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Floyd, Blackaby visit Northeastern Baptist College

BENNINGTON, Vt. (BP) — Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and author Richard Blackaby visited Northeastern Baptist College during the mid-September meeting of the college’s trustees.

Trustees approved a double major option for NEBC students during their Sept. 14-15 sessions at the campus in Bennington, Vt., and they heard reports of enrollment gains and of the college’s student housing being at capacity.

“Our meeting was filled with multiple positive reports of spiritual, financial and numerical growth,” trustee chairman Timothy Christian said.

“Those of us who invested in this school from the beginning are humbled to see God doing amazing things in and through Northeastern, things that many thought were impossible,” said Christian, professor of evangelism and theology at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tenn.

Floyd exhorted a Tuesday chapel audience that now is the time to make a difference in reaching the world for Christ. On Thursday, Richard Blackaby addressed the difference between empty words and the words of God.

Both men took note of the key role NEBC is playing in the Northeast.

“If we are going to reach America for Christ, at least 20 percent of the American population lives within a six-hour reach of Northeastern Baptist College,” said Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

“Emerging in one of America’s most liberal states, a new college is rising that wants to do all they can do to help prepare God-called leaders and laypeople to reach the Northeast for Christ,” Floyd said.

For Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International, the visit to NEBC was reminiscent of the past. “Seeing Northeastern Baptist College reminded me so much of what my father Henry experienced in Canada,” he said. “It is a desperate mission field in great need of pastors and Christian leaders.”

Two new trustees were present: Stephen Rummage, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., and Doug Echols, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Yorktown, Va.

Rummage and Echols are “extremely busy pastors,” Christian said, “but they saw the value of investing their time, prayers, money and mission teams into multiplying the impact of Northeastern Baptist College.”

This summer, a team from the Virginia church that Echols leads renovated parts of NEBC’s Jehovah Jireh residence hall, with plans to finish renovations next summer. The residence hall, just blocks from the college’s Hogue Library in downtown Bennington, is currently at full capacity.

Full housing is a reflection of the growth reported during the trustee meeting. Enrollment now stands at 59 students, with a 44 percent increase in full-time students since the 2014 fall semester.

As more students enroll, the college is widening its geographical reach. NEBC students now represent 14 states: New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, New Hampshire, Connecticut, South Carolina, Alabama, Illinois and Michigan.

Accordingly, academic options at NEBC continue to increase. Following the trustee vote, students now have the option to earn a double major.

Northeastern offers four undergraduate degrees: biblical studies, music ministry, Christian counseling and business administration. Within the bachelor of arts in biblical studies are four concentrations: church planting/entrepreneurial leadership, pastoral ministries, Christian education and interdisciplinary studies. The bachelor of arts in music ministry has three concentrations: voice, keyboarding and guitar; the bachelor of science in business administration also has three concentrations: entrepreneurial leadership, nonprofit business management and project management.

Enrollment gains also were reported in NEBC’s Early Scholars Program, a dual enrollment option for local high school students to earn college credit while working toward their high school diploma.

Oct. 28 will mark the two-year anniversary of President Mark Ballard’s inauguration and the six-year anniversary of his decision to follow God’s prompting to found a college in New England.

NEBC students, faculty, staff, trustees and visitors alike can see God at work. “The sense of excitement and mission is palpable,” Blackaby said. “I have no doubt that God will use the school mightily in the days to come.”

NEBC is online at www.nebcvt.org.