A window cleaner, an associate pastor and an educator 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) launched the Intersect Project in 2015. 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 and the material adapted into three easy-to-read discipleship books: Every Square Inch, Every Waking HourandEvery Good Thing.
SEBTS has also hosted special events. The Wisdom Forum, hosted in 2015 and 2018, brought together leading Christian thinkers with brief, compelling presentations on the relationship between faith and culture, work and economics, and an Intersect Pastor’s Conference in 2016 connected issues of faith, flourishing, economics and culture to pastors, church planters, parachurch staff and students. A 2020 Science and Faith Conference hosted a fascinating conversation on the intersection of faith and the vocation of scientists.
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.
In 2020, the Center for Faith and Culture debuted a new podcast, Christ & Culture, in which Ken Keathley interviews leading Christian thinkers on topics of faith and culture, work, science, theology and more. The aim is to help everyday Christians understand the world better through their Christian faith.
To expand the reach of these efforts, the Intersect Project’s website serves as central hub for these and other resources. 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.
In the flurry of activity, SEBTS’ goal with the Intersect Project has been the same: 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. Stafford Beasley serves as an associate pastor in Virginia. He finds the Intersect Project’s resources helpful in his ministry. “Intersect’s articles are always so relevant. They’re also easy to find when I am looking for perspective on a particular topic,” he says. “This combination of helpfulness and accessibility is rare to find.”
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 920,000 people have visited the website, and almost 2,500 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.
Cody Beasley is one such reader. Beasley, a window cleaner and graduate student at Southeastern Seminary, has found the resources helpful in his own life: “When things happen in the world that I don’t fully understand, such as racial tensions, I know Intersect is a place I can go to be educated about these things from a Christian perspective.”
Salt and Light to the World
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.”