Students from the 2020-2021 Fusion season. Fusion is a program for college students through Spurgeon College.The mission of Spurgeon College’s Fusion program is “to equip young believers for a lifetime by providing a directional process from adolescence to biblical adulthood.”
Founded in 2005 at Midwestern College (now Spurgeon College), Fusion began to encourage young Christians to grow into biblical manhood and womanhood by embracing the call of the gospel. Those who participate in the Fusion program prepare to take the calculated risk of trusting Jesus to draw people to Himself as His name is lifted to the ends of the earth.
Fusion students take ownership of the faith by facing great responsibility with high expectation in the context of life-on-life discipleship in small teams called “cohorts.”
Erik Odegard, director of Fusion and a graduate of the program, encourages any student who is contemplating serving through missions to seriously consider Fusion.
Theodore Shaull (left), was a student in the Fusion program this past year. During Phase One of the program, Shaull established a relationship with a man named Abdul (right) in Kansas City. Eventually, Shaull shared the gospel with Abdul. “Our conversation ended there, but Abdul has been in my prayers every day,” he said.
“If there’s a high school student who has a sense that the Lord might be leading them into missions, I really think that this is a program that has to be on the table,” said Odegard. “If someone is wrestling with a call to missions, this program can be something that solidifies that for them.”
In phase one of the Fusion program, students are trained spiritually through churches in the Kansas City area and by their team leader. The students also receive academic training at Spurgeon College and end the first year of the program with 31 accredited college hours. Additionally, physical training and contextual training (including First Aid and Survival Training, Public Transportation Training and International Security Training) are required as the students prepare to go to the ends of the earth to make disciples.
Phase two of the Fusion program provides students with a chance to apply their training around the world. Partnering with long-term IMB missionary efforts, the entire summer (May – July) is spent on the international mission field, learning the local culture and fulfilling the mission assignment tasked by Jesus in the Great Commission.
Hannah Pursell (pictured, front left), served in West Africa this summer through the Fusion program. Hannah and her partner developed relationships with a group of women and children throughout the summer, and shared the gospel with them on numerous occasions. “God answered my prayer to meet someone and share the gospel… What a joy it was to see God moving and working in West Africa,” said Pursell.
Odegard explained why Fusion partners with IMB and why it’s beneficial to both the Fusion students and IMB missionaries.
“In many ways, a missions program at a Southern Baptist school really only makes sense if we’re prioritizing the work of Southern Baptist missionaries,” said Odegard.
He continued, “Fusion students are being trained to work together to reach unreached people groups and IMB has a very clear focus on accomplishing the missionary task among every people in the world. As we train up Fusion students to make disciples for the rest of their life, it would make sense that we partner with people who are dedicating their entire lives to that very same task.”
IMB missionary Chase Tozer*, who hosted three Fusion cohorts this summer in South Asia, reported great success from the students and conveyed his thanks for the program.
“Even this year with great challenges related to rolling lockdowns and movement restrictions across South Asia, God was able to use the students in mighty ways,” said Tozer. “They boldly followed Jesus’ calling into very remote areas and modeled faithful obedience to local believers.”
Delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions, Fusion students from the 2019-2020 season served overseas this summer with students from this year’s class. As the 60 total deployed students served alongside IMB partners, they engaged 79 unreached people groups, shared the gospel with 3,327 people, witnessed 549 professions of faith and saw 15 baptisms of new believers.
A cohort of Fusion students served in Central Asia this summer. The students built a relationship with a local friend and were able to share the gospel with her. The girls ask for prayers for their friend to respond to the gospel messages.
Julia B., student mobilization associate for IMB and Fusion graduate, shared how impactful the program is.
“It’s transformative,” she said. “Probably the best part about the transformation is that it happens in community. You start the process as part of a team and you walk through this season together as a team. There are others who bear witness to that life transformation alongside you, and you walk away from Fusion transformed and with a unique community that will last a lifetime.”
Those who complete their international component return and finish their training in phase three by earning a bachelor’s degree. Sharing the gospel is no longer just an option, but simply what they do, regardless of where they are. Fusion does not find its success in what happens during the process; rather, in what happens through the transformed lives of those who completed it.
“This program’s a great year for anyone who wants to be under the leadership of someone who will disciple them in a life-on-life context,” said Odegard. “Through challenges the Lord grows us and sanctifies us. I’ve seen lives look completely different after Fusion than when they started.”
*Name changed for security
Interested in learning more about the Fusion program? Visit their website today!
Fusion also offers opportunities to discover more about the program. Visit their event page to learn more about Fusion Youth Weekend, a two-day event taking place this October, and Night for the Nations, taking place February 2022.
Catherine Finch is a writer for IMB.
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