A Navy chaplain, cross-cultural worker, women’s discipleship leader and legal assistant would typically have little in common. But they do share one thing: they, like thousands of other believers, have been challenged to integrate their work, culture, faith and concepts of economic wisdom via the resources of the Intersect Project.
The Genesis of the Intersect Project
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) joined the Oikonomia Network in 2015 with its new initiative: the Intersect Project. An equipping ministry of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, the Intersect Project aims to help pastors and church leaders engage the intersection of faith, flourishing, economics and culture, so they can lead believers in their churches to do likewise. In short, the Intersect Project sought to take this growing conversation to the pulpit and the pew.
To achieve this goal, SEBTS developed three electives to train current and future pastors to lead their congregations toward a robust and healthy view of the workplace, economics and culture. These electives were then repackaged into Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the material adapted into three easy-to-read discipleship books: Every Square Inch, Every Waking HourandEvery Good Thing.
SEBTS also hosted special events. The Wisdom Forum, hosted in 2015 and 2018, brought together leading Christian thinkers with brief, compelling presentations on how faith relates to culture, work and economics. An Intersect Pastor’s Conference in 2016 connected issues of faith, flourishing, economics and culture to pastors, church planters, parachurch staff and students.
SEBTS has also aimed to move the conversation forward in the academy. A retreat in 2018 equipped faculty to develop rhythms of rest in their work. In addition, a 2016 PhD symposium challenged doctoral students to integrate ideas about economics and flourishing into their scholarship, and a 2018 curriculum project brought together a group of SEBTS scholars and teachers to write articles about how these topics intersect with their various disciplines.
To expand the reach of these efforts, the Intersect Project’s website serves as central hub for these resources and more. The website publishes daily articles from faculty, students and alumni to engage everyday readers. These articles reach new audiences through social media, and they offer a chance for readers across the globe to be exposed to the Intersect Project’s resources.
SEBTS’ goal with the Intersect Project has been consistent across its many activities: to take the conversation about faith, culture and economic wisdom to the pulpit and the pew.
Taking Intersect to the Pulpit
The Intersect Project has equipped pastors to engage this important topic. The Intersect Project website has published articles targeted to pastors to give them tools to engage relevant topics in their congregations.
These efforts to equip pastors are bearing fruit. Matthew Brogli serves as the Senior Pastor of Eagle Springs Baptist Church in Eagle Springs, N.C. He finds the Intersect Project’s resources helpful in his ministry.
“The Intersect Project is helping me to see how faith, culture, economics and work can all touch,” he said. “As a pastor, the articles equip me to communicate with people in my congregation on important issues from perspectives outside of my own.”
Keri Bosch agrees. Bosch is leader in women’s discipleship at Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest, N.C. “The Intersect Project has helped me as a leader in women’s discipleship to encourage and equip others to become leaders as well,” she said.
The Intersect Project is making a difference not just on the SEBTS campus, but for pastors serving local churches across the country.
Taking Intersect to the Pew
The Intersect Project has also sought to take the conversation about faith, culture and flourishing to everyday Christians in the pew.
In particular, the Intersect Project website has become an increasingly respected resource for information about these topics. More than 420,000 people have visited the website, and almost 2,900 email subscribers receive weekly updates. Some of these subscribers are pastors, but others are everyday Christians who desire to know how faith impacts the rest of their lives.
Billy Hardison of Virginia Beach, Va., is one such reader. As a Navy chaplain, he regularly uses Intersect resources. “The work of Intersect is critical to me and my ministry,” he said. “I routinely use your resources and articles to help initiate discussions, give cultural context to apply theological truths or aid others in living their faith more vibrantly in the public square.”
The Intersect Project resources have also influenced Brandon Webber. Webber is an SEBTS student and an employee at a shipping company. Intersect Project resources have challenged him to integrate faith with his work: “These resources have helped me navigate the secular workforce while processing the deep truths of God’s Word.”
In addition, Tessa Baker, who serves as a cross-cultural worker in Madagascar, has taken advantage of Intersect’s resources of economics and flourishing. “The site has pointed me toward some helpful resources I’m interested in exploring further on wealth and poverty,” she said.
At SEBTS, faculty and staff daily seek to equip believers in all spheres of life to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission. The Intersect Project has become a part of that mission. With the Intersect Project, Christians from the pulpit to the pew are being encouraged to bear God’s image in all of life and proclaim the gospel message with all its personal and cultural implications.
“God calls us to be ‘salt and light’ to the world,” says Intersect reader and South Carolina educator Dawn Mitchell. “Intersect has been a wonderful resource for helping me to think about how my faith intersects with the issues of the modern world.”