SBC Life Articles

Preparing the Called

Since the Southern Baptist Convention's conservative resurgence began in 1979, many Baptist colleges and universities owned by state conventions have drifted from their conservative roots and looked to non-Baptist sources for their funding.

So where can students from those states, who have been called to ministry, go for undergraduate training under faculty committed to the Great Commission and the SBC?

To the five colleges housed on the campuses of SBC seminaries, according to James Scroggins, dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate college of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Southern Baptists have always believed that a call to preach is a call to prepare," Scroggins said. "So it's right for our Southern Baptist seminaries to respond to the liberalization of our Baptist colleges and universities in the states and provide an accredited undergraduate training option that focuses on biblical worldview and biblical exposition."

These five colleges, which receive a portion of their funding from Cooperative Program dollars allocated to the seminaries where they are located, applaud the efforts of liberal arts institutions that are committed to teaching a biblical worldview, Scroggins said. But the undergraduate colleges of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary meet the specific need for Bible colleges that will prepare young people for ministry.

"There is a great need for conservative Bible colleges with faculties that are committed to the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures," Scroggins said. "…There is a strong number of young people in Southern Baptist life. The Word of God burns in them like a fire in their bones. They are compelled to preach the Gospel, and they need to be trained."

Boyce College

Boyce College is committed to training students for ministry in the local church and on the mission field.

The college's one thousand students, six hundred and fifty of whom are fulltime, on-campus students, enjoy access to the faculty and facilities at Southern Seminary, including classes taught by seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. But Boyce students also have their own classrooms, chapel, and faculty.

Boyce offers a bachelor of arts in biblical and theological studies as well as a bachelor of science in biblical studies with the option of majors in several ministry-related fields.

"We want to teach our students at the highest academic level," Scroggins said. "We want them to learn theology. We want them to learn a Christian worldview. We want them to learn philosophy. But at the end of the day, we want every one of our students to love Jesus more than when they came."

The students best suited for Boyce are those who feel a strong call toward ministry in a local church or service on the foreign mission field.

"We're committed to the Great Commission," Scroggins said. "We want our students to have a heart for lost people just like Jesus does. We want our students to love Jesus. We want our students to love the church."

The College at Southwestern

Founded in the fall of 2005, The College at Southwestern is already fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and training more than eighty students to think as Christians in a variety of fields. Enrollment is expected to eclipse one hundred and fifty by fall 2006.

Located on the Fort Worth campus of Southwestern Seminary, The College at Southwestern offers a bachelor of arts in humanities that includes an eighty-hour core curriculum in the humanities, twenty hours of biblical and theological studies, and elective courses in a concentration area of the student's choosing.

"The uniqueness of The College at Southwestern is that it offers the student not just biblical and theological studies, but it offers the student the opportunity to study all the way from ancient civilization through the 20th century, to study the great authors and the great books of the west," said Emir Caner, dean of The College at Southwestern. "As they do so, they will read what influenced [civilization] even to this day, then compare and contrast that to biblical thought to ensure that when they think of issues of philosophy, theology, history, and literature, that they have a distinctly biblical thought."

The college's courses are taught by the nearly one hundred professors at Southwestern Seminary along with a smaller faculty devoted exclusively to the college. Seminary President Paige Patterson "has made it a point that each and every one of the seminary professors at some time will teach at the college," Caner said, noting that Patterson himself is scheduled to teach a fine arts course.

Leavell College

At Leavell College, the undergraduate program of New Orleans Seminary, students and faculty are focused on returning to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast causing severe damage in late August.

For the 2005 fall semester, Leavell offered online courses and held classes at its thirteen extension centers across the southeastern United States. The college, which had thirteen hundred total students and four hundred on-campus students prior to Katrina, started on-campus classes one day per week in January 2006 and will return to a normal schedule in the 2006 fall semester.

"We're very committed to getting back into New Orleans and to keeping the ministry of Leavell College alive and to making certain that we take advantage of those opportunities to participate in the ministry in New Orleans, because we just believe that God is not finished with the city," said Thomas Strong, dean of Leavell College.

Leavell makes it a priority to reach non-traditional students, who have been out of high school for several years and have already begun careers, but welcomes all students who feel a call to Christian ministry. The college offers a bachelor of arts in Christian ministry and a bachelor of arts in music in addition to various associate degrees centered on ministry. All degrees focus on practical ministry, teaching students how to put their classroom learning into practice in a local congregation.

Midwestern Baptist College, SBC

Midwestern Baptist College, SBC, the undergraduate school of Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, offers a unique degree in missionary aviation and presents non-traditional students with an opportunity to earn a degree while remaining in their current ministry positions.

With an enrollment of more than one hundred, Midwestern Baptist College, trains students to do ministry in the north central region of the United States where there is a great need for missions and church planting.

"We're unique in that we're close to some that are in pioneer areas like Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas," said Jim Anderson, dean of Midwestern Baptist College.

While Midwestern Baptist College has some students that came to the school directly from high school, a large number of its students are ministers and bivocational pastors who began a bachelor's degree at another school but need a non-traditional course schedule in order to complete the degree. The Midwestern Accelerated Degree Completion program allows non-traditional students to take classes that meet once per week for several hours over a five-week period.

To be eligible for the accelerated degree completion program, a student must have earned at least sixty-four hours of college credit previously or be twenty-seven years old.

Midwestern's missionary aviation program combines flight instruction with traditional course work to train students to fly airplanes to remote areas where supplies and Christian work are needed.

Southeastern College at Wake Forest

Producing lifelong learners with well-trained minds and well-trained hearts is the goal at Southeastern College at Wake Forest, the undergraduate school of Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

With nearly six hundred students, Southeastern College takes a unique approach to undergraduate education that integrates faith and learning, training students to serve as teachers, pastors, fulltime mothers, and ministers of many other varieties.

"We really want to be unique in the degree to which we integrate faith and learning, the degree to which we pursue this biblical worldview so that students will learn to live it out," said Pete Schemm, dean of Southeastern College. "And having faculty members that can pull this off makes all the difference."

Southeastern College offers a bachelor of arts in biblical studies and gives students the opportunity to earn a double major in either the history of ideas or secondary education. The college's bachelor of arts in biblical studies and secondary education prepares students to teach either English or social studies and is the only such program among undergraduate institutions on SBC seminary campuses. In addition to its current offerings, the college plans to pursue offering a bachelor of arts in biblical studies with a concentration in church music.

The college shares faculty with Southeastern Seminary in addition to having several faculty members that serve exclusively with undergraduates. Seminary President Daniel Akin teaches regularly at Southeastern College, most recently, a hermeneutics course he taught during the 2005 fall semester.

For more information, visit the respective seminary Web sites under "Directory of SBC Services" at www.sbc.net.