Thompson Scholars

The Thompson Scholars program brings pastors and other church leaders with an interest in evangelism to the seminary campus each spring.

This annual seminar is designed to prepare evangelism leaders for the future. Dr. Ralph Basui Watkins, Peachtree Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth, serves as director.

This program includes this annual seminar, and supports the development of courses for basic and advanced degree students. Like the annual seminar, this course work focuses on the church’s evangelistic mission in the rapidly changing context of North America and across the globe.

Who Should Attend?

The program is designed for clergy serving in congregations and other settings of ministry, Christian educators, lay pastors, judicatory staff, and other leaders fully involved in the life of the church engaged in evangelism and the annual topic under consideration.

Currently the seminar is offered by general registration. Should space be an issue, preference may be given to participants who have not participated in previous Thompson Scholar seminars.

Program Structure

The seminar takes place over 3 days, generally Tuesday afternoon – Friday morning. Dr. Watkins and other leaders design a learning experience that draws on the knowledge and expertise of the leaders and participants alike.

Register Now for 2023 Seminar

Seeing the Future of the African American Church in the Rainbow: The Birth of a Movement is the theme of the 2023 seminar, scheduled for April 25-28, 2023. This seminar is now open for registration.

 The seminar will feature Bishop Yvette Flunder, Bishop-Elect Sonya WilliamsRev. Dr. Horace Griffin and Dr. Ralph Basui Watkins. Seminar leaders and participants will reflect together on how to develop a dialogue with mainline African American congregations to birth a movement that transforms the church into a radically inclusive faith community.

The program fee  of $175.00 for this seminar includes seven meals, and all program materials. The seminar costs are underwritten by the Thompson Scholars Endowment. Housing is available on campus for an additional cost.

Program Topics

Recent topics include:

2022: Baptism and Belonging: Creating, Becoming and Being the Beloved Community (canceled)

2021: The Disciple-Making Church: To Grow the Future, We Visit the Past (canceled)

2020: Postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic

2019: Tell Me Your Story and I’ll Know Why I Should Come to Your Church

2017: Evangelism and Social Justice: Re-imagining Evangelism for Such a Time as This

2016: Can They See Your Church? Evangelism in the Digital Age

2015: Spiritual Pioneers: The Call, Risks and Blessings of Church Development

2014: A Different World: Evangelism for the Screenshare Generation

2013: Evangelism: A New Scorecard

2012: Breathing Life into Young Adult Ministry

About the Thompson Scholars Program

Thompson Scholars began in 1981 and is generously supported by an endowment in honor of Cecil Thompson, former professor of evangelism at the seminary.

For more information, please email Sarah Erickson, Director of Lifelong Learning, or call 404-687-4526.