FROM THE SEMINARIES: Leo Day to lead SWBTS Center for the Arts; Spurgeon College implements Fusion changes

by SBC Seminary Staff, posted Monday, June 03, 2019 (3 months ago)

Leo Day
SWBTS photo
From the Seminaries: Leo Day to lead the new Center for the Arts at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Spurgeon College implements Fusion changes.

Leo Day to lead new SWBTS Center for the Arts

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Leo Day has been named as founding director of the Southwestern Center for the Arts to develop and expand current avenues of private and group instruction to the seminary community and surrounding area in music as well as dramatic and visual arts.

Southwestern Seminary President Adam W. Greenway, in making the announcement today (June 3), described Day as "a gifted musician and performer," voicing gratitude "that someone with his formidable talents and vast expertise will launch this new institutional initiative expanding our seminary's longstanding commitment to training those who will serve the body of Christ in the worship and creative arts area."

Day, who came to the seminary in 2013, has been dean of the School of Church Music and Worship. He previously served as minister of music at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla. He also had teaching experience from various roles at the University of West Florida, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and William Carey University in Mississippi

Day has overseen the seminary's annual Gala, the annual Keyboards and Carols at Christmas concert and the annual Summer Music Camp, which began which under his leadership to enrich high school students' musical talents through an on-campus week-long workshop.

"My entire life has been filled with music," Day said. "In fact, music has been at the core of my existence since I was a teenager. I have witnessed the power of music as an instrument that, through the Holy Spirit, brings others closer to God.

"My prayer is that those who will be trained in the Southwestern Center for the Arts will then use their musical gifts to glorify God," Day said.

Day holds a doctor of musical arts in vocal performance from Louisiana State University; a master of music in vocal performance from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; and an undergraduate degree in vocal performance from William Carey University. He has recorded two solo albums, "He Loves Me" and "Solace for the Soul."

The new center, to be housed in the School of Church Music and Worship, will host various concert series, camps and workshops as well as develop art and music curriculum to strengthen and revitalize youth and children's choirs in local churches. As director of the center, Day will also continue as professor of voice at the seminary.

"Southwestern Seminary has long been the leader in Southern Baptist theological education in providing the highest quality and most comprehensive training for those called to minister through music and worship," Greenway said, "and my administration is committed to strengthening our work in these critical areas. Our new Southwestern Center for the Arts is one more way our seminary will be able to develop and equip men and women for more faithful Kingdom service."

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Spurgeon College implements changes to its Fusion program

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) -- With the culmination of the Fusion: International spring semester global missions phase, changes to the program are underway at Spurgeon College, the undergraduate arm of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

On May 17, 59 Fusion students who had returned to campus celebrated with family, friends and the Midwestern Seminary community during the annual commitment ceremony after their nearly five-month overseas missions in locations like North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, West Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

Wearing the traditional garb of the countries where they served alongside International Mission Board missionaries during spring semester, each cohort of four or five students and their group leaders were awarded Bibles as they committed to live out Great Commission values learned over the past year through Fusion.

As one version of the Fusion program ended, a new-look era of the program began.

Midwestern President Jason Allen noted key changes "that we feel will be effective and beneficial to everyone involved well into the future."

The most significant changes entail implementation of Fusion: North America; a shift to summer-long deployments; and bidding farewell to the program's executive director, Scott Brawner.

Fusion: North America, which officially launched in January, will consist of students spending time during their first year at Spurgeon College living within the context of a cohort (groups of four to five students) intentionally preparing for a summer of service alongside a NAMB church planter.

Cohorts will participate in evangelism and Bible-centered life-on-life discipling, beginning with the training phase specifically tailored toward evangelistic ministry in North American contexts during the college's academic year and continuing through the summer project of approximately 10 weeks.

The first group of five students departed for Chicago and Clarkston, Ga., on May 18 to begin their missions phase. They will return in August to Midwestern's campus.

Fusion: International, meanwhile, will be similar to Fusion: North America with students training throughout the academic year and deploying alongside IMB missionaries during the summer months. Previously, the cohorts trained for a semester on campus during the fall before deploying overseas for the spring semester.

"We are eager to see how expanding Fusion to a 12-month process will positively impact our students, our partnership with IMB and NAMB, and our institution," said Erik Odegard, now director of Fusion. "For our students, they will continue to have a life-changing deployment to hard places. But now their academic training on campus will be stronger than ever while not hindering our team leaders from advancing in their degree programs.

"For our partners at IMB and NAMB, they will continue to get mid-length teams who serve their long-term church planting strategy, but now they will receive them even more well-trained than before. For Spurgeon College, the campus will enjoy the ongoing presence of our teams zealously preparing to take the Gospel to hard places."

Odegard added that Fusion students will benefit from the increased imprint of their college professors and campus culture prior to deployment.

"It is our eager expectation that these changes will help us better accomplish our vision of raising up disciples committed to living so others may hear and live," Odegard said.

Fusion was founded in 2005 by Scott Brawner, who served as the group's on-campus director from 2005-2007 and then in varying capacities until 2015 when he assumed the role of executive director. During the May 17 commitment ceremony, Brawner was honored by Allen for his service to the program.

"We are deeply thankful to Scott Brawner for the instrumental role he has played in establishing and directing Fusion and for his years of faithful service and oversight," Allen said. "We pray that Scott and his family will be blessed as they continue to serve Jesus through their other significant ministry roles."

Odegard, of his new role with Fusion, said, "I have been privileged to serve in Fusion in a variety of capacities since 2008. The Lord was pleased to use it as a significant aid in my own sanctification, and I have witnessed Him do the same in the lives of hundreds of others.

"To be entrusted with the stewardship of this program is a great honor and a tremendous responsibility. There must be few endeavors more worthy of investing a life in -- equipping those who are taking the saving message of Christ to those who have never heard, first for a few months and then for a lifetime."

To learn more about the Fusion program, visit https://spurgeoncollege.com/academics/fusion/ or call 816-414-3777.

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by the communications office of Southwestern Baptitst Tehological Seminary and T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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