Because I work in an office, I usually don’t have much trouble writing the correct date after New Year’s Day. Yesterday, January 6, marked the first time I wrote 2014 and then quickly changed the 4 into a 5. Even still, it’s strange to refer to December as “last year.”
But last year on December 19 I got an unexpected Christmas present from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where I am a part-time, distance student. Since this Christmas present isn’t for me only, but for all current and future SBTS students, I figured I should share it with the readership of SBC Voices.
The gift came in the form of an email that read:
Since 1859 Southern Seminary has been committed to providing accessible theological training. By God’s grace, our Master of Divinity program is continuing in the vision set forth by our Founder, James P. Boyce, to offer theological education to any gospel minister that God calls. For the first time in its history, Southern Seminary is pleased to announce that the Master of Divinity program is now available with no limits on how many of your credit hours can be taken online.
There are no longer barriers preventing you from receiving the best theological education by earning the Master of Divinity in whatever ministry context to which you have been called.
Privileged to partner with you for the truth, for the church, for the world,
Timothy Paul Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Online Learning and Extension Education
C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry
Up until now, the M.Div required a minimum 30 credit hours (10 full classes) on campus. That’s over 3 full semesters and represents a significant investment of both time and money for non-traditional students who either have to take time off work and make travel arrangements for “accelerated” on campus courses or suspend their normal way of life to live on campus for a year.
I’ve been taking one class per semester which enables me to continue working at my full time job, spend time with my wife and children, and serve as a volunteer (and now bi-vocational associate pastor) at my church, but that’s only because I could take a few accelerated courses and because Indianapolis to Louisville and back isn’t much of a haul. With the M.Div now fully online, anybody anywhere can go to Southern.
If you’ve ever considered going to seminary but felt you were unable to because of your responsibilities to your family, your job, or your church, there has never been a better time than now to start. From what I understand, all Southern Baptist seminaries now offer some fully online programs, and most have a fully online M.Div program. Contact Admissions for more information.