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Southeastern adds youth, college M.Divs.

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees approved two new degree tracks -– in student ministry and collegiate ministry — during their April 16-17 meeting in Wake Forest, N.C.

The new tracks are the master of divinity with student ministry and the M.Div. with collegiate ministry “provide specific training for two vital arenas of ministry,” said David Nelson, senior vice president of academic administration and dean of faculty at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

“Never before has there been a greater need for pastoral ministry to students and families, and the university campuses of our country have become mission fields as the peoples of the earth have literally come to the United States for higher education,” Nelson said. “By training Southeastern students in these programs we can help churches reach a generation and see that generation carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

In keeping with the seminary’s new mission statement and a strong curriculum across various disciplines, Southeastern is approaching these two tracks differently from many other degrees. The new mission statement, approved by the board last year, reads: “Southeastern seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).”

In addition to the M.Div. core requirements which include intensive training in biblical languages, exegesis and theology, each track requires students to complete a one-year internship.

With a student ministry concentration, the student must work with a youth ministry in a church for the year of his internship. To obtain the collegiate ministry concentration, a student will work for a semester in a church collegiate ministry and a semester at a college or university.

Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism at Southeastern who works with and speaks to high school and college students on a regular basis, said, “Currently in the United States there are more youth than at any time in our nation’s history. This degree will equip ministers to youth and to their families to provide effective biblical training as well as practical application through internships. We believe youth should be challenged to change the world, not simply entertained.

“The college campus,” Reid continued, “represents one of the most vital mission fields in America today. The collegiate ministry track, which features thorough theological training as well as an internship with a vibrant campus ministry, aims to prepare ministers who will take campuses for Christ.”

Classes for these tracks will begin in the fall.

SEBTS President Daniel Akin reported to trustees the encouragement and opportunities he received during his trips in the past three months to nine countries where Southeastern students serve as missionaries.

Akin said he has heard from student missionaries as well as field supervisors that Southeastern students are well-prepared for the difficulty of overseas missions by the school’s M.Div. with international church planting degree program.

“These are wonderful, godly men and women who are in very difficult places,” Akin said. “We said last year in our trustee meeting that we were going to be a Great Commission school; well, I saw it fleshed out.”

Trustees approved several new professors and job changes during their sessions.

Gary Bredfeldt will join the faculty in the fall as professor of Christian leadership and discipleship. He comes from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he serves as associate dean for doctoral studies and professor of leadership and church ministry.

“Dr. Bredfeldt brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to Southeastern,” Nelson said. “In particular, his passion to wed leadership and discipleship to the task of the Great Commission is a perfect fit for our mission. I am grateful that God has sent him to us.”

Bredfeldt, author of “Great Leader, Great Teacher,” has more than 20 years experience in Christian higher education from Southern, Moody Bible Institute and the Ontario Bible College and Seminary. Also, he has 31 years of church ministry experience.

In other faculty and staff changes and additions, Dennis Darville was announced as the new vice president of institutional advancement. Darville was described by Ryan Hutchinson, senior vice president of business administration, as uniquely suited for the post.

“Dennis brings to us creative leadership that will energize our institutional advancement efforts and a godly character that will keep these same efforts firmly grounded in a desire to honor God,” Hutchinson said.

Darville brings to the post several years of experience in ministry and the business world. He has served for the past year as vice president for communications and student development.

Also included in this move is a reorganization which brings the departments of financial development, communications and student development into a new institutional advancement division under Darville.

Nathan Finn and Hayden Lindsey have been appointed to fulltime teaching positions in the college. Finn will teach church history and Lindsey will teach English. Finn, whose specialty is Baptist history, is a Ph.D. student in church history at Southeastern. Lindsey holds an M.A. in linguistics from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and most recently taught English at Valdosta State University in Georgia.

David Jones received a promotion from assistant to associate professor of Christian ethics, while Bruce Ashford was promoted from assistant to associate professor of philosophy and intercultural studies.

The 2007-08 proposed budget for Southeastern is more than $21.2 million, a 5.68 percent increase from the previous year. Cooperative Program receipts are projected at $8.22 million, a $215,000 increase from 2006-07.

“Without the Cooperative Program, Southeastern could not provide a quality education at a cost affordable to the vast majority of our students,” Hutchinson said. “We cannot give enough thanks to the members of the churches that comprise the Southern Baptist Convention and contribute to the Cooperative Program each year. Their giving enables us to accomplish our mission of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to service the church and fulfill the Great Commission.”

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