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.
FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities
A new branch of the FOUNDATIONS program is aimed at pastors and leaders of churches serving recently resettled communities of people in the US coming from Burma. Karen, Chin, Kachin, Karenni and other ethnic groups can all trace their Christian legacy back to Adoniram Judson and other pioneer Baptist missionaries. Judson’s legacy lives on and this certificate level program aims to help the pastors and church leaders better serve their newly established communities as they live and worship in the USA.
Pastors and church leaders among the resettled refugees have particular challenges. The people they minister to have experienced traumas that forced them to leave their original homes, have lived in refugee situations in Thailand or Malaysia, and are undergoing adjustment, language and generational difficulties. The pastors have been trained to serve churches in a southeast Asian village setting but now find themselves leading a congregation in the heart of an American city and working in factories all while learning an unfamiliar language, culture and legal environment.
The goal of FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities is to help pastors and church leaders bridge the cultural gap, offering classes in the language they understand the best. A total of 11 classes are offered monthly over the course of a year at a cost of one class for $50 or $500 for the entire program. A Certificate of Ministry will be awarded at completion of the full course schedule.
The latest FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities course will be in Utica, NY starting on March 23 and ending in November 2013. Look for the course overview, application, and schedule in the links below.