While I had just come back to faith and was starting to grow in my home church, First Baptist Church Murfreesboro, I had never envisioned going to seminary. In need of spiritual growth and understanding, everything pointed me in that direction; however, our family is a single income family with four children. My job was crucial and I could not see how I could possibly attend seminary.
Just when I thought that there was no hope, I was surprised by a flyer about a seminary that would be housed in my church. I found out that classes would be done in intensives on Friday night and Saturday and that the tuition was subsidized through the generosity of grants. I finally got it all together and started my seminary journey at Central Baptist Theological Seminary - Tennessee.
This format allowed me to complete my degree without missing any work or taking too much time away from my family. At the same time, I was able to develop an understanding of how to apply the skills from seminary to my sense of calling as a marketplace minister and allowed me to find ways to execute this ministry. After completion of seminary, my home church ordained me and blessed me in this calling.
I am extremely grateful for Central for the work it has done in my life by providing a thought provoking broad theological education.
First Korean DMin Cohort Meets in Shawnee Campus
Sixteen Korean speaking students have gathered on the Shawnee campus of Central Baptist Theological Seminary for the last week and a half for the first doctor of ministry seminar of the Korean Contextualized Theological Studies program. The program, begun last fall with master of divinity classes, is directed by Dr. Samuel Park. There are over 50 students in the program, and the newest of these are the students on campus this week.
This cohort is the third for Central’s new Doctor of Ministry in Congregational Health, which includes a Shawnee cohort and cohort from the Myanmar Institute of Theology, and now a Korean speaking cohort. These newest students have come from South Korea, Venezuela, Canada, and six states within the US. They include senior and associate church pastors, missionaries, and church planters.
Courses are being taught by Dr. Park and Dr. Ron Carlson, and have covered systems theory and the study of missional-minded congregations. Rev. Pyoung Ohk Lee, a PhD student from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, has provided help with translation and is a scholar in missional church studies, which has been a bonus for contextualizing these newly introduced concepts for the Korean students.
Although the coursework has been heavy – meeting from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. every day except Sunday, the students did find time to play a game of Joku, a sort of foot volleyball, on the seminary parking lot. They have also enjoyed time at the local hotel gathering to talk about the challenges and joys of ministry and to pray together.
This cohort will likely meet in the fall for the next set of seminars and may be joined by a second cohort. Dr. Park dreams of beginning a Central cohort in Seoul, South Korea, in the future.