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Articles by Paul F. South

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New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
 

In the steamy heat of August and the chill of January they come to New Orleans — God-called men and women. Some are on their own, with only a few suitcases and a worn Bible. Others are families in minivans, filled with energetic children and hearts for ministry.

They may not know it, but they do not come to seminary alone. According to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley, their training involves all Southern Baptists working together.

"We feel like that in this process of theological education, it is a multi-party partnership. One part of the partnership is the seminary and its commitment to do theological education as efficiently as possible. That's our responsibility. We ask ourselves all the time, 'Is there a more efficient way of doing this?' We want to have a quality education...

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

What should a seminary be doing to prepare those called to minister in the twenty-first century? New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president Chuck Kelley has challenged the seminary's administration and faculty to "reinvent seminary for the twenty-first century."

"We believe that the seminary of the twenty-first century needs to pay closer attention to how church is done in today's world than how seminary was done in the past," said Kelley. For NOBTS, the seminary of the future will offer a cafeteria of options — traditional campus-based programs, extension center programs, online programs, and mentorship programs.

One aspect of reinventing seminary for the twenty-first century is to accelerate online course offerings and to offer new online certificates. The seminary currently offers six online undergraduate certificate programs and degree completion for undergraduate students in Christian ministry, as well as five graduate online ...

For New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Sunlight and shade along tree-lined Seminary Place, along with red brick and green grass, make it seem as if nothing was ever out of place on the main artery through New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Faculty members tend to their yards. Down the road, the children of students slide and swing on the playground.

Doctoral student Billy Puckett and other members of the seminary family know better. Puckett, 32, of Orange, Texas, returned to campus after Hurricane Katrina hit to find a lifeless campus of downed trees, mud, muck, and mold.

"It was as if you were in a black-and-white world," Puckett said. "It was colorless. There was gray mud and dirt all over campus. We didn't see life anywhere."

Now: "There's life. There's color. You hear children laughing on the playground. There's life here. I can walk out on my balcony and see it every day."

That long road to recovery, which seminary officials say was b...

With buildings battered and congregations scattered, pastors in post-Katrina New Orleans were worn out.

"There were pastors living in trailers, half their congregation gone, devastated, discouraged." said Bill Taylor, former director of Network Partnerships of LifeWay Church Resources who now serves as a consultant to the North American Mission Board. "They had problems with insurance. They couldn't handle it. They needed somebody to help all the time."

From the heartbreak of Katrina came the spark of an idea. Initially, the plan was to bring in Christian educators to help on a short-term basis, Taylor said. But the problems were just too large. And the beleaguered churches were in no position to pay staffers.

Then came a simple formula: Seminary students, plus sponsoring churches or associations, plus churches in need. The end result? Practical experience for students and bruised churches revitalized through an initiative now known as <...