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$50 million capital campaign launched by NOBTS trustees

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Trustees of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary authorized administrators to begin a capital campaign for implementation of the seminary’s new master plan, elected two new professors and heard a report concerning the highest fall enrollment in the seminary’s 82-year history.
Meeting in their annual fall session on the seminary campus Oct. 12-13, trustees set long-range goals of $30-$50 million to be realized over the next eight to 10 years as phase one of the seminary’s new master plan gets under way, as well as a base goal of $8 million to be realized over the next three years to complete phase one. Trustee chairman Bill Hanberry of Hattiesburg, Miss., reaffirmed the seminary’s policy of “not spending money we don’t have” and assured the full trustee board construction would proceed only as funds are available. Phase one of the master plan includes:
— total renovation of a main classroom facility, the Bunyan Building, with installation of state-of-the-art educational technology;
— construction of 52 student apartment units, including 16 four-bedroom apartments and 36 three-bedroom apartments;
— construction of a new playground and tennis courts in the heart of student housing;
— construction of new faculty homes on currently vacant lots and renovation of existing homes.
The master plan, approved unanimously during the March 1999 trustee meeting, involved a 20-year total renovation and reconstruction process for the seminary’s 86-acre campus, originally built in the early 1950s on the site of an old pecan orchard in eastern New Orleans. Founded by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1917, the seminary sold its first campus after there was no more room for expansion at its then-uptown New Orleans location.
Philip Pinckard was elected associate professor of missions, occupying the Owen Copper Chair of Global Missions. Leo Day was elected assistant professor of voice. Both have been serving by presidential appointment since Aug. 1.
Pinckard, 47, who was the seminary’s visiting associate professor of ethics during the 1998-99 academic year, was a missionary in Macau with the SBC’s International Mission Board from 1993-98. He previously was pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Metairie, La., from 1986-93.
Originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., Pinckard is a graduate of Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, Tenn., and of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, with master of divinity, master of arts in religious education and doctor of philosophy degrees, majoring in ethics. He and his wife, Sandy, have two school-aged children.
Day, 32, has taught for nearly a decade at William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., after turning down the opportunity to pursue a full-time career in opera. An accomplished tenor soloist, Day said he “made a conscious choice to teach” following his graduation from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., in 1990 with a master of music degree in vocal performance.
Originally from Canton, Miss., Day was minister of music at Southside Baptist Church, Gautier, Miss., from 1985-88. He has served as a music evangelist and as a Christian concert singer and soloist at numerous Baptist churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Florida and New York, as well as at Southwestern Seminary.
Day completed the bachelor of music degree in vocal performance at William Carey College. He currently is a doctoral student in musical arts at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and is completing his dissertation this year. Day and his wife, Donna, who is from Jamaica, are expecting their first child in November.
Chuck Gaines, dean of students, presented a detailed report regarding trends in the composition of the student population. Current fall enrollment is over 2,000, with all totals from the seminary’s 14 extension center campuses and fall academic workshop registrations not yet in. The total already marks the first time in seminary history that fall enrollment has passed 2,000.
During the 1998-99 academic year, total non-duplicating headcount was 2,486, with significant increase in on-campus enrollment. The latest statistics show a 22 percent increase in the full-time equivalency student funding formula, a 57 percent increase in the doctor of ministry degree program, a 36 percent increase in the music degree program, a 28 percent increase in the baccalaureate degree program and a 7 percent increase in the master of divinity degree program.
In other business, trustees:
— authorized a partnership with Capital Baptist Theological Seminary, near Seoul, South Korea, to offer the doctor of ministry degree program. “A partnership between the two schools could be mutually beneficial,” said Steve Lemke, NOBTS provost, noting NOBTS would be careful to follow ATS guidelines on partnerships with international schools. “Not only would such a partnership enhance academic preparation for our students, but it would also afford mission opportunities and opportunities to achieve a more global vision of world missions,” Lemke said.
