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TRUSTEES: NOBTS elects new faculty, approves center location

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustee executive board elected two new faculty members and approved a new undergraduate certificate center location during their Dec. 2 meeting.

Trustees elected Arthur “Bo” Rice to the NOBTS faculty as assistant professor of evangelism and preaching. Rice will also serve as associate dean of supervised ministry and mentoring programs. NOBTS will task Rice with updating and enhancing the school’s supervised ministry efforts to better reflect the needs of today’s ministers, and launch its new mentoring program.

NOBTS Trustee D.J. Horton, pastor of Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Anderson, S.C., noted Rice “makes NOBTS stronger for three reasons. He brings youthful energy and enthusiasm, a proven pastoral track record, and a heart to grow new leaders ready to be more effective in their own ministries.”

Rice completed his bachelor’s degree at Auburn University and earned master of divinity, master of theology and doctor of philosophy degrees from NOBTS. During his studies in the NOBTS graduate program, Rice received the LifeWay Pastoral Leadership Award and preached the senior week chapel service in Leavell Chapel. These are two of the highest honors given to graduating preaching students at NOBTS.

While still working on his master of divinity degree, Rice was called to serve as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Greensburg, La. He served the church for three years. For the past seven years, Rice has been pastor of First Baptist Church in Loxley, Ala.

The trustees also elected Ken Ellis as associate professor of Christian ministry and moral rehabilitation (ministry-based) in Leavell College, the seminary’s undergraduate program.

Ellis’ primary task at Leavell College will be providing leadership and direction for the school’s prison training program at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Ga. His wealth of experience in ministering to prisoners includes a 7-year term as senior chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the United States Department of Justice during the 1990s. Ellis received a chaplaincy endorsement from the Southern Baptist Chaplaincy Commission in 1991.

Peter Kendrick, regional association dean for the seminary’s Alabama and Georgia extension work, said, “I have known Dr. Ellis for many years. His passion and equipping by God is to serve the least, the last and the lost. As the director of Phillips Prison Program, he has garnered the respect and support of the prison personnel as well the prisoners who attend Leavell College.”

Ellis, past president of the Black Denominational Servants Network (2007-2009), served as a team leader in the personal evangelism department at the North American Mission Board. He is pastor of Northeast Community Church in Norcross, Ga.

Ellis earned an undergraduate degree in religion from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. He earned the master of divinity degree and doctor of ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The ministry-based faculty category in which Ellis will serve is a trustee-elected non-tenure track category for instructors who serve in other ministries. The seminary developed the model to bring practical, real-world ministry experience to the classroom.

The trustees voted to establish a church leadership certificate center in Cumming, Ga. The center, set to offer the biblical teaching certificate, will meet at Friendship Baptist Church. The new center will adopt the name of the existing F. M. Hawkins Center for Christian Studies that Friendship Baptist Church launched in 1998. The center was established to provide biblical training for local ministers and laypersons. NOBTS officials hope to launch classes at the Hawkins Center by fall 2015.