This mixed methods historical study explores the first 15 years of the Master of Divinity with International Church Planting degree (2+2/3 Program) at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The current leadership of the 2+2/3 Program requested this study be conducted, with the desire to gain historical information they may use to assess their strategies and operational plans in educating and guiding future international church planers.
The researcher interviewed five key leaders of the program and four individuals with a close working knowledge of the 2+2/3 Program. The interviews produced a rich history of the 2+2/3 Program that is documented throughout the chapters and summarized in Chapter 4. The second major method of research was a web-based questionnaire surveying the first graduates of the program. The findings from this survey assisted in delineating trends in enrollment, deployment, and graduation. From this survey, the postgraduate employment of the students was analyzed. This survey inquired about the graduate's level of satisfaction with the key elements of preparation, communication, and support they received from the staff of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary while they progressed through the program. Additional reports and spreadsheets received for various administrative offices at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary supplemented the information gathered from the interviews and survey.
From this study, the researcher drew four conclusions. The mission center has, in practice although not formally adopted, performance goals for the 2+2/3 Program. This study provides, from the various mixed sources of data, a measure of these goals. Next, the study inferred significance relationships with the students and the partnership with the International Mission Board. Third, visionary and influential leadership was weaved throughout the history of the program and was evident in the current leadership's methods. Last, measuring the goals of the program requires a robust administrative emphasis and this emphasis requires the development and management of an extensive database.
This study was the first formal assessment of the 2+2/3 Program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The focus of the program in training international church planters, is significant work for the Kingdom God. The hope of this researcher is other researchers will be inspired to study the program further. Some suggestions for additional study would involve a more detailed look at the partnership between Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the International Mission Board focusing on the role and influence of the Board. Studying the program's influence on singleness, courting, marriage, and family dynamics would provide important information for the leadership, as the majority of the deployed units, the nomenclature for students entering the field-based or deployed segment of the program, are families. Another topic to research is an in depth exploration of the attrition rate. The attrition rate of the program was calculated and compared to the perceived goal but this research does not investigate the reasons a student would decide to leave the program. Another interesting topic, similar to the attrition rate, is studying, in more detail, the retention rate extending this study to explore the post-graduation employment history including the long-term placement of graduates of the 2+2/3 Program. The final recommendation, which could be an extension of the aforementioned study, is a comparative analysis of the performance, to established guides, of the 2+2/3er while in the field-based segment of the program and extending to the post-graduation employment focusing primarily with the placements as church planters or as staff members in established churches.