Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association has been given a former banking training center in Birmingham that will be used as the ministry’s operational headquarters.
The donated building is a 203,511 square-foot facility and sits at 210 Wildwood Parkway. Dawson’s evangelistic ministry and its student focus, Strength to Stand, will be housed in the building.
The ministry also plans to launch the STS Institute at its new home. The new two-year trade school for ministry begins this fall with a focus group and will welcome its inaugural class in the fall of 2024. The school’s goals include equipping the next generation of youth pastors and worship leaders through one year of educational, theological and leadership training followed by a year of supervised ministry. Upon completion of the program, students have opportunity for placement in full-time ministry jobs.
Formerly owned by Patriot Equities, a suburban-Philadelphia commercial real estate company, the space is outfitted to house 600 Institute students for learning, SDEA offices and future growth. Patriot Equities connected with SDEA earlier this year through Shannon Waltchack, a Birmingham commercial real estate firm. The facility is move-in ready and passed all necessary code inspections, a rarity in real estate donation.
‘Sending center for ministry’
“God knew this would be our sending center for ministry,” Dawson, founder and CEO of SDEA, said. “It had been vacant for four years, and to their credit, Patriot maintained the building throughout that time. What was originally meant to be a training center for bankers, God knew would be our home.”
SDEA exists to reach America with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It annually hosts evangelistic gatherings in cities across America through its UNITE movement and Safe at Home Faith & Family Nights in partnership with Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the National Football League. It also hosts thousands of students every summer and winter at STS Conference, STS Camp and STS Mission, and it supports student pastors through its STS Counseling and Student Pastor Retreat initiatives.
As of its 35th anniversary last year, SDEA had shared the gospel with more than a million people nationally in cities such as Las Vegas, San Antonio, Pensacola, Kansas City, New York City, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Tampa, Chicago, Tulsa, Pigeon Forge, Panama City Beach and more.
With the ministry entering its next chapter, the new campus becomes the centerpiece of these outreach efforts and the place where SDEA trains future ministers, hosts gatherings, collaborates with other nonprofit and ministry organizations and launches a movement to unite America.
“There was a time when SDEA had a birth, and we thought it might have a death,” he said, “but now it’s become a legacy ministry. We’re passionate about reaching the next generation and believe if we can reach them, we can reach America.”
Dawson’s belief is never run ahead of the vision you have. In the early months of 2023, he heard from churches across the country about the need for qualified, called student pastors. He shared the need and cast the vision for STS Institute at a pastor’s breakfast earlier this year. Within days SDEA began receiving pledges from church partners to support the Institute.
“That’s when I knew it was time to do [the Institute],” Dawson said. “We didn’t know about the building then, but we knew we needed new space with our team growing and the Institute launching. When we saw the facility, I believed God could give it to us if it was supposed to be ours.”
Plans already exist for the ground, first and second floors with the STS Institute and SDEA offices. Dawson and his team are praying and planning how to utilize floors three, four and five.
“It has to be to a win-win,” Dawson said. “I don’t believe in win-losses. If it’s a win-win, then I know God’s in it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written and originally published by the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association.