Asbury Theological Seminary recently announced a $5 million gift from a long-time friend and trustee of Asbury Theological Seminary in support of the Church Planting Initiative and global partnerships as set forth in the seminary’s strategic plan. The initial gift of $3 million this year will be followed by a second gift of $2 million in the sixth year of the program.

In 2010 Asbury adopted an ambitious strategic plan, known as the 2023 Strategic Plan. This gift represents a major investment in Asbury Seminary’s 2023 Strategic Plan. The strategic road map will guide Asbury into missional vibrancy in a number of key areas by the year 2023 when the seminary will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Twelve of the fifty-five goals of the Seminary’s Strategic Plan involve the globalization of Asbury Theological Seminary as a part of its commitment to serve and to learn from the global church. In particular, the plan anticipates that, by the year 2023, 40 percent of Asbury’s graduates will devote a portion of their ministry to church planting. This also includes fostering new church planting networks in North America and around the world.

Launched in the fall of 2013, Asbury Seminary’s church planting program combines technical training in the practice of church planting, biblical, theological and missiological study, training in leadership and strategic planning, and field-based internships with effective church planters around the world.

This gift will assist in the training of church planters, the design of innovative delivery systems, the coordination of church planting internships, and the stimulation and connection of church planting movements in North America and across the globe.

“This is one of the most strategic gifts we have received in providing the necessary support to fulfill our 2023 Strategic Plan,” said President Timothy C. Tennent. “I am particularly delighted because this gift represents our clear commitment to the command of Jesus Christ in the Great Commission to ‘make disciples of all nations’ and our determination not to forget the two billion people around the world who have little or no access to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.”

It is anticipated these new initiatives will begin in the fall of 2014 and will be coupled with an invitation to other donors to further extend and leverage this generous “launch” gift.

The donor has previously contributed over $4 million to Asbury Seminary, including gifts since 2000 totaling $2.1 million for scholarships for International Scholars and the 2004 Challenge Gift, which generated a record amount of donations to Asbury’s unrestricted fund.

“We are making this gift because we have seen Asbury Seminary mature over the last four years into a strategic resource for helping the body of Christ, globally, achieve its Great Commission mandate, and advance the second coming of the Messiah, according to Matthew 24:14,” said the donor.

Asbury Theological Seminary is an approved seminary of The Wesleyan Church.