— approved a six-point plan for a future closure of the trailer park located at the back of seminary property. Chuck Kelley, NOBTS president, is set to announce full details within the coming week to the 45 seminary students and staff involved. “Removal of all trailers is absolutely essential for the master plan to work,” Kelley said, as that land is needed for set-up work on new multi-family apartments. “From the time the trailer park was created, it was bound to come to a phase-out time,” he said. “Now is the time, and it is my job to minister to these students in these circumstances.”
— approved formation of a task force to study the seminary’s bylaws and make recommendations for revisions.
— approved use of FACTS, a fast automated cash transfer system, allowing students to establish monthly automated bank drafts from their checking accounts to pay for tuition. “This tuition payment plan will assist students in budgeting their seminary educational expenses,” Gaines said.
— approved polices guiding the creation of graduate and undergraduate courses to be available by Internet access Jan. 2000.
— learned of a $5,000 gift from the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth to the seminary to enable more students to be involved in both international and domestic evangelism projects in the current academic year. Two other endowment funds also have been established in recent years at the seminary to help lower the cost of student travel expenses for mission trips.
“The heart of our president is for all students to experience an overseas mission trip at least once during their seminary career,” said Chuck Register, director of the seminary’s Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth. During the 1998-99 academic year the seminary sponsored six mission trips and projects.
— heard a report concerning the seminary’s Y2K compliancy, now approximately 90 percent complete. The seminary has owned its own Internet server — nobts.edu — for the past three years.
A leader among theological schools for innovative use of technology in education, NOBTS operates an ever-expanding Information and Technology Center, with a full-service student computer lab and a suite of computerized classrooms for everything from Greek exegesis to doctoral-level statistics classes, as well as introductory computer courses.
Many computer-savvy churches are linking their church websites to the NOBTS site to benefit from an interactive gospel presentation available on the Internet, designed last year by the NOBTS Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth.
“NOBTS, along with the SBC as a denomination, is taking the Y2K situation very seriously,” Kelley said, “and we are doing all we can to do everything we can not only to be Y2K compliant, but also to be pure in our use of the Internet as a resource to equip leaders to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments through the local church and its ministries.”
In his report to trustees, Kelley said the seminary’s creation of the nation’s first competency-based master of divinity degree and the switch to the semester system in August have been “extremely positive.” In designing the new competency-based curriculum for debut this fall, faculty and administrators reinvented the seminary for the 21st century, Kelley said.
“He who thinks he is leading when nobody is following is only out for a walk,” Kelley said, “and what we realized is that if we want to see our churches turn around, we’re going to have to give our students basic leadership skills: organizing, planning, working with people and effective servant leadership.” He said he hopes the students’ seminary experience will best prepare them to make an impact on the 80 percent of churches in America that are either plateaued or declining.
Noting a trend for the world’s population to become increasingly more urban, Kelley said, “We are excited about being an urban seminary,” and said he has a desire for students to be prepared for successful ministry in urban environments. “The health of the seminary is determined by the health of the churches that its graduates lead,” Kelley said, explaining the seminary’s focus on local churches through its new competency-based curriculum.
“Our teaching philosophy at New Orleans Seminary has always been ‘Learning to Do, Doing to Learn,’ and this is the best place to do that,” he said.
Classes offered on the semester system have been particularly beneficial for students who could not come to seminary full-time before because of other time constraints, Kelley said. With the semester system, some classes are offered only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, making class schedules more convenient for working students. “New Orleans Seminary is committed to making seminary education as accessible as possible to as many people as possible,” he said.
The trustee visit to the campus included what has become a tradition since Kelley’s inauguration in October 1996, a revival-type concert for the entire seminary family on one night of the trustee meetings. This year’s concert, held Oct. 12, featured music evangelist Chris Machen in a presentation of “In the Presence of Greatness: A Service of Worship and Praise,” written by Machen and his wife, Diane.
This year Kelley additionally called for all students, faculty and staff to join the trustee board and seminary administrators in 24 hours of prayer and fasting, Oct. 11-12, “realizing there is a need for the refreshing of the soul that can only be brought be the very breath of God,” he said. Kelley said he hoped to “see this period of spiritual discipline and renewal ignite a spark of revival for the entire seminary community and lead to an outpouring of the blessings of God on the School of Providence and Prayer and the city of New Orleans.”

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  • Debbie Moore