In the book of Jeremiah the Children of Israel found themselves surrounded by an alien culture seemingly opposed to their deeply held values and convictions. Forced into exile in Babylon against their wills, they had two choices: withdraw and develop a defensive siege mentality or take action to improve the culture of the place where they had been placed by God. It was in this context that the Prophet Jeremiah, speaking the words of the Living God, called the Children of Israel to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).”
How bizarre these words must have sounded to the Israelites! Amidst what must have felt like debauchery, uprooted from all the touchpoints of their culture and longing for escape back to normality they were being called to anchor themselves and invest for the long term in a hostile place. Their values and folkways were being assaulted, yet they were being urged to bring peace and prosperity to the homeland of their foes. It is a lot like the modern dilemma that Christians face everyday.
Social Workers are Shalom seekers. Taking up the call of Jeremiah we seek the peace and well-being of the places where we have been planted, even when those places assault the values we hold dear. It is our job to bring the love of Christ to those on the margins of society. In a very real sense Social Work is ministry and NOBTS seeks to be at the forefront of training a new generation of those seeking the Shalom of damaged places and the hurting people who live there.
The Social Work Program at NOBTS has 3 areas of focus: children, older adults, and community-based ministry. Our professors bring extensive experience as practitioners to the classroom as they integrate scripture and a Christian worldview into a social work curriculum. We offer the MDiv with a Social Work focus, or the Master of Arts in Church and Community Ministry, and even provide an opportunity to complete the Master of Social Work through a unique dual degree program in conjunction with the University of Southern Mississippi.
We invite you to explore our programmatic offerings and then encourage you to contact our professors to discuss your future education at NOBTS.