It is with great joy and love for NOBTS that I write this post today. Not only has NOLA become a home away from home in the many trips I’ve made to the city since 1997, but I’ve grown to love the faculty, staff, and especially the Drs. Kelley!
When the Lord began calling me to serve women 30+ years ago, I was desperate for training. There were also almost no books to help leaders like me serving women in my church.
In 1994 God opened up a full-time position at LifeWay Christian Resource as women’s ministry specialist and it has been my joy to serve in that capacity until I retired after 22+ years in March of this year.
Dr. Rhonda Kelley and I had been colleagues for a number of years and she attended our first LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum in 1996. At that meeting were a number of SBC seminary president’s wives and the question was asked by an attendee, “"Why is there no seminary training for women’s ministry leaders?”
Dr. Rhonda returned home only to ask her husband Dr. Chuck that same question. His response was, “We can!” Before a year ended the first women’s ministry certificate program was up and running. Other seminaries have followed suit as well to offer specialized training for women as a response to the question asked at our first Forum.
I am indebted to NOBTS for giving me the opportunity to learn to teach in a seminary class room setting. As I’ve taught classes, I’ve met so many leaders who have a heart for ministry to and with women. A number of these students subsequently became trainers for LifeWay to help meet the many requests across the country for training.
Not only have I had the joy of teaching along side Dr. Rhonda since that first year, but I also began working on an undergrad degree at NOBTS as well. I am so very thankful for the encouragement and assistance I was given by NOBTS and both Dr. Kelley’s to accomplish this degree while working and traveling full time for LifeWay.
My appreciation extends beyond my own personal benefit to the benefit of hundreds of women who have completed various degrees over these 20 years.
Now, this year not only do we celebrate 100 years of history for the seminary, but also 20 years of women’s ministry training as well. What a joy to know how many men and women have been empowered and equipped to serve Christ throughout these 100 years.
Thank you New Orleans Seminary for pouring into so many lives, including mine. Thank you Dr. Chuck for encouraging the vision birthed at that first Women’s Leadership Forum to have seminary level training for women’s ministers. Thank you, Dr. Rhonda for entrusting those classes to me and more than that for your precious friendship and the example you have been to me personally since before I began my career at LifeWay. You are a leader with integrity and strength who has followed faithfully God’s call to serve women.