FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS)—Students who feel called to missions will soon have the opportunity to get a jump on their education while actively serving on the mission field. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced an alternative option to its 2+2 program, opening the door for graduates of the College at Southwestern to serve for two years on the mission field at the front of their master’s degree, while earning 24 hours of master’s level credit.
“It will facilitate students to engage field learning processes earlier and to bring a more seasoned set of insights to the classroom dynamics when they return for the final phase of their studies,” said Keith Eitel, dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern. “The main open door is that it will hopefully mean a larger flow of light-bearing students to join into the task of penetrating the darkness of global lostness.”
In partnership with the then Foreign Mission Board (now IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention, Eitel created and pioneered the original 2+2 program while on faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1994. The initial version allowed students to attend seminary for two years and then complete their remaining hours on the field.
“Jump Start 2+2” students will serve with trained field mentors either in international or North American church planting before transitioning back to Southwestern’s campus to finalize their M.Div. requirements. Courses on the field are “customized to apply directly to their on-field circumstances,” Eitel said.