on Friday, June 11, 2021

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary announced the appointment of Greg Mathias as associate professor of global missions, the relaunch of the school’s Global Missions Center, and new scholarships for missionaries and their children.

NOBTS and Leavell College President Jamie Dew began using the phrase “prepare here, serve anywhere” to describe the aim of the seminary’s programs when he arrived at NOBTS in 2019. Dew has worked to create a campus atmosphere that prepares students to serve wherever God calls. The school’s mission statement was updated to include “fulfill His mission” to indicate the commitment to global mission efforts. The appointment of Mathias and the reinvestment in the missions center are part of the seminary’s efforts to prioritize mission preparation and encourage more students to be a part of fulfilling God’s mission throughout the world.

These moves represents a response to the ambitious missionary placement goals set by the IMB.

“I was thrilled to learn of the relaunch of the Global Missions Center at NOBTS and the appointment of a former IMB missionary to lead it,” IMB Paul Chitwood said. “This move is further proof that Dr. Dew is serious about New Orleans becoming a ‘prepare here, serve anywhere’ seminary.”

“At IMB, we have set a goal to increase our overseas mission force by an additional 500 missionaries by 2025,” Chitwood said. “Reaching that goal depends on many things but none more important than having trained and qualified candidates who can serve through IMB. The Global Missions Center at NOBTS will help us meet this goal of more trained workers for the harvest fields among the nations. More importantly, it will ensure that more of the lost and hurting around the world receive help and hope.”

Dew said the renewed missions focus is designed to embrace and support Chitwood’s ambitious vision for missionary deployment.

“If we need 500 new missionaries per year to reach IMB goals, then it is time for NOBTS to step up and do the very best she can for the Great Commission,” Dew said. “The hiring of Greg Mathias, the relaunch of our Global Missions Center, and the new scholarship offerings we are giving are major steps we can take towards that end. It’s my prayer that in the years to come future missionaries will come to prepare on our campus, and that they will then go to the nations.”

Greg Mathias Appointment
 “Greg and his family are the perfect fit for our campus and for this work specifically,” said Jamie Dew, president of NOBTS and Leavell College. “I’ve known him for over 13 years and I’ve seen his work and his character. He has incredible missiological experience and is a natural leader. And, his connections with the International Mission Board (IMB) will serve both entities very well.”

Zane Pratt, IMB vice president of assessment/deployment and Training, commended the selection of Mathias.

“Greg Mathias was an outstanding choice to teach missions and to lead international mission efforts at NOBTS,” Pratt said. “Having him in this role will bless the NOBTS community, and it will also bless the nations as God uses Greg to raise up and train a new generation of missionaries. Congratulations!”

Mathias comes to NOBTS from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served in various missions-related capacities since 2008. He served as the associate director Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies since 2009 and as assistant professor of global studies at Southeastern since 2014. Before his election to the SEBTS faculty, Mathias served as an adjunct professor at SEBTS for six years.

After his undergraduate study at Virginia Tech, Mathias earned the master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees at SEBTS. His ministry experience includes a three-year term as a strategy leader apprentice with the International Mission Board (Middle East), three years as a campus minister with Campus Crusade at Penn State. Mathias recently concluded a two-year stint as pastor to young professionals at Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest, N.C.

Mathias and his wife, Page, have four daughters.

Relocation and Relaunch of the Center
The Global Missions Center’s relaunch and reinvestment efforts will include establishing dedicated office space on the first floor of the Hardin Student Center (HSC). Previously housed in a faculty office, the center will now be located in the hub of campus activity along with the North American Mission Board’s new Church Planting Center. Dew said he believes that Mathias and George Ross (director of the NAMB center) will lead the charge to reinvigorate the missions focus on campus. In addition to the role of mission promotion on campus, Mathias also will plan and lead overseas mission experiences for students.

“The new Global Missions Center space will place this important initiative in the heart of our campus and student life,” Dew said. “As students prepare here, they will be better equipped to serve anywhere.”

Missionary Scholarships
Included in the mission-focused initiatives announced at NOBTS and Leavell are new and expanded scholarships for current missionaries, the children of missionaries, and returning Journeyman/ISC missionaries. The school’s 50 percent tuition scholarship for active missionaries for International Mission Board (IMB) personnel has been expanded to include active North American Mission Board (NAMB) and now covers on-campus, distance and online courses (undergraduate and graduate). A 30 percent tuition doctoral scholarship has been established for active IMB and NAMB missionaries. NOBTS and Leavell College established a 100 percent tuition and enrollment fee scholarship for children of active missionaries and a 25 percent scholarship for children of retired missionaries. Returning Journeyman/ISC missionaries also will receive a 50 percent scholarship.

New Option for IMB training requirements
The seminary also received word that Leavell College’s "Thrive: Ministry Wives Certificate" has been approved as a way to train wives of future missionaries. Thrive, launched in 2020 under the leadership of Tara Dew, is an eight-course academic program taught by credentialed faculty and faculty wives. Those who wish to complete the IMB spouse theological requirement will enroll in four additional courses in the new "Thrive +” program. For more information about Thrive, please visit www.prepareher.com/thrive.

“We are thrilled to partner with the IMB and prepare the whole family for ministry and missions, Tara Dew said. “Our Thrive classes are designed specifically for ministry and missionary wives, so that they can prepare here to serve anywhere.”