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His studies spanned 19 years for master of divinity degree


NEW ORLEANS (BP)–When Michael Glenn puts his mind to it, his strong determination helps him accomplish his goals — even if it takes him 19 years.
On May 15 Glenn received a master of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a goal he set for himself in 1979 when he began his theological education.
Glenn’s story is not one of a slow student who had trouble keeping up with course requirements, but one of a man who persevered until he finished what he had started many years before.
In 1967 Glenn was running a printing press for Avondale Mills, a large textile company in Sylacauga, Ala. One afternoon in the company’s break room, Glenn was reading Decision Magazine and saw an article about Al Worthington, a professional baseball player. Upon reading the article, Glenn recalls a voice saying, “I want you to preach.”
From what he remembers as an audible message, a convicted Glenn knew God had a plan for his life.
That same year he was licensed to preach and in 1968 was ordained to the ministry. Eleven years later he enrolled at New Orleans Seminary to begin formal theological training.
Along the way during the past 19 years, Glenn has pastored churches in Mississippi and Alabama and attended classes at three of New Orleans Seminary’s 14 extension center campuses.
“I’m not a quitter and once I start something, I am going to finish it,” Glenn said.
Typically a master of divinity degree can be completed in three years. Several factors played into the length of Glenn’s seminary training, but mainly, he has always been a part-time student opting to concentrate on his duties as a pastor where he has served.
Money, or the lack of, as Glenn said, also has been a factor at times. Add building programs, his roles as a father and husband, the distance between some of his churches and the extension centers, and it slowly adds up to 19 years of patience and perseverance.
In addition, “During the time I attended (the NOBTS extension center in Clinton, Miss.), my mother became very ill and eventually died of cancer. I had to repeat a class due to the trauma and time of her death,” he said.
Throughout the experience, his wife and daughter have been very supportive, typing papers and helping him study for exams.
Currently, New Orleans Seminary has 14 extension centers across the Southeast in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. The seminary provides several certificate, diploma and degree programs through its extension centers.
“We recognize the fact that one of the greatest needs in the Southern Baptist Convention is to make theological training possible to students at their speed and at their convenience and to make it affordable as well,” said Jimmy Dukes, dean of New Orleans Seminary’s extension center system.
“My dad, a retired minister, is very proud of my accomplishment,” Glenn said. At 88 years of age, his father attended the graduation ceremonies, as well as his brother and his sister-in-law.
“Several years before my mother died, I told her if I started the program, then I would finish it. I refused to quit or give up,” Glenn said.
Currently, Glenn is the pastor of Pelahatchie Baptist Church in Pelahatchie, Miss., where he and his wife, Jan, are raising their daughter, Michelle.

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  • Steve Achord