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FROM THE COLLEGES: Call to Ministry Network launched by Anderson, CBU, OBU & Union; Mobile begins global leadership institute

In today’s From the Colleges:
— Anderson University, California Baptist University, Oklahoma Baptist University & Union University
— University of Mobile

4 colleges to partner in Call to Ministry Network

ANDERSON, S.C. (BP) — A partnership of four Southern Baptist schools — Anderson University, California Baptist University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Union University — has launched the Call to Ministry Network in an initiative to identify and encourage Baptist young people who have sensed a divine call to ministry service.

In addition to the four educational institutions, LifeWay Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board have agreed to partner with the Call to Ministry Network. A major resource provided by the network is the website www.calltoministry.com, which will feature articles, books, testimonies and other tools to help young people better understand and grow in their own sense of calling. The network also will livestream conference events on the call to ministry.

The Call to Ministry Network was formally launched in a presentation during the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Dallas. Heath Thomas, dean of OBU’s College of Theology and Ministry, recalled his own call to ministry along with that of his father and two brothers. Explaining the purpose of the Call to Ministry Network, Thomas said, “We believe it is imperative to elevate the call to ministry among our churches. Together, we will seek to increase the visibility of that sacred call to ministry within Southern Baptist life and to provide resources to help and to encourage those who have sensed such a call or are exploring a call.”

Michael Duduit, dean of Anderson University’s Clamp Divinity School, observed that, “Ministry is not an option or a personal choice. It is a divine calling. We are in vocational ministry because God has called us out and set us aside for His service. In recent years, however, the call to ministry is no longer so prominently promoted in our convention and in many of our churches. Yet for the health of our churches and our faith family as Southern Baptists, it is urgent that we again emphasize the importance of a call to ministry and to help the next generation as God calls them out to serve.”

The first two events planned for the network include The Call conferences at OBU on Aug. 25 (https://skopos.org/thecall/) and at Anderson on Sept. 8 (http://callconference.org/). Additional information on network activities and resources is available at www.calltoministry.com.


Univ. of Mobile begins Institute for Global Leadership

MOBILE, Ala. (BP) — The University of Mobile has created an Institute for Global Leadership to equip Christians throughout the nation and internationally with theological education, leadership skills and disciple-making training for reaching the world with the message of Jesus Christ.

The institute, one of several new initiatives expanding the university’s international outreach, will be led by Rob Jackson, a leader in Alabama Baptist life and most recently pastor of Central Baptist Church in Decatur.

Jackson’s arrival at UM July 1 also created opportunities for partnerships with several international missions organizations he already works closely with, including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the International Evangelism Association and the Evangelical Alliance.

In addition, the university will serve as headquarters for RAM, an international faith-based mission organization that has planted more than 400 churches, opened orphanages, organized medical missions and reached thousands of people throughout Eastern Europe. Most recently, RAM is expanding church planting efforts and theological education into Western Europe.

University of Mobile President Timothy L. Smith said, “The opportunity to welcome Dr. Rob Jackson to University of Mobile in continuing his family legacy that began two generations ago will allow the university to extend its partnership with Baptist churches throughout Alabama while providing ministry opportunities to the ends of the earth in reaching people for Christ.”

Smith added that the partnership between the new Institute for Global Leadership and RAM “adds a distinctive to University of Mobile that we have been seeking to elevate the ministry opportunities for our students, service to our church community and international outreach in fulfilling the university’s Great Commission calling.”

While serving as executive director of the Institute for Global Leadership, Jackson also will be assistant to the president for church and denominational relations and will serve as a resource for Alabama Baptist churches and associations in the Southern Baptist Convention. He will teach as an associate professor in the School of Christian Studies while building a campus-wide program emphasizing life-to-life disciple-making.

In conjunction with UM’s Office for Global Engagement, he will focus on expanding opportunities for students to gain practical experience in a variety of international ministry settings.

Jackson has family ties to UM that go back two generations. His grandfather, Ernest Jackson, served on the board of trustees of then-Mobile College, while the Pearl Jackson Endowed Scholarship honors his grandmother.

“I’ve always had an affection for University of Mobile because my grandfather loved it so much,” Jackson said.

RAM was started 22 years ago by Jackson’s late father, Bob Jackson, also a well-known Alabama Baptist pastor. Christian Chivu, who holds a Ph.D. in missiology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will serve as international coordinator for RAM, which is an acronym for Reaching Europe, Advancing the Kingdom, Making disciples. More information about RAM is online at ram-christian.org.

Jackson is vice chairman of the board of The Alabama Baptist and begins serving as chair in January. He was 2017 president of the Alabama Baptist Pastors’ Conference and has served as evangelism associate with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and as an adjunct professor for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Jackson holds master of divinity and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an undergraduate pharmacy degree from Samford University in Birmingham.

The University of Mobile is online at www.umobile.edu.