Covenant Seminary named Dr. Murray Lee (MDiv ’06), a Covenant graduate and current member of the seminary’s advisory board, as interim director of the Church Planting Track in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program, effective July 1, 2018. Dr. Lee, senior pastor of Cahaba Park Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Alabama, is a seasoned church planter and organizational leader who brings years of valuable experience in these areas to his new role. He will continue to serve at Cahaba Park while stepping in to help the Seminary fill the gap left by the departure of long-time professor and church planting expert Dr. Phil Douglass, who transitions from Covenant this summer to become church planting director for Missouri Presbytery of the PCA.
Lee’s focus at the Seminary will be to oversee the recently created MDiv Church Planting Track, which is currently accepting students for the fall 2018 semester. The track is designed to prepare students interested in and gifted for planting churches after they graduate from seminary. Students may pursue the Church Planting Track either through on-campus residential study or through the new hybrid MDiv format, using a combination of online and on-campus intensive (week-long or weekend) courses to complete the degree. The track offers:
- Classes focused specifically on church planting and related issues.
- Multiple professional assessments of gifting and readiness to be a church planter.
- Mentored oversight and regular evaluation of developing church planters.
- Church planting internship and apprenticeship opportunities that fulfill Field Education and Presbytery internship requirements.
- Training in fundraising and related issues.
- A limited number of Church Planting Scholarships each year for qualified students.
Of his appointment, Dr. Lee said, “Covenant Seminary’s commitment to training leaders to walk in God’s grace, minister God’s word and equip God’s people is contagious. I look forward to serving students in the new MDiv Church Planting Track as they seek to discern God’s call to church planting.”
Lee holds a PhD in organizational communication from the University of Alabama, where he specialized in institutional change dynamics. He planted Cahaba Park Church in 2007 and has served as its senior pastor since then. The church particularized in 2008. God’s blessing enabled the church to grow and flourish to the point where it has planted two daughter churches and is currently helping to plant three more PCA churches in the Birmingham area. Cahaba Park’s COHORT church planting ministry has also played a coaching role in the planting of more than 40 new churches in the United States and Canada.
Dr. Jay Sklar, vice president of academics and professor of Old Testament, commented, “Dr. Lee’s background and experience make him ideally suited for this role. We are grateful for his willingness to step in and are excited to see how the Lord will use him and the Church Planting Track to continue building Christ’s church through our graduates.”
Seminary President Dr. Mark Dalbey agreed: “Murray’s passion for church planting and his ability to pass that passion on to others will make him a valuable addition to the Covenant community. We rejoice for the students who will get to benefit from his teaching and expertise, and we pray the Lord will do mighty things through this partnership.”