By Gary D. Myers
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees executive committee approved a new master of arts degree in church and community ministries and elected three faculty members during their June 9 meeting.
The new 47-hour master of arts in church and community ministries is designed prepare students for community ministry through a local church or a social service agency. The degree combines foundational Christian ministry studies (biblical exposition, theology and evangelism) with specialized social work and community ministry courses.
“The professors in the social work department are excited about the expanding training opportunities available for social work students at NOBTS,” said Loretta Rivers, professor of social work at NOBTS. “This new degree will equip students to assess community needs and develop ministries with vulnerable populations, such as children, juvenile delinquents, and aging persons.”
The new MA prepares students for local church ministry and can serve as a complement to additional master of social work (MSW) study at another university for those seeking social work licensure. The seminary established an articulation agreement with the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) with the later approach in mind. The agreement allows current qualified seminary social work students to study concurrently in the USM’s master of social work program. NOBTS will begin offering the degree as soon as the school receives approval from its accrediting agencies.
The board also elected Rick Yount as a visiting professor, Jonathan Key was elected to the Leavell College faculty and Courtney Veasey was elected as a ministry-based faculty member.
Rick Yount was elected to serve as visiting professor in foundations for Christian education. A long-time professor and Christian education practitioner, Yount holds education-related doctor of philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. He served as a professor at Southwestern from 1984 through 2012 and as an adjunct professor at NOBTS since 2012. Yount teaching specialties include educational psychology, quantitative research design, statistical analysis and philosophy of education.
The trustees elected Jonathan Key as assistant professor of Christian ministry in Leavell College. Key serves at the seminary as assistant to the president and director of student enlistment. A bivocational minister, Key also serves as associate pastor at Williams Boulevard Baptist Church. Key earned the master of divinity degree and the doctor of ministry degree from NOBTS. In 2012, the year Key graduated with the M.Div, he received the Broadman and Holman Seminarian Award.
Courtney Veasey was elected as instructor of biblical womanhood in Leavell College (ministry-based faculty). Veasey earned the master of divinity degree from NOBTS and the master of theology degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a current student in New Orleans Seminary’s doctor of philosophy program in biblical interpretation. Veasey also serves as director of women’s academic studies at NOBTS.
The ministry-based faculty category is a trustee-elected, non-tenure track category for instructors who serve in other ministries. The seminary developed the model to bring practical, real-world ministry experience to the classroom. These instructors supplement the work of the full-time faculty by providing specialized, focused instruction in key disciplines.
In other action, the trustees promoted Kristyn Carver from associate professor to professor of psychology and counseling. Carver, a trustee-elected faculty member since 2005, occupies the James B. and Rose Ramsey Chair of Psychology and Counseling. Before her election to the faculty, Carver served as a full-time adjunct instructor in the seminary’s Leavell College from 2000 to 2005.
During the meeting NOBTS President Chuck Kelley announced that James “Jamie” Killion will serve as associate professor of voice and conducting as a presidential appointment during the 2015-2016 academic year. Killion is currently completing his dissertation in the doctor of musical arts program at the University of Oklahoma. He holds the master of church music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and spent nearly 20 years in music ministry at churches in California, Oklahoma and Texas. Killion comes to NOBTS after serving as assistant voice professor at California Baptist University since 2011.