I first learned about New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1995 when I was seeking ministry training. I enrolled in the NOBTS Atlanta Extension Center. One of my first memories was New Orleans To-Go. Dr. Chuck Kelley had just become the new Seminary President. New Orleans To-Go classes were taught by professors who traveled from the main campus to the Extension Center. One of my favorite experiences was Red Beans and Rice Night when students tasted a flavor of New Orleans served by the faculty. I remember seeing Dr. Chuck and Dr. Rhonda Kelley dressed in their aprons serving students. I was amazed by their humility and at how personable they were with students. Little did I know that time would be the beginning of a long relationship with NOBTS.
As I began to serve in Women’s Ministry, I learned about a program offered by NOBTS that started 20 years ago. At the National Women’s Ministry Forum, I heard Dr. Rhonda Kelley talk about a seminary program for women. Shortly afterward, I enrolled in NOBTS’ Women’s Ministry Certificate Program where I completed Basic and Advanced certificates. Studies at NOBTS changed my life and ministry. I had the opportunity to meet fellow Women’s Ministry leaders that I love and still see today. I learned from leaders and pioneers in the field including Dr. Rhonda Kelley, Chris Adams, Christi Gibson, and Dr. Judi Jackson.
I returned to NOBTS to complete my Ph.D. in Christian Education and wrote my dissertation with an emphasis on Women’s Ministry. I would not have enrolled in the doctorate program without the encouragement of Dr. Rhonda Kelley. I learned from Dr. Loretta Rivers, Dr. Jeannine Bozeman, Dr. Donna Peavey, and Dr. Paula Stringer in addition to other wonderful professors. I am grateful to NOBTS for providing a doctorate program in which someone could focus on Women’s Ministry. I am also thankful to Dr. Loretta Rivers and Dr. Rhonda Kelley for serving on my dissertation committee.
When I reflect on my experiences at NOBTS, I recognize that I have had the privilege to study with fellow students who are committed to serving others and to learn from faculty that have been faithful in ministry. These women have shaped who I am as a person and as a Women’s Ministry leader. Therefore, I believe NOBTS is a Titus 2 Seminary where women have been uniquely placed and commissioned to teach the next generation of women about life and ministry. It is with great humility and gratitude that I congratulate Dr. Rhonda Kelley for 20 years of Women’s Ministry classes and NOBTS for 100 years of training ministry leaders to carry out the Great Commission. I pray these years are only the beginning of teaching future women’s leaders who will study to be equipped, form meaningful relationships, and greatly impact the kingdom for God’s glory! I am eternally grateful for the seminary’s investment in my life.
Dr. Stephanie Edge teaches at Union University. She received her Women’s Ministry Certificate as well as Ph.D. from NOBTS.