NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell Chapel was empty and the graduation stage dark May 15 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the celebration instead went virtual with a “graduation” video and an online, interactive graduation reception.
Names of students, along with the degree earned, scrolled by in a social media graduation video as Jamie Dew, president of NOBTS and Leavell College, gave a charge to graduates leaving to serve on the “frontlines” of ministry.
“You are going to face things that you can’t fix, that you yourself cannot overcome,” Dew cautioned graduates. “But it is not your job to fix them necessarily. It is your job, as you go now, to be faithful to Jesus Christ and what He’s calling you to do.”
Drawing from 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Dew reminded graduates that believers are called to be servants. He urged them to “take up the towel and the basin” and serve others in Jesus’ name, adding that while many ministry and service opportunities will bring great joy, others will be difficult and will leave no alternative but “to walk by faith.”
“In those moments, I charge you to be faithful to Him, to pursue Him and to remember who you are in Christ, who He’s called you to be, what He’s called you to do and how He’s called you to do it,” Dew said.
Dew reminded graduates that the NOBTS mission statement is to prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth and fulfill His mission and urged graduates to model their ministries after that statement.
“You’re there to tell people about the saving grace of Jesus, to deliver to them the same message of hope that radically transformed you and your life,” Dew said. “As long as God gives us breath in this life, that we are on mission for Him to fulfill His mission.”
Dew invited the spring graduates to be a part of the December graduation and festivities.
Graduation reception, a longtime tradition hosted by the president and his wife in the president’s home, was held virtually through BlueJeans, an online interactive video program. Dew, and his wife Tara, spoke to students individually and offered their congratulations.
Other graduation week festivities included special giveaways from the NOBTS Alumni Association and downloadable signs reading “Congratulations Class of 2020” available for students to use on social media and in photos.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary conferred 110 masters degrees and 23 doctoral degrees including 6 Ph.Ds., one D.M.A., 13 D.Min. and three D.Ed.Min. Thirty-six M.Div. degrees were conferred.
Leavell College conferred 31 bachelor of arts in Christian Ministry degrees, one bachelor of arts in Biblical studies and six associate of arts in Christian Ministry degrees.