Dr. Tara Dew doesn’t play the piano. And she isn’t qualified to lead a choir.
And those two facts led one church search committee interviewing her husband, Dr. Jamie Dew, for a senior pastor position to ask one more question: What do you do?
I answered that I loved my husband and that I loved women and children and that I’d be happy to rock a baby in the nursery or lead a women’s Bible study. And that’s exactly what I ended up doing as a pastor’s wife for almost 10 years. But it gave me such a heart for other pastors’ wives who maybe were like me. Their husbands had the opportunity to be trained in a seminary context, but they never were.
Her answer and her passion for ministers’ wives resonated with that search committee. It also resonated in her doctoral research, where she studied the roles of ministry wives in Southern Baptist churches. And, now, it resonates through Prepare Her, the all-encompassing ministry to women offered at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College.
Prepare Her—a play on the school’s “Prepare Here, Serve Anywhere” motto— includes three programs that focus on particular audiences. First, Women’s Academics, led by Dr. Emily Dean, encourages women studying in one of the many degree programs offered at NOBTS and Leavell College, including the women’s ministry major. Second, Thrive, led by Dr. Dew, supports the wives of seminary students, training them to effectively serve as ministry spouses in a local church context. And Together, led by Stephanie Lyon, provides a connecting point for every woman on campus, whether seminary student, seminary wife, faculty/staff member, or faculty/staff spouse.
But this holistic approach to training and equipping women doesn’t just build on Dr. Dew’s doctoral research. It also plays a vital role in helping NOBTS and Leavell College fulfill its Mission Focus core value.
The seminary and college developed a brand new mission statement last year. With that, we really do want to prepare servants who will walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission. Everything that we do for women comes back to that.
For example, each of the eight classes in the Thrive curriculum supports the mission statement’s cores principles. Two classes teach women about walking with God, three classes focus on proclaiming His truth, and three classes emphasize fulfilling His mission in their lives. And the Together program provides fellowship and ministry opportunities, as well sponsoring date nights to strengthen marriages as couples prepare for ministry.
Dr. Tara Dew is excited about the future of the women’s programs at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College—as well as God’s larger work at the school. She believes that pursuing newer initiatives—like Thrive and the other programs of Prepare Her—builds on the historical foundations of NOBTS and will equip students for even greater ministry impact in the days to come.
She is also quick to recognize the important role generous donors play in Prepare Her and the other programs that support students and make NOBTS and Leavell College such an incredible place to learn and serve.
I say this to donors all the time: We would not be able to do what we do without you. They make it possible for us to train the women that God brings to us. These financial gifts have a multiplying factor. When donors give, we are able to pour into and train leaders who will train leaders who will then train leaders. God can take what little bit we have and multiply it for His kingdom.
Like Dr. Tara Dew, every member of the NOBTS and Leavell College family understands the importance of our partnership with generous donors. We feel tremendous gratitude for their investment in our mission, and we take seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of these gifts. Your support can make a difference in the lives of our students—both male and female—and will make a difference in the kingdom work for years to come.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of support of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College. We appreciate it more than we could ever express.
God bless you and keep you,
If you would like to learn more about how you can answer God’s call in your life and become a partner to one of the students training here, please call us at 1-800-662-8701 ext. 3252
P.S.: This February, the Prepare Her team is planning to host the Abide Women’s Conference here in New Orleans with featured speaker Jen Wilken. To find out more about the conference or any of the Prepare Her programs, visit their website at https://prepareher.com/abide/. And for more information about making a financial gift to NOBTS and Leavell College, visit online at nobts.edu/donate