When New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary opened its doors more than a century ago, leaders knew the challenge was great. Southern Baptist presence in the area was minimal, and the new school lacked a regional support system. Honestly, we were vastly outnumbered on this new frontier.
While Southern Baptists are not as rare as they were 100 years ago, we still face an uphill battle in our backyard. And we are grateful for the generous support we receive from partners like you. But we have also seen how big challenges also produce bigger opportunities. And those opportunities have altered the spiritual landscape of both our city and our world.
For example, George Ross arrived in New Orleans to serve as a church planter with the North American Mission Board in 2013. He also came with a plan to earn his doctorate from NOBTS. Six years of combined ministry and education have convinced him that challenges and opportunities really do go hand-in-hand. And New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary continues to stand on the front lines of God’s work in the city.
Here is how he shared it recently:
Locals often refer to New Orleans as “the city that care forgot." Although the city’s population is less than 400,000, it boasts of one of the most diverse and eclectic cultures in North America. In fact, New Orleans contains three primary worldviews: secular humanism, generational Catholicism, and New Age spirituality. These philosophical worldviews crisscross cultural, age, and economic boundaries.
Yet, of the approximately one million people in the area’s six parishes, there is only one Southern Baptist church for every 8,011 metro New Orleans residents. Only 11 percent of the population even identify themselves as evangelicals. My training at NOBTS was crucial for understanding the context and history of the city, and it served as a catalyst for implementing a strategy to plant churches to reach the lost in New Orleans.
In this cultural context, believers need doctrinal integrity. They need a standard of beliefs that align with a biblical worldview. They need a strong commitment to Scripture in order to maintain proper orthodoxy (right beliefs) and orthopraxy (right practices). And NOBTS is ground zero for training future pastors and planters for ministry in such a post-Christian context.
The education and experience students receive at NOBTS not only gives them a solid foundation in theology and doctrine, but they also gain experience in the greatest city on the planet for learning and doing ministry. No other seminary in the United States offers educational and on-the-ground experiences like NOBTS. And giving to the Providence fund is a tangible way to equip the next generation of leaders who will carry the gospel across the street and around the world.
—Dr. George Ross , NAMB church planter
and co-pastor of Lakeshore Church
Dr. Ross’ words underscore how New Orleans provides the perfect learning lab for ministry. A dedicated faculty makes sure NOBTS students learn the importance of doctrinal integrity in the classroom, but those students also get the chance to live out their faith each day across this city. They discover in practical terms what it means to be in the world, but not of the world in real time.
That’s what makes your generous support of NOBTS so vital. Your gifts to the Providence Fund are so much more than tax-deductible donations. They are investments in the lives of ministers called by God to fulfill the Great Commission. Our students’ training begins in the melting pot of New Orleans, but it leads them to every corner and culture of the world.
And your giving allows you to be a part of this ongoing global mission effort. Through the Providence Fund, you make a difference in New Orleans today. But you also help transform the lives of individuals you’ll probably never get to meet in places you may never get to visit. That’s huge! But we really need your help to make it happen.
Please know that we are grateful for your partnership in our mission. Thank you in advance for your generous support of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We appreciate it more than we can express. And we know that God will multiply your gift in ways only He can orchestrate.
Yours & His,