Affirming that women are an asset to the church and influencers in God’s Kingdom work, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College have introduced a series of new academic and campus life initiatives to better serve women.
Tara Dew, adjunct professor of ministry to women and wife of NOBTS and Leavell College President Jamie Dew, pointed to NOBTS’ long legacy of training women for service. NOBTS women graduates serve on the mission field, in convention offices, writing and speaking for the Gospel, as ministers’ wives and as ministers to women, and in key roles in strategic compassion and evangelistic outreach ministries around the world.
“Women who prepare here are doing amazing things,” Dew said. “If you come here, we are going to train you to glorify God with all your mind and equip you to use your gifts in whatever way God has called you.”
Under the new name “Prepare Her” and dedicated branding, the multi-faceted initiatives serve students, student wives, women staff and faculty members, and wives of staff and faculty members and provide fellowship and support for every woman in her God-given calling. Dew and the other leaders have produced a video explaining their approach to women’s ministry (Watch Now).
While women pursue degrees at NOBTS in every program and at every academic level from baccalaureate to doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), the freshly honed programs support NOBTS and Leavell College women in the various roles 21st century Christian women fill.
“Women have a valuable place in ministry leadership because God has given us a unique role in the church, in our roles as wives and mothers, and in all the different spaces we fill in life,” said Emily Dean, assistant professor of ministry to women and director of women's academic programs that equip women to lead ministries to women.
New logos and a fresh face for the multi-faceted initiatives can be found at the recently launched website www.prepareher.com.
The three-pronged Prepare Her program includes the women’s academic Programs that prepare women to lead women’s ministries; Thrive, the Ministry Wife’s Certificate program, and Together (Women’s Life) campus life programs and events that support and encourage all women.
Abide, a new two-day women’s Bible study conference, serves women in churches in the New Orleans area and surrounding region as well as NOBTS and Leavell College women.
Jen Wilkin, LifeWay women’s Bible study author and speaker, is the featured speaker for next year’s Abide, Feb. 19-20, 2021. Details are available at the Prepare Her website.
“Jen Wilkin is one of my favorite Bible teachers,” Dew said. “She encourages women to love God not only with their hearts but also with their minds. I am thrilled to welcome her to our campus next year for our Abide conference, as her passion lines up so clearly with our mission for women here at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.”
In a culture that devalues absolute truth, women’s ministry must be grounded in biblical truth and theologically sound, Dean said.
“We have to be ready to give the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15),” Dean said. “We have to be ready to explain what we believe, and why.”
For women considering theological education, Dean advises them, first and foremost, to follow God’s call and reminds them ministry takes place whether a paid staff position is available, or not.
“Seek the Lord and determine, ‘Is He calling me to this?’” Dean said. “If yes, then the Lord certainly has a purpose in mind.”
As Dew leads Thrive, the Ministry Wife Certificate program, she reminds student wives that being a pastor’s wife means stewarding God’s gifts rather than fitting into some “formula.”
“You take how God has gifted you and what He has passioned you to do and then use that wherever God takes you,” Dew explained.
Thrive is based on a cohort system where women stay together throughout the two-year, rotating system of eight courses offerings. When completed, women take with them established friendships and a support system as they enter ministry as a pastor or church staff wife.
Taught by faculty wives and female faculty, the courses range from how to teach and study the Bible to the basics of Christian counseling to understanding worldview and Christian doctrine.
Stephanie Lyon, women’s life coordinator, directs events that promote biblical growth, fellowship, and provide support to all NOBTS and Leavell College women. Single or married, with children or without, all Christian women are called to impact their communities and the next generation, Lyon explained.
“When we say all women, we really mean no matter where you’re from, or your background, no matter what your first language is, there’s a place for you here,” Lyon said.
Lyon said a well-grounded theology and a vibrant walk with God are necessary for ministry and service.
“God has given women influence in different realms and we want to leverage that influence in rock solid biblical theology,” Lyon said.
“If a woman is sensing God’s call to ministry leadership, we desire to ‘Prepare Her’ here at NOBTS and Leavell College,” Dew said. “We are more beautiful together, stronger together. We can do more for the Gospel together.”