Center for bivocational ministry to be established at Campbellsville

by Marc C. Whitt, posted Friday, April 30, 1999 (20 years ago)

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Campbellsville (Ky.) University trustees unanimously approved April 27 an institute dedicated to bivocational ministry.

The Center for Bivocational Christian Ministry center will be sponsored by Campbellsville’s president’s office of church relations and the university’s recently established school of theology, university President Kenneth W. Winters said.

The purpose of the center, said John Chowning, assistant to the president for church relations, will be to study, facilitate and enhance the concept of bivocational ministers as an increasingly viable and much-needed means of “serving the church and kingdom work of God.”

“There is a growing trend of the employment of bivocational ministers in the local church,” said Chowning, who himself is a bivocational minister. “This is particularly true among Southern Baptist congregations where a substantial majority of the churches are small.

“The Kentucky Baptist Convention is made up of numerous smaller congregations which function only because God is calling ministers to a bivocational field rather than a ‘fully funded’ location,” Chowning said.

“In view of the stated intention of Campbellsville University to expand student recruitment, enhance church relations and provide theological education in the context of the ‘local church,’ a center which is dedicated to the premise of recognizing and affirming the bivocational minister may be a model for the SBC and other denominations,” Chowning said.

Walter Jackson, dean of Campbellsville’s school of theology, said the school’s faculty have given unanimous support to the initiative. “This is a long overdue emphasis within the academic institutions of our denomination and we are pleased to serve as co-sponsors with the university’s office of church relations.”

The center will have an advisory council of leaders from Kentucky and around the country in the field of bivocational ministry to work with Campbellsville University, along with a representative of the North American Mission Board. Various state Baptist conventions also will be invited to serve on the advisory council, along with key leadership within African American Baptist churches.

Winters noted the bivocational center “is poised to provide on-line courses of study for ministry students who may not be able to become full-time students. The university will be able to bring the students to the campus periodically for weekend and short-term coursework as needed.”

Campbellsville, founded in 1906, is a 1,600-student university affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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