by Gary D. Myers

NEW ORLEANS—The New Orleans Seminary (NOBTS) faculty has approved a plan to bring doctor of ministry (D.Min.) and doctor of educational ministry (D.Ed.Min) training to the state of Oklahoma. The proposal will be presented to the seminary’s trustees and the school’s accrediting agencies this month for final approval.

The doctor of ministry is a 30-hour professional degree designed to help pastors and ministry leaders improve existing ministry skills and develop new ones. The 48-hour doctor of educational ministry is a similar degree designed for those with a background in Christian education. The degrees are built on prerequisites including the appropriate master’s degree or equivalent theological preparation, high intellectual and professional capability and substantial experience in ministry.

Under the proposal, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) will host the Oklahoma D.Min./D.Ed.Min. site at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City beginning in the spring of 2012. The first workshop will be taught onsite in Oklahoma City. Subsequent classes will be delivered from the seminary’s main campus via compressed interact video (CIV). With CIV technology, a professor in New Orleans can teach and interact with students simultaneously in multiple locations allowing students to reap many of the benefits of traditional classroom training while minimizing travel costs.

Students attending NOBTS professional doctorate sites, like the one proposed in Oklahoma, are only required to attend one two-day class and one four-day class on the main campus. The rest of the degree can be completed by attending classes in Oklahoma City, other NOBTS CIV sites or special events classes held in conjunction with several major pastors’ conferences and the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.

Officials from NOBTS met with BGCO leaders including Anthony L. Jordan, BGCO executive director-treasurer, in February to explore the possibly to launching a D.Min./D.Ed.Min. site in Oklahoma. At the time BGCO officials said the training site would help with one of the BGCO’s priority initiatives— pastoral leadership development. The officials were optimistic about the ability of the proposed site to draw students from all parts of the state.

“We feel like this is going to be a really good partnership,” said Mark Tolbert, director of the Doctor of Ministry program at NOBTS. “Oklahoma Baptists are going to allow us to expand our program, and we are going to be bringing the type of valuable training which they decided was a priority.” Tolbert believes the site also has the potential to meet the needs of students in adjacent states such as Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.

Jordan will host an information meeting about the Oklahoma D.Min/D.Ed.Min. site during the SBC Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., June 14-15. Other informational meetings will be held in Oklahoma during the fall, including one gathering during the BGCO’s Annual Convention in November at Moore, First.

Gary D. Myers is public relations director at New Orleans Seminary.