Brawner gets creative to tell Fusion story
KANSAS CITY – Scott Brawner, dean of students at Midwestern Baptist College, was pleased with what was accomplished April 19 during the Fusion 2007 Symposium at the Koehn and Myers Center for World Evangelism.
Brawner invited about a dozen leaders to an introduction of the Fusion program, which couples intense discipleship and mentoring with classroom work before sending students on extended mission trips overseas to work with evangelism and church planting ministries.
In the morning, Brawner explained the program by means of PowerPoint and audience interaction. The afternoon was devoted to four different groups of Fusion students on the field—two in Africa, one in North Africa and one in Israel—speaking by means of Internet café computer hookups. Three of the four groups are ministering in closed countries that cannot be identified for security reasons.
Brawner was disappointed with the technical glitches that extended the allotted time by about 15 minutes. He admitted that what he was attempting to do was hard. Overall, though, the former Army Ranger was pleased with how the process of linking to the students just as they are, in the uttermost parts of the earth, helped personalize the symposium.
“Maybe next time we’ll just talk to one group instead of trying to pan across the whole continent,” he said. “That’s not easy.”
As Fusion matures, it keeps on growing from the pilot project that was launched in January 2005 with two students. The first full program began in the fall of last year; the second class of Fusion students is now preparing to graduate May 18.
In the April 19 meeting, a Fusion Ethos was introduced to a group of leaders that included youth pastors, denominational workers, seminary faculty, the state Woman’s Missionary Union president and others.
“We are broadening, or intensifying, the mission,” Brawner said. “The Fusion Ethos is the core values that drive a Fusion graduate—that they will serve the body of Christ, that they will lead the lost to Christ, they’ll exemplify Christ, that they’ll go to the nations to proclaim Christ and give (their) life for the cause of Christ.”
Brawner did not merely invent his core values because he needed them to go with his activity. Rather, these are the core values he has had since he converted in 1987, he said. Now he senses it is important to put these concepts down on paper for the purpose of leadership training—including the practice of “Die Well!” which is the unofficial Fusion motto.
“I would like to look at it as honing a knife,” he said. “You start off with this block of metal, and you shave it down, and then finally you start putting an edge on it. This is what that is. This is adding the sharper edge to the knife.”
A military mindset is not a requirement for a Fusion student, but it sure does help. Military terminology is a big part of Brawner’s approach to ministry, but it would be a mistake to characterize him as purely gung-ho with no seminary nuances. Endurance, perseverance and overcoming in the Christian life are all taught through the life experiences of Fusion.
“Discipline without direction is drudgery,” Brawner said. “What we’re trying to pull out of this program is not soldiers to go to fight a war but young Christian soldiers who will serve the cause of Christ.”
The goal of Fusion, Brawner continued, is to develop a sense of discipline, training and direction as a blend that would pertain to a calling on a young man or woman’s life. In the process, the student discovers that his or her life must count for something besides self.
“It’s been such an opportunity,” said one Fusion leader in North Africa, speaking to the April 19 group by means of Internet microphone and camera. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better as a leadership experience.”