Course Descriptions

I. MINISTRY

Pastoral Leadership
This is a course covering the basics of being a leader in a Baptist church.  It will include: the pastor as a person; an introduction to different personal styles of leadership and their effects; an introduction to the organization of a Baptist church; and ways a leader works with and can direct the various boards and committees.  It will also present methods to be used in organizing worship, officiating at child dedications, performing baptisms, and serving the Lord’s Supper.

Christian Education
An introduction to the leading of a complete Christian Education program, i.e., Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, youth work, and nursery programs.  The needs of various age groups will be presented.  Skills will be built for working with church leadership, for looking at and selecting materials, and for providing guidance to the teachers involved.  Basic teacher skills will also be discussed.

Missions and Evangelism
Methods for evangelization and growth in the local church will be introduced.  An overview of international missions support will be presented.  Different ways of reaching non-believers, church members who have become inactive, and borderline attendees will be discussed.  Plans for organizing growth and a broad vision will be encouraged.  Ways of establishing missions support and encouraging missionary interest in the local church will also be covered.

Pastoral Care
An introduction to the role of the pastor in caring and counseling covering:  The effect of the role of pastor on the person under care; the influence of the personality of the pastor in care and counseling; the need to refer to others; introductions to listening skills, home visiting, hospital visitation, and visiting in special settings; helping parishioners deal with marriage, death and other major events in life.  Resources, services, and problems in conducting marriages and funerals will be presented.  Counseling techniques and resources will be discussed.

Preaching
Communicating God’s Word effectively will be stressed.  The personality of the preacher, styles of preaching, ways of organizing the sermon, creativity, illustrations, and delivery of the sermon will be covered.  Each student will present at least one sermon for the class.

II. BIBLICAL STUDIES

Old Testament
The early parts of Genesis will be examined, followed by a history of the nation of Israel.  The poetic, wisdom, and prophetic books will be discussed.  Authorship, dating, type of literature, and theology will be discussed.  The geography of Palestine and the surrounding region will be covered.  How the modern Old Testament text came to be will be explained.

New Testament
Covers the entire New Testament including the history and writing which make up its background.  Each book will be analyzed as to the setting in which it was written, the author, the group of people to whom it was written, the content, the type(s) of literature contained, and its theology.  The Gospel accounts will be examined to see how they relate to each other.  The modern text of the New Testament and how it is put together by scholars will also be discussed.

Biblical Interpretation
This course will cover the principles of understanding the Bible.  It will examine how Scripture uses Scripture, how the Jews of Jesus’ time used Scripture, and how Scripture uses changed from Roman Catholicism to the Reformation to today.  It will examine our assumptions about the Bible and the resulting principles we use in understanding the Scripture.  A carefully though out process for examining passages will be presented.  It will include examining the assumptions, background, text, different versions (or the original language), grammar, literature, people, places, concepts and context of a passage.  All of these will be used in helping the student arrive at an appropriate meaning of the text.  Principles for applying this meaning of the text to our lives will be discussed.

III. CHRISTIAN THOUGHT

Baptist History and Polity
This course is an introduction to the origin of the Baptists and the resulting church organization.  After a brief introduction to early church history and the Reformation, this course will focus on the history of Baptists, both in England and America.  The course will discuss the organization of a Baptist church with an emphasis on pastoral leadership.

Theology
This course is an introduction to organized thought about God.  This course will briefly examine the early church and how it developed doctrines.  The course will present different ways to organize systems of thinking about God.  A number of different approaches will be discussed, including early church fathers, Reformation leaders, and contemporary theologians.  Issues covered will include revelation, God, creation, humanity, sin, salvation, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, and eschatology.  Students will be encouraged to examine how they organize their thought about God, that is, their own system of theology.  Each student will write a paper stating his/her personal theology in a clear and consistent way.

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