Are You Called to Pastoral Ministry? Are You Ready to Be Equipped?

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hunt scholars logoStudents preparing for the pastorate at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) now have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity in five years through the Hunt Scholars Program.*

The Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Family Foundation, Inc. has awarded a grant of $500,000 to Southeastern to support the implementation of the new pastoral degree program.

The Kern Family Foundation is committed to “educating future and existing pastors about the importance of work in developing people’s character, affirming their dignity, sustaining them and helping them flourish.”

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern, said, “For more than sixty years now, SEBTS has been preparing men for pastoral ministry. As we continually seek to expand and improve our offerings, we became aware of the need to offer a degree track that allows a young man to receive both his B.A. and his M.Div. over the course of only five years.”

Hunt scholars will receive direct leadership, encouragement, mentoring and oversight throughout their undergraduate and graduate studies.

The program will include a speaking series focused on pastoral leadership to provide students focused opportunities to interact with proven and experienced pastors, denominational leaders and business leaders.

Eighteen hours dedicated to the graduate level will be earned in the local church ministry context under the supervision of the Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching at Southeastern.

Steven Wade, the Hunt Scholars Program coordinator, said, “The Hunt Scholars program will prepare students called to pastoral ministry to go fulfill their calling in the most effective and efficient way possible.”

“I count it a great honor to be given the responsibility and privilege of directing the Hunt Scholars Program and walking students through this formative part of their ministry preparation,” Wade said.

In addition to the classroom curriculum, students will be encouraged to pursue ministry experiences during the program, resulting in 33 credits of field ministry.

Keith Whitfield, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness and faculty communications, said, “This is a laser-focused program for the student called to pastoral ministry. Through directed mentoring, students will develop the pastoral character and the teaching and leadership skills needed to lead their church to be a Great Commission church.” 

Participants will be expected to articulate God’s call into the field of pastoral ministry, demonstrate character traits essential for ministry and leadership in the church, and show the ability to think critically, argue persuasively and communicate clearly.

Chuck Lawless, vice president for graduate studies and ministry centers, said, “If I were an undergraduate student studying theology, this possibility would certainly grab my attention. Earning a focused degree with a solid theological base, significant practical training and a pastoral advisor to shepherd me through the process would be exactly what I would want.”  

The tuition savings for Southern Baptist students would be $10,000 not including living expenses saved due to the abbreviated time frame.

“This program costs the student less money, gets him into full-time ministry two or three years earlier than otherwise, and doesn’t lower the bar in any way academically,” Akin said. “This is a welcome opportunity for students to receive the best training and ministry preparation while minimizing some of the obstacles they face in preparing for God’s calling.”

The Kern Family believes that healthy local churches led by capable, committed pastors can transform the moral fabric of society. For this reason, the Foundation has implemented programs that increase the number of talented young people pursuing a high-quality theological and pastoral education.

Grant funds for this initiative will be used to support a program coordinator, program assistant, the marketing of the program, student scholarships and student developmental activities.

Students will be eligible for dual enrollment with a minimum 3.25 GPA and 60 baccalaureate credit hours. The purpose of this cohort model and curriculum is to enhance and accelerate the ministry preparation for students.

While concurrently enrolled in both degrees, students may receive 30 hours of undergraduate credit by competency exams and students will receive a total of 207 credit hours.

In order to remain enrolled in the concurrent program, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and meet all non-credit character and program activity requirements for the program.

To learn more about the Hunt Scholars Program, please contact the program coordinator, Steven Wade ([email protected]).

*Pending SACSCOC approval.

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