Recognizing seminary students’ need for hands-on ministry prior to graduation, Greg Love believes churches have the responsibility to aid students during their theological training by providing ministry opportunities and practical experience in a local church context.
That is why Love, a Southwestern Seminary graduate and seminary and ministry initiatives pastor at First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, has partnered with Southwestern to come alongside seminary students and prepare them for life and church ministry. First Euless has established a Leadership Development Center, which launches this fall, to provide mentoring, financial education, marriage and family skills, and leadership training throughout the academic school year. In the summers, the LDC will offer an optional applied theology track on biblical philosophies of ministry in areas such as discipleship, church governance, church discipline, counseling, women in ministry, worship, missions and evangelism.
“The aim of this exclusive endeavor is to accentuate the seminary experience by equipping students for effectiveness in life and ministry and make an impact on the next generation of leadership in Southern Baptist churches,” Love says.
Southwestern’s academic deans and administration are excited about the partnership and the impact it will make on students. Thomas White, Southwestern’s vice president of student services and communications, tells students that the LDC “supplements seminary training in a way that will enrich your life and keep you from making mistakes that may ruin your ministry.”
Upon completion, students are eligible to receive a letter of recommendation, licensure and ordination, as well as seminary elective course credit. Love says the LDC will also “connect students to state conventions and other entities for networking and future employment.”
“Additionally,” Love says, “First Euless hopes to encourage and equip other local churches to replicate its endeavors in partnership with Southwestern. In the future, this model could be a benefit to other SBC seminaries.”
For more information about First Euless’ Leadership Development Center, visit www.firsteuless.com/ldc.