Family businesses take many forms. For Dr. Charles Ray III, the family business has always been about sharing the gospel and encouraging the church. Currently, he’s doing his part through a variety of roles at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College: associate dean, professor of Greek and New Testament, and director of the seminary’s accelerated programs.
But he’s really just extending the legacy started by his grandfather (a pastor and missionary in Japan) and his father (a pastor, missionary to Korea, and NOBTS professor).
“I’m actually a third generation master’s and doctoral graduate from the seminary,” he says with a note of justifiable pride. “All three of the Charles Rays are New Orleans master’s and doctoral graduates. When I was born, my dad was actually a student and pastoring a church in Baton Rouge. New Orleans and the seminary has been my home for a long time.”
Because his dad left the mission field to begin teaching at the seminary, Dr. Ray literally grew up on Seminary Place. After finishing his undergraduate degree in Texas, he came back to the seminary for his master’s and doctoral work. All of those experiences have given him a unique lens through which to view New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College. But the common denominator has always been relationships. For him, that’s something that sets NOBTS and Leavell College apart.
“When I think about NOBTS and Leavell College, I think about the relational connections with faculty,” said Dr. Ray, who spent several years pastoring in Mississippi before coming back to New Orleans. “That was true for me when I was a student, and I think it’s true for a lot of our students. One of the things I really enjoy about teaching now is just having more connections with students than I think is common in some other places.
“I often tell students that one of the things I didn’t realize when I was a seminary student is how relational pastoral ministry is. You’re pastoring people. So, those relationships that I formed and how people invested in me have really helped me to see what ministry is all about.”
Leaders like Charles Ray are passionately pursuing their call to make a difference in the world by equipping the next generation of ministers and fulfilling the God-given task of preparing servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission. This dedication represents the heartbeat of all who work at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College, but we cannot do it alone. We need the partnership of our friends and alum, individuals like you who embrace our mission and are willing to invest in our students through their gifts to the Providence Fund. You understand the impact generosity can have, how your financial support can empower students and expand God’s work around the world. That’s why we are inviting you to become a partner with us by giving to the Providence Fund.
Every dollar you give to the Providence Fund is a dollar our students don’t have to pay. In addition, you get to be a part of something much bigger than yourself. We live in a world marked by spiritual darkness. With the support of brothers and sisters like you, we can help our students learn how to push back against that darkness and reveal the saving light of Jesus Christ.
Charles Ray and his wife, Lisa, give to NOBTS and Leavell College because they have seen what God has been doing on campus through the years. They also trust that He will continue His work in the future.
“We’ve developed the ‘prepare here, serve anywhere’ motto, and that’s been true in my life,” said Dr. Ray. “I grew up here. I went to public school in New Orleans. I went from rural Louisiana to Korea to New Orleans to Texas. That’s a lot of different cultures. But New Orleans provides an atmosphere where you can really prepare to be sent to a lot of different areas.”
“For those who want to go to the mission field, it’s good place to prepare for that. But I pastored a church in Mississippi, and it was a good place to prepare for that as well. I feel such a sense of gratitude to anyone who sees the beauty of that and wants to partner with us.”
When Dr. Ray looks to the future, he sees the impact NOBTS and Leavell College are making through its faculty, graduates, and students. He also recognizes the impact the institution has had on his own life—and the life of his family.
“I met my wife here,” he says. “Lisa and I met in Archie England’s Old Testament Survey class in our second semester of seminary. And I’m raising my kids on the same block of Seminary Place where I grew up. That’s been kind of neat. And now I’m here helping to prepare the next generation of ministers. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”
We want you to become a part of that, as well. There is no better way to partner with us than by giving to the Providence Fund. And there’s no better time to start than right now. As you reflect on your giving for the rest of 2023 and begin making plans for 2024, we ask that you prayerfully consider investing in what God is doing through the ministry of NOBTS and Leavell College.
Thank you in advance for your generous partnership. Your financial support and your prayer support mean more than we could ever express. We appreciate you, and we wish God’s richest blessings for you during the upcoming holiday season.
The Providence Fund