By Jennifer Johnson
Milligan College and Stadia recently announced they have partnered to raise awareness of church planting and further the mission of both institutions. The new partnership was announced in December during a “Church Planting Emphasis Week” at Milligan College and Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Tennessee. The partnership opens a variety of opportunities for both organizations, including theological training for church planters at Milligan/Emmanuel, Stadia-developed church planting courses for students, new internship opportunities for Milligan and Emmanuel students at church plants, and Stadia speakers for Milligan’s Youth in Ministry Student Leadership Conference.
Phyllis Fox, who served as director of church relations and director of the Youth in Ministry program at Milligan, “pitched” the idea and now serves as director of marketing for Stadia.
“When I was at Milligan, I got to know so many high school and college students who were ready to do something for the kingdom and had the gifts to be effective church planters,” Fox says. “But they needed coaching and encouragement. At the same time, Stadia has the financial resources to plant churches, but they’re always looking for gifted planters and leaders. It made sense to work together.”
The partnership also offers planters the opportunity to get the biblical and theological education they need for effective ministry.
“Often when planters are trying to get the church going, they don’t have time for seminary, but once things are established, they’re ready and they’re hungry,” Fox says. “They begin to realize their well is not deep enough for the demands of weekly preaching and long-term ministry. Emmanuel’s programs, especially the online Master of Christian Ministries, is a great option.”
Future plans for the partnership include online affinity groups for both graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in church planting, and Tom Jones, executive director of Stadia, will offer classes in church planting. The organizations also plan to offer academic credit for students and potential planters who work through the Church Planting Assessment Center currently held on campus a few times a year.