NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Certain seminary students can now receive a degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary while ministering on a college campus.
How is this possible? By participating in the seminary’s Master of Divinity — Collegiate Ministry Track, an accredited degree recently approved by seminary’s trustees, with the last year of study spent on a college field engaged in ministry.
“A student interested in collegiate ministry will be able to receive quality theological education combined with on-the-job training,” explained Charles Harvey Jr., director of theological education at the Florida Baptist Convention and a NOBTS assistant professor of Christian education who teaches collegiate ministry.
“After two years of classroom education, the student will have the opportunity to complete the degree while working under the direct supervision of an experienced collegiate minister,” Harvey said.
“The new collegiate ministry track is an exciting venture into cutting-edge education,” he continued. “It is a great addition to an important ministry in Baptist life and represents the commitment of NOBTS to collegiate ministry.”
The program is similar to the master of divinity church ministry track, said Perry Hancock, associate dean of the graduate faculty, who oversees the program.
The church ministry track, introduced last spring, allows students to participate in a local church internship for a year after studying in a classroom for the first two years. In addition to opportunities to be mentored in worship leadership, sermon design and delivery, and ministry skills, students may choose to focus their study on a variety of other ministries, including pastoral care, teaching, evangelism and administration/leadership, among others, he said.
“Around 40 church ministers have expressed interest in becoming mentors for the students who will begin this track in the fall,” Hancock said. These mentors will provide a minimum of 16 hours per semester in supervision and will evaluate the student’s progress in the learning/serving covenant, which is an agreement between the student, the mentor and NOBTS.
“‘Learning by doing’ was one of the early mottos of our institution,” said Steve Lemke, seminary provost. “Our new master of divinity tracks, the church ministry track and the collegiate ministry track, enable our students to do just that — blending hands-on experience with classroom instruction. We already have a number of opportunities through state conventions, associations and local churches to provide mentorships for the students in these innovative academic tracks. It’s one thing to talk about ministry. It’s another thing to learn how to do it.”
Students interested in applying for the collegiate ministry track must complete an application for admission to the ministry praxis component of the degree, complete an interview with the program director, secure a cooperating college or approved internship, identify and enlist a qualified/approved mentor and develop initial learning/serving covenants. Qualifying colleges must agree to permit the student to be involved in a variety of ministries throughout the year, viewing the internship as an educational experience with ministry benefits.
Qualifying mentors must have earned a master of divinity (or equivalent) degree from an accredited institution and have sufficient experience in the ministry area pursued by the student. In addition to being committed to personal growth and continuing education, the mentor must view himself or herself as an equipper, facilitator and support and secure in his or her own identity and ministry. As an effective and mature Christian leader, the mentor must serve in the student’s current denomination and be willing to meet with the student weekly via e-mail and phone, and monthly face to face, as well as willing to tailor ministry activities to achieve the covenant goals.
Students, college BSU directors or those interested in serving as mentors who desire more information may contact Perry Hancock at 1-800-662-8701, ext. 3327, via e-mail at [email protected] or by visiting the Internet site at www.nobts.edu/churchmin.