Over the next 40 days, Leavell College will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a four-year college. The celebration will highlight the school’s commitment to God’s Word and local church ministry.
“We are preparing students so that they are first and foremost grounded in their biblical understanding. This is unchanging,” said Thomas Strong III, Dean of Leavell College at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. “We are preparing students to build their lives upon the Scripture and then to help others do so as well.”
According to Strong, this commitment to the Bible and a biblical understanding of ministry, leads to a deep commitment to the local church.
“Our students have not forsaken the church but instead, see that the church still has a great place in the Kingdom,” Strong said.
Many students serve in church ministry positions during their time in school. However, it is not uncommon for students who are not on a church staff to seek out volunteer ministry opportunities in churches and church-related ministries. Seeing students take this type of initiative excites Strong and other members of the Leavell College faculty.
“I see within Leavell College students a willingness to get involved in ministry now,” Strong said. “Our students are not waiting to be offered a position; they are embracing the opportunities presented to them in all types of ministry.”
When Leavell College began offering the bachelor of arts degree during the 1992-1993 school year, students had to be at least 25-years-old to enroll. The age restriction has since been removed, but the focus of Leavell College has not changed. Enrollment is limited to those who have expressed a call to ministry and the curriculum is geared to prepare graduates for ministry.
“Our student body ranges from students who are recent high school graduates with a deep sense of a calling of God to non-traditional students who also have that deep sense of calling,” Strong said. “We are preparing our students to embrace God's calling upon their lives and to lay the foundation for future study.”
Current students do not put a limit on where they will go to answer God’s call on their lives, Strong said. This missional willingness to go wherever God leads is one of the things that excites Strong and makes him hopeful for the future of the church.
“Among our students is also a willingness to do whatever and to go wherever. Seldom do I hear of anyone desiring to return to the safety of their home communities,” Strong said. “Instead, I hear them talk about a love for God that will encourage them to follow Him wherever.”
“We have students literally scattered around the world and in every type of ministry conceivable,” he noted.
As one of the first faculty members hired when the seminary began offering the fully accredited, four-year bachelor of arts degree, Strong has a unique perspective on Leavell College. Seeing the school grow from an idea into a reality leaves him grateful for the opportunity he has been given.
“God called me to be a part of the seminary faculty 25 years ago and specifically to be a part of the Leavell College faculty,” Strong said. “I am overwhelmed that God has allowed me to be a part of this great ministry.”
As NOBTS celebrates the ministry and work of Leavell College, additional articles exploring the history and uniqueness of Leavell College will be posted on the NOBTS social media sites. During this Leavell College emphasis, NOBTS will announce a new endowed faculty chair at the college. The endowed chair, named in honor of two individuals who were instrumental in building Leavell College, will help ensure the ongoing success of Leavell College for years to come. After the announcement of the name, Leavell College will provide alumni and friends the opportunity to contribute to the endowed chair.
For more about Leavell College, visit http://www.nobts.edu/leavellcollege.