NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have greater access to opportunities to reach the nations through the newly renovated Global Missions Center. The center is housed in the Fred Luter, Jr. Student Center at NOBTS and Leavell College, recently named in honor of the prominent pastor and first African American president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Greg Mathias, director of the Global Missions Center, described the GMC as a hub of missions equipping and sending for students, staff and faculty.
“Our desire is for our students, faculty and staff to take the Gospel from the parishes to all peoples,” Mathias said. “By visiting the GMC, students can discover opportunities to serve on mission, ask questions and receive advice on our different missions degrees, and meet with experienced missionaries.”
When considering how to renovate the GMC and offer more opportunities, Mathias invited the International Mission Board to be a part by speaking into the overall look and intentions of the space. Ed Herrelko, IMB’s vice president of marketing and communications, said the invitation to collaborate on the redesign of the center was a sign of true partnership. Members of IMB’s marketing and communications team visited the campus and stayed involved as the space was completed.
“The center fits seamlessly into the existing look of the seminary,” Herrelko said, “not just in terms of branding and design, but in terms of the identity of NOBTS.”
“It shows the deepest level of partnership between a seminary and the IMB.”
Herrelko emphasized NOBTS’s unique location to train students to reach the nations because the student body is multicultural and multiethnic.
“Through the Global Missions Center, all students will know the IMB is ready to provide areas of service overseas, ready to walk with them as they answer God’s call to take the Gospel to the lost,” Herrelko said.
Mathias also sees eternal value in the partnership with the IMB.
“NOBTS was established as a missionary training school and what better way to highlight that purpose than partnering with the IMB,” Mathias said. “Both NOBTS and the IMB are committed to fulfilling His mission by sending theologically trained, equipped missionaries to share the Good News of Jesus around the world. We are better together.”
In addition to information about short- and long-term mission opportunities and prayer resources, students can talk face to face with IMB campus missionaries, Austin and Megan Holcomb. The Holcombs served in Sub-Saharan Africa and will spend the next three years leading students to consider a call to missions and helping them to prepare. The IMB also has missionaries on the campuses of Southeastern Theological Seminary, Gateway Seminary and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Mathias sees the GMC as a place for people to find the “next steps” in their obedience to the Great Commission.
“As the director, I aim to create a normative culture of going and sending,” he said. “I want every student to answer the questions ‘Why not me?’ and ‘Why not there?’ when considering their role in sharing the Good News with others. This is a story that needs to be shared and lived out, not just here but all around the world.”
Herrelko said that IMB leadership affirms strengthening partnerships across the Southern Baptist Convention for the sake of reaching the nations with the Gospel. The partnership with NOBTS to renovate the GMC is one of those partnerships.