NEW ORLEANS (BP)–“The miracle on the Mississippi continues,” noted NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “Although the U.S. economy has been struggling, God’s people have been remarkably faithful in helping us with New Horizons.” In just over a year, the base goal of the first phase of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s fundraising effort to revitalize its campus and provide for a range of student needs has been reached, reported Jerry Pounds, vice president for development.
To date, total for pledges and gifts received in Phase I of the “New Horizons: Equipping Leaders to Change the World” campaign is $8,018,135, Pounds said. The base goal of $8 million was reached despite the fact that the alumni campaign and the New Orleans, Atlanta and other metropolitan campaigns have not officially begun.
“The reaching of this $8 million base goal is a tangible reminder of God’s sovereignty,” said Pounds, who began leading the development efforts at the same time the campaign was launched. “God is in control of our campaign. He directs the hearts of our donors.”
Another $3,981,865 is needed to reach the challenge goal of $12 million.
Phil Walton is the overall campaign chair. An obstetrician/gynecologist from Birmingham, Ala., who was once voted “Favorite Doctor,” and an active layman in The Church at Brook Hills, Walton has served on NOBTS’ Foundation Board for a number of years.
“To reach the base goal of $8 million in 15 months, I believe is an affirmation from God concerning the great work being done to prepare our students for ministry,” said Walton. “I truly believe and am praying that God will provide a way for the challenge goal of $12 million to be reached and even exceeded by the end of the campaign. My sincere appreciation to all the leaders who have worked with such faithfulness to make today’s announcement possible.”
A four-phase project that will span over two decades, the New Horizons campaign was approved by NOBTS’ board of trustees in March 1999, by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee in the spring of 2000 and by convention messengers during the annual meeting in Orlando in June 2000. The public phase began with Phase I of the campaign, which has a goal of $8 million to $12 million over the first three years to fund the following priorities: Bunyan Classroom Building ($2 million to $2.5 million); Student Family Village ($4 million to $6 million); and endowment ($2 million to $3.5 million).
The public launch of the three-year Phase I of the New Horizons campaign was held in March 2001. By that point, 100 percent of the faculty, administration and trustee board were participating, giving the campaign a solid foundation on which to build.
In 1996, under the leadership of NOBTS President Chuck Kelley, the seminary launched a three-year long-range planning process evaluating its physical, educational and financial resources and responding to growing and changing ministry opportunities. This led to the development of a new campus master plan to be funded by New Horizons.
The resultant New Horizons campaign was organized with specific financial goals by divisions, including trustees/former trustees, Foundation Board members, faculty/staff, alumni and prospects in the following areas: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Shreveport and other friends and foundations.
The alumni portion of the campaign, to be kicked off at the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, is led by Don Wilton, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C. He is assisted by seven regional chairs who will oversee 35 co-chairs and more than 100 vice-chairs who are serving in each of the regions and states.
Contributions in the alumni division will be used for student housing, by a vote of the division’s executive committee, Wilton reported. “Having lived there, and judging by the response so far, nothing could give us greater joy!” he said.