The Work of Pasco Baptist Association has four primary purposes; one of those purposes is Leadership Development. The priority of the Leadership ministry is helping churches develop a Biblical leader. One method to accomplish this is the Leavell College of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) Extension Program. The program provides 24 hours of classroom time, six (6) two-hour classes, offering eight (8) different courses. Upon completing the eight courses, the student receives a certificate of completion from Leavell College of NOBTS and participates in NOBTS' graduation. To date, the program has seen seven (7) graduates. During the early days of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Center did have to shut down for two terms and could not hold our Evangelism Course over the Summer. Leavell College has since directed us to hold classes using CDC social distancing guidelines and mask.
During our recent registration period in September, Dr. DelRio (North Regional Coordinator of Florida for NOBTS & Leavell College) informed us that recent increases to the cost of accreditation at Leavell College would require 8 to 10 students enrolled to have a sustainable cohort. A cohort is the sequence of eight courses needed to reach graduation. Since the Florida Baptist Convention changed their relationship with the NOBTS extension centers, many have closed. According to Dr. DelRio, in 2020, only three certificate centers remain in the North region, with Pasco being one.
Associational Certificate Centers are crucial to the Leadership Development of small to mid-size churches. Not just in the academic experience, but doctrinal comradery and dynamic reflection. The Certificate courses have a Baptist doctrine at their core, giving the student our Baptist heritage to pass on in the communities they serve. These centers, unlike independent online studies, provide local outlets for discussion and reflection.
Offering the Certificate in Biblical Ministry at the local level provides our local church leaders an opportunity for a biblical basis for ministry and tools for adequately interpreting Scripture as the basis for that ministry. The PBA's overall mission is to equip leaders to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments through the local church and its ministries. However, if we do not have local church participation, the Certificate Program will go away.
An additional benefit of the program is that each year the Seminary sets Core Leadership Goals, the Seminary's Core Leadership Values this term:
1. Doctrinal Integrity: Knowing that the Bible is the Word of God, we believe it, teach it, proclaim it, and submit to it. This course addresses Doctrinal Integrity specifically by preparing students to grow in understanding and interpreting of the Bible.
2. Spiritual Vitality: We are a worshiping community emphasizing both personal spirituality and gathering together as a Seminary family for the praise and adoration of God and instruction in His Word. Spiritual Vitality is addressed by reminding students that a dynamic relationship with God is vital for effective ministry.
3. Mission Focus: We are not here merely to get an education or to give one. We are here to change the world by fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandments through the local church and its ministries. This course addresses Mission Focus by helping students understand the biblical foundations for fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandments.
4. Characteristic Excellence: What we do, we do to the utmost of our abilities and resources as a testimony to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Characteristic Excellence is addressed by preparing students to excel in their ability to interpret Scripture, which is foundational to effective ministry.
The Course list for the Biblical Ministry Certificate:
•Apologetics - THUS1154
•Baptist Doctrine /Theology - THUS1110
•Church History - THUS1153
•Evangelism - PMUS1110
•Hermeneutics - BIUS1160
•Introduction to New Testament Study - BIUS1150
•Introduction to Old Testament Study - BIUS1110
•Missions - PMUS1117
Class offerings are listed on the Pasco Baptist Association's website under the Leadership Development button. All Classes Meet Mondays 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
The library is open at 6:00 PM and closes at 9:30 PM on Mondays.
Dr. Allen Pelham
Pasco Baptist Association