Robert Haskins School of Leadership class of 2013 was recognized at a commencement ceremony at the Baptist Building.

Marta Caceres, director of the Robert Haskins School of Leadership (RHSL) is proud of her hard-working students. The fourth formal commencement ceremony at the Baptist Building graduated 22 students, with 16 receiving a diploma in Christian ministry and six in Theology. RHSL also offers a degree in Church Planting.

RHSL’s goal is stated in their mission statement: “Training leaders of the present and future today.” Robert Haskins had a dream to “develop Ethnic leaders for each ethnic group.” Caceres said.

Through his dream came the Contextual Leadership Development (CDL) program, which is dedicated to training and developing effective leaders and workers of multicultural churches in the state of Oklahoma through the partnership of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS).

The school works to provide a variety of experiences. RHSL sees the importance in reminding the students that mission work is not limited to their home country. Dr. Robert Haskins, whom the school is named after, gave the commencement address on June 1.

“Nothing you will ever do will take the place of sharing God’s Word,” Haskins said. “There is simply no substitute for the Word of God. It is to be preached and shared at every opportunity.”

With their degrees “they can become ethnic pastors, ethnic church planters or go back to their own countries to start churches where they came from and work as laymen,” Caceres said. The graduating students represented five countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States. They come from around the world to grow and serve the Lord in the best way possible.

Oklahoma is a leader in the area of CDL. Unable to attend the ceremony, Jeff Iorg, president of GGBTS, shared his congratulations through a video message. “Our Contextualized Leadership Development Program and partnership with Oklahoma Baptists is making a significant difference all across your state, shaping leaders who can expand God’s kingdom by being pastors, church planters and other kinds of church servants,” Iorg said.

GGBTS has recognized RHSL for its distinguished leadership through its monetary contribution to the CDL program. RHSL received this recognition in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The BGCO has centers in Clinton, Ardmore, Lawton, Duncan, Enid, Guymon, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as one currently overseas in Armenia. Armenia should also graduate 22 students this semester.

RHSL seeks to grow and develop a new center for Native Americans in the Fall 2013 semester. The school is also working with GGBTS to offer another diploma in Christian Education in the near future.

The RHSL is funded through the Cooperative Program as well as through the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering.