|A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHARLES SIMEON TRUST
In 1998, pastors David Helm and Jon Dennis began work on planting a church on the South Side of Chicago. The plant was mandated and initially supported by their home church, College Church in Wheaton. The small congregation, which would become known as Holy Trinity Church, was founded later that year in Hyde Park near the University of Chicago.
From the very beginning, Holy Trinity Church had training in its plans. In fact, the third of the three divisions in its philosophy of ministry paper is dedicated to the idea of training to instill God’s Word in others. And so, Helm and Dennis took special care to identify young, promising men and women for the purposes of training them for ministry. Each year, one or two young men in the midst of seminary arrived ready for training. As the initiative grew, so did the need to commit resources and time to training.
In 2000-2001, Chicago Plan was born. It combined three distinct elements: classroom style teaching, ministry exposure in a real life church and mentoring from a practicing pastor. The program had grown to six or seven participants each year.
Meanwhile, College Church in Wheaton was continuing to host its annual Workshop on Biblical Exposition—a workshop inspired by and modeled after those of Dick Lucas and the Proclamation Trust in London. The Wheaton Workshop was rapidly growing to the point of warranting new locations. Partner churches around the US began to host regional iterations of the Workshops. With the Workshops on Biblical Exposition growing so quickly and the Chicago Plan needing institutional support, a new organization was needed. The Charles Simeon Trust was founded in January 2001 by David Helm, Jon Dennis and Kent Hughes (then of College Church). Its objective: manage these two initiatives.
By 2007, the Chicago Plan had grown to 25 students. The classroom style teaching still took place on a single afternoon and the participants were working in five different churches/congregations and being mentored by five different pastors. Given the swift expansion, it was once again time to evaluate the infrastructure and the methodology. Along with a newly hired Director of Training, the Director of Ministries and the Executive Director began working on a new training scheme to be called the Simeon Course on Biblical Exposition. The Simeon Course, an online platform for training in exposition, was launched in the autumn of 2009. Today it includes two robust courses (with a third in production) and, through strategic partnerships with seminaries, our students have the ability to take the Course for graduate credit.
Since the founding of the Charles Simeon Trust, the Workshops have continued to grow. They are being held worldwide in more than 40 locations. Naturally, with the rapid growth of the Workshops, adequate expert leadership has become a significant need.
The Charles Simeon Trust continues to add initiatives beyond its commitments to the Workshops and training. Among them are our commitment to producing resources and the Simeon House. Our Resources section collects documents, audio, and video concerning the practice of expository preaching, most of which are available for free. The Simeon House will be a residential consortium of pastors and scholars dedicated to assisting the church through Biblical research.