HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT)— The Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association is expanding. They will open a new home facility in Homewood this morning.

The former banking training center that was donated to SDEA will not only serve as the organization’s headquarters, but also as the central location of their new Strength to Stand Institute.

SDEA communications director Jordan Cox said the STS institute is a ministry training program they plan to officially launch in the fall of 2024.

This will help with the pastor shortage Cox said they’re seeing across the country, especially amongst youth pastors.

Cox noted they’re not trying to compete with traditional undergraduate education or seminary but are instead carving out a new lane that’s more affordable and timelier.

“And really something that focuses on not only the classroom training students need, but really a second key component of the program is they’re going to spend a supervised year of ministry on staff at a local church before we place them into a job,” said Cox. “And so, it’s one year of classroom training, one year of supervised work on the job, on a church staff. And then, hopefully we will be able to place them into a full-time job at the end of those two years.”

Cox said they have over 30 churches in their own network that need youth pastors and can’t find them. 

These are vacancies they’re looking to help fill as quickly as possible through the STS Institute, so the next generation of ministers can start making an impact today.

“We don’t want to lose our students to so many things that are vying for their attention right now,” said Cox. “We believe we have one of the greatest messages in the world, if not, the greatest message in the world to share, and so, we want to make sure that we’re producing student pastors and worship leaders and production ministers who are passionate about the local church and who want to see communities come to know Christ.”

Cox also said their new campus will also become a space to host gatherings and collaborate with other non-profit and ministry organizations.

“It’s not just going to be our SDEA team, it won’t just be STS institute,” said Cox. “We have hopes that God will do far more with this facility than we could ever dream up on our own. And it’s really going to be a launching pad and what we’re calling a sending center right here from Homewood to not only impact our state but hopefully our country.”

Through a statement, the Homewood Mayor’s office said they’re excited to see SDEA’s training program move to their city because it adds to the diverse fabric of their community and helps fill a much-needed void not only locally, but nationwide.

To learn more about SDEA and the STS institute, you can click here or email info@scottdawson.org.