In 1991, Pastor R. Kent Hughes and College Church in Wheaton started an annual Workshop on Biblical Exposition. This Workshop was inspired by and modeled after those Dick Lucas and the Proclamation Trust had been running in London since the 1980s. By the late 1990s, the Wheaton Workshop had grown so much that it needed to expand.
At the same time, in 1998, Holy Trinity Church in Chicago was planted out of College Church by Dave Helm and Jon Dennis. Shortly thereafter, Holy Trinity Church launched Chicago Plan, a ministry training program with three distinct elements: classroom style teaching, ministry exposure in a real-life church, and mentoring from a pastor.
To manage these two growing ministries, David Helm, R. Kent Hughes, Jon Dennis, and two businesspeople founded a new organization. It was named for Charles Simeon, an evangelical and trainer of preachers in Cambridge, England, who ministered for 54 challenging years (1783-1836). You can read more about Charles Simeon in this short biographical sketch [pdf, 167kb]. On January 23, 2001, the Charles Simeon Trust was born.
The mission of the Charles Simeon Trust was and is to “promote the growth of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world by training up the next generation of Biblical expositors.” The Trust does this one thing through four initiatives that have developed and grown over time. Each aims to increase the confidence and ability of pastors and Bible teachers to rightly handle God’s Word. We want each person to be convinced that God’s Word is powerful and eager to teach it to their people.
Workshops on Biblical Exposition are 2-3 day, in-person training events that are interactive and skill-based. Since the founding of the Charles Simeon Trust, the Workshops have continued to grow. Over the Trust’s first decade, Workshops developed for working pastors. In 2011, the Trust began dedicated Workshops for women in ministry. These proved immensely popular and have been expanding since. In 2013, at the direction of the Board of Directors, the Trust began to aggressively add Workshops for pastors outside of the US and Canada, now comprising more than half of all the Workshops the Trust runs. Part of the strategy also included opening a Canadian office in 2015, which now has its own Board of Directors in Canada, to expand our Canadian Workshops with Canadian instructors.
After two years of research and testing, the Trust launched our Online Courses in 2009. From one course, this ministry has grown to offer several courses in seven languages (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish). Online Courses can be taken by individuals or groups. Many pastors use them to train lay leaders in their churches or form gathering of pastors and Bible teachers from numerous churches just to keep practicing.
Throughout, the Trust has been committed to producing resources to support our work and the work of pastors and Bible teachers. From books like Dave Helm’s immensely popular Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today (Crossway) to numerous free audio and video resources on our website to our new podcast called Preachers’ Talk in partnership with 9Marks, we aim to help anyone who teaches the Bible.
CHICAGO COURSE ON PREACHING
In 2019, a long-time dream was realized with the launch of the Chicago Course on Preaching. This intensive, residential training course seeks to provide the best possible practical training in Bible handling to the next generation of preachers. It runs year-round in Chicago and attracts both domestic students and trainers from overseas.
To learn what God is doing today, you can read our most recent Annual Report here.