Additional Opportunities That Enhance Student Maturity, Character, and Learning
The student Ministerial Association is indirectly a function of the Biblical Studies department and is under its oversight. This “pre-ministerial program” provides the occasion to enhance ministry
training in ways not offered in classroom instruction. This organization provides peer support, peer accountability, and encouragement in ministry involvement. It helps the student, in the identity formation process of one who is called, to make substantial progress in responding to that calling. The typical membership roll includes some sixty men. The basis for membership is a calling into ministry, validated by evidence of a substantial response and by references. At the weekly luncheon meetings there is opportunity for prayer requests, worship, mention of ministry opportunities, fellowship, and a message from invited guest speakers.
Koinonia is the organization for women students who are interested in enhancing Christian service involvement and a Christian servant identity formation. The typical membership roll includes some thirty young women who meet once a week for lunch and for an inspirational and informative program. The purpose of Koinonia is much the same as the program for the men, both organizations encouraging involvement in community efforts in ministering.
Theta Alpha Kappa is the national honor society for students in religious studies. The BMC chapter, one of over 250 nationally, was the first in the state and has an average of some 6-10 members who meet the stringent induction requirements. This organization recognizes and encourages excellence in student academic efforts, and limits its activities to one fall and one spring program. These programs have sometimes included a member forum for discussing ideas and issues and sometimes have included distinguished guest speakers.
Vocational involvement. Formal internships are on the horizon for departmental majors. Departmental personnel acknowledge the vital significance of supervised field training. The ministerial training emphasis, provided through the MA as auxiliary to course offerings, has long emphasized and encouraged student members not only to engage in ministry opportunities but to accept church ministry positions as those become available. Each year numerous students have been involved in organized efforts in hospice care, local food distribution and resultant ministry, outreach to the homeless, and periodic long-distance mission trips and summer camp positions. These opportunities have functioned as invaluable training and growth experiences. There has also been for some time the academic provision of a Religious Education Practicum. A number of students do serve as pastors and others as youth ministers, while some serve in a church staff position under an experienced leader.
Seminary study. For students who graduate in Biblical Studies and desire to move on to graduate training but find it necessary to remain in the local area, the college has partnered with New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to provide a satellite center which offers a selection of graduate courses, all taught by qualified personnel, meeting each Monday on a fall and spring semester schedule.