FROM THE SEMINARIES: Gateway Seminary expands D.Min. program; SWBTS professor connects with children's ministers online
By Tyler Sanders
ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) -- Gateway Seminary is rapidly expanding the offering of its distance learning Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree through a dedicated scholarship fund and flexible technology.
Jim Wilson, director of Gateway's D.Min. program, said the expansion reflects the seminary's global perspective.
"We are not asking the world to come to us -- we are going to them." he said.
"We anticipate this program will make advanced theological education available to both our missionaries and also to local, indigenous leaders."
First Baptist Church of Barstow, Calif., donated the founding gift for the Global D.Min. Fund. Scholarships from this fund will support D.Min. candidates, who are members of a distance learning cohort that meets on international soil.
"We want to train leaders who will train leaders," Wilson said. "The Global D.Min. Fund will make that possible."
The program employs various delivery systems to support international cohorts including video conference technology, online coursework, and traditional classes offered in international locations.
The seminary has launched two cohorts in East Asia and one in Southeast Asia. July will see the start of a third cohort in East Asia and one for candidates from around the world. Wilson said cohorts are in development for 2021 and 2022 that will meet in strategic locations in Asia and Europe.
In addition to the distance learning D.Min. degree, Gateway continues to offer D.Min. cohorts on its five campuses, which are all located near North American Mission Board Send Cities. Gateway campuses are located in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas as well as near Denver, Portland and Phoenix.
SWBTS professor connects with children's ministers nationwide through regular Zoom calls
By Alex Sibley
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- During the coronavirus pandemic, Karen Kennemur, associate professor of children's ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), has connected digitally with preschool and children's ministers across the nation in order to discuss ministry amid COVID-19.
Kennemur hosted meetings for preschool and children's ministers as well as meetings with special-needs ministers.
Topics for the Zoom meetings included how to do Vacation Bible School during COVID, best practices for preschool/children's ministry during the pandemic, and more recently, how to discuss diversity, inclusion and racism with children. Kennemur invites guest speakers to discuss the various topics, then facilitates a time of questions and answers with meeting participants.
The most interesting thing about these Zoom calls, Kennemur said, is that they have comprised small, medium, large and megachurch leaders.
"We all are learning from each other," she said. "It's like we're standing in a room with the light switch turned off, and we need each other to help us find the light switch."
Kennemur's role a professor has aided the outreach, because her former students -- now deployed across the country -- have tuned in. The preschool/children's ministry Zoom calls average 100 participants, while the special-needs calls average 10.
"I get this new way of reaching churches and being with ministry leaders," she said. "Then that makes me better, when I'm talking about theory in the classroom and theology."
Kennemur's Zoom meetings will continue even after COVID restrictions have loosened in order to encourage ongoing networking among church and state Baptist leaders.
"I knew once it started and it was so successful, and I got such good feedback that it wasn't going to stop after COVID," she said.