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TRUSTEES: NOBTS adds collegiate ministry prof

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees elected a collegiate ministry professor and approved a new graduate certificate in counseling ministry during their spring meeting April 13.

The board also approved a $24.3 million budget, elected two faculty members to serve in Leavell College (the seminary’s undergraduate program), and approved minor curriculum revisions designed to streamline and update graduate degree and certificate programs.

Collegiate ministry

Beth Masters, former Baptist campus minister and director of Christian Life and Ministries at Mississippi College, was elected to serve in the seminary’s growing collegiate ministry program. She earned the master of divinity degree with a specialization in collegiate ministry, master of theology and doctor of philosophy at NOBTS. During Masters’ time in New Orleans, she served as associate metro director of Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) in New Orleans and directed BCM programs at the University of New Orleans and Leavell College. Masters currently serves as a leader in the college ministry program at her church, First Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss.

Her wide collegiate ministry experience earned Masters a role with the Baptist Collegiate Network’s leadership committee for the past six years. The network, based at LifeWay in Nashville, utilizes campus ministry practitioners like Masters to promote BCM and shape the direction of campus ministry groups throughout the United States and Canada.

Masters, elected as assistant professor of collegiate ministry (ministry-based faculty), will continue in her role at Mississippi College. The ministry-based faculty category is a trustee-elected, non-tenure track category for academically credentialed practitioners, like Masters, who serve in other ministries. The seminary developed the model to bring practical, real-world ministry experience to the classroom. These professors supplement the work of the full-time faculty by providing specialized, focused instruction in disciplines such as collegiate ministry.

“NOBTS, for many years, has had a deep commitment to collegiate ministry,” said Steve Lemke, NOBTS provost. “The addition of Dr. Masters gives us a faculty face to magnify that program and we hope to do even more to enhance the college ministry program in the future.”

Counseling ministry

The new graduate certificate in counseling ministry is a 17-hour certificate designed to provide ministers with additional training in the field of Christian counseling. Ian Jones, chair of the church and community ministries division at NOBTS, noted the certificate was developed, in part, as a response to requests from a number of military chaplains who recognize the need to develop increased counseling skills.

Students in the program will have the opportunity to study counseling in ministry and such topics as mental disorders, marriage and family counseling and assessment, chemical dependency, and trauma counseling from a biblically-based perspective.

The trustees elected Jeffrey Farmer to serve as associate professor of church ministry and evangelism and Brooke Osborn to serve as assistant professor of psychology and counseling. Farmer and Osborn will serve in the seminary’s Leavell College.

Joining the faculty through a one-year presidential appointment in January 2015, Farmer came to NOBTS to help provide leadership to the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at NOBTS, where he serves as associate director. A former church planter and pastor, Farmer earned two master’s degrees and the doctor of philosophy from NOBTS.

Osborn, who recently completed the doctor of philosophy program in psychology and counseling at NOBTS, serves as the associate director of clinical training at NOBTS — a position she has held since 2014. She has served as a licensed professional counselor in the New Orleans area since 2013. Osborn, who also earned the master of arts degree in marriage and family counseling and the master of theology degree at NOBTS, is an experienced instructor, teaching as an adjunct professor at NOBTS and Leavell College since 2012.

The seminary’s budget of $24.3 approved for the 2016-2017 academic year represents a 5 percent increase over the 2015-2016 budget. The new budget includes only slight increases in student fees and tuition rates.

The board elected Dan Wilson, professor at California Baptist University, to a second term as chairman; and Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., to a second term as vice chair. R. Bryant Barnes Jr., pastor of First Baptist Church in Columbia, Miss., was elected as secretary/treasurer.

In other action, the trustees approved the following items:

— Page Brooks received a faculty rank promotion from assistant professor to associate professor of theology (ministry-based faculty);

— Ian Jones, professor of psychology and counseling and chairman of the division of church and community ministries was granted tenure; and

— Randy Stone, associate professor of Christian education, chairman of the division of Christian education and director of the doctor of educational ministry program, was granted tenure.