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Foundation funds NOBTS for professorship, dorm

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–A local foundation in New Orleans has given more than $2 million to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to fund a faculty chair and to build a new housing facility on campus for its short-term learners, reported Jerry Pounds, vice president for development for the seminary. This generous gift increased the seminary’s capital campaign pledges and actual giving to more than $6 million since its launch in March, he said.

The newly endowed faculty chair, the Nelson L. Price Chair of Leadership, which honors Price, a NOBTS alumnus and pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., will be paid in $50,000 annual increments over the next five years by the foundation, which asked to remain anonymous. The funds generated from the endowed chair, the first one for the seminary’s North Georgia Campus, will pay the salary and other expenses for the director of the seminary’s largest extension center.

Price, whose leadership and commitment to the Lord have led the way for the tremendous growth at Roswell Street Baptist Church during the past 35 years, was instrumental in bringing NOBTS’ first off-campus center to the Atlanta area in 1982, when he invited the seminary to hold classes in the church. The extension center, which now has more than 300, has since moved to Decatur after members of Columbia Drive Baptist Church voted to give their property to the seminary.

“We are very grateful how Dr. Price has touched the lives of so many of our students, faculty and staff over the years,” Pounds said. “He has continued to be a solid, supportive voice for the mission of NOBTS.”

In response to a growing continuing education program at NOBTS, the local foundation also committed to building a new 32-room dormitory on the seminary’s 84-acre campus in New Orleans to house short-term missionaries, certificate-level students and other participants of events sponsored by the seminary’s Providence Learning Center (PLC).

The PLC, formerly called the continuing education department at NOBTS, exists as a ministry partner to help church and ministry leaders face the realities of ministry today, keeping them on the leading edge of their learning continuum, said Marc Eichelberger, PLC director. Offering opportunities for church and ministry leaders to interact with new ideas and approaches, refine proven principles and think through the tough realities of ministry in a changing world, PLC provides access to practical certificate programs, hands-on mission experiences, staff retreats, conferences and other lifelong learning opportunities, he said.

The past two years, the PLC has sponsored MissionLab, a custom-tailored program matching the needs and abilities of senior adult and youth ministry groups with appropriate mission opportunities in the New Orleans area.

To date, the program has organized mission experiences for more than 85 youth groups and 100 senior adults, culminating into 313 salvation experiences, 66 rededications, 32 young people being called into missions and more than $5,200 given to local mission sites in New Orleans, Eichelberger reported.

“We desire to join God in his work of changing lives in our own community — the city of New Orleans — and we desire to be a catalyst for life change for the local churches from all over the country that participate in the MissionLab ministries,” he said. The growth of the program precipitated the need for more housing, said Darrell Lindsey, MissionLab director, explaining that the housing to be built by May 2002 will be located on a vacant lot on the west side of campus near the seminary’s other dormitories.

“With more housing available we are grateful for the opportunity to offer many more people the experience of doing hands-on missions in New Orleans,” Lindsey said.

Jerry Pounds agreed. “This generous gift from a local New Orleans foundation will allow us to clearly communicate our commitment to the community,” he said. “It will help us to continue saying, ‘We are here to stay, and with God’s help, we are here to make a difference.'”

Moreover, the gift increased the total of the New Horizons: Equipping Leaders to Change the World campaign, the seminary’s 20-year fundraising effort to revitalize its campus and provide for a multitude of student needs, to more than $6.1 million in pledges and actual giving, Pounds said. “We are very grateful for local foundations partnering with us to fulfill such a commitment. We continue praying for other local foundations and individuals to join our efforts to not just rebuild our campus but to change our world in New Orleans and beyond,” he said.

For more information about PLC, contact Marc Eichelberger at 1-800-NOBTS-01, extension 3260 or visit online at www.nobts.edu/continue. For information regarding opportunities to assist in funding seminary projects, contact Wanda Gregg, director of development at 1-800-NOBTS-01, ext. 8424.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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