and extension sites in Colorado, Springs, Colorado, Memphis, Tennessee, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Just over 1,800 students are enrolled at the Seminary.
“Our prayer is that this day will be just as significant as any of the days over the Seminary’s last 100 years,” said Tumblin. “We pray that by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit that lives upon lives will say yes to Jesus, and yes to the call of serving in the church.”
The Global Methodist Church was launched on May 1, 2022, by the Transitional Leadership Council, a body charged with the governing oversight of the new church until its convening General Conference at a date still to be determined.
“There is a vital need for deeply trained, spiritually vibrant leaders to grow a new generation of churches,” said the Rev. Jessica LaGrone, a member of the Global Methodist Church’s Transitional Leadership Council and Dean of the Chapel at the Seminary. “It’s exciting to witness a partnership that will strengthen the momentum of church planting for this crucial season.”
Learn more about the Global Methodist Church by visiting GlobalMethodist.org.
The Rev. Walter Fenton serves as secretary for the Global Methodist Church’s Transitional Leadership Council.