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Theological education expands Fall 2012 course offerings

By Barbara Denman

July 3, 2012


ORLANDO (FBC)—Access to theological education is increasingly available to interested students throughout Florida.


Beginning this fall, courses will be offered for French and Creole-speaking Haitian students through the Orlando distance site of The Baptist College of Florida (BCF).

This marks the newest Theological Education Ministries initiative from the Florida Baptist Convention, whose goal is to provide fully-accredited, fully-accessible theological education within two hours of every Florida Baptist.


The Convention continues to expand opportunities for Florida Baptists in a variety of languages, locations and class formats through its partnership with BCF and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS).


“Theological education is one of the most practical ways that Florida Baptists spend their dollars,” said Michael Slaughter, associate pastor of Oak-Griner Baptist Church in Ocala, a current NOBTS-Orlando Master of Divinity student who holds a bachelor of science in biblical studies from BCF-Orlando.


Cooperative Program funds help to underwrite course offerings at ten different locations across the state, taught in English, French, Creole and Spanish. Classes are taught by live instructors or using compressed interactive video systems that foster real-time interaction with teachers.


Classroom interaction "creates natural relationships that last long after the grades have been posted,” explained Slaughter, "building needed support systems for ministry leaders."


“Distance education students are highly-motivated,” added Chris Fouché, BCF-Orlando site director, noting that students often hold family, ministry and job responsibilities while pursuing their studies.


Male and female students, ranging in age from 18 to 65, from Anglo, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Haitian ministry settings, provide rich diversity to the learning environment, he said.


A “palpable sense of excitement” is being generated over the new classes targeting Haitian students in Central Florida, Fouché noted. These courses expand the continuing Haitian initiative begun in Fall 2011 in West Palm Beach through NOBTS’ Leavell College.


Panama City is the newest BCF location offering courses for students interested in pursuing an associate degree. Certificate offerings, also, are expanding throughout Florida, as well as through the FBC theological education work in Haiti.


Graduate level classes meet either eight times per semester or four times per semester on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. Flexible scheduling helps students fulfill ministry and job responsibilities while pursuing their education. Online courses are also available to supplement course offerings for students whose schedules or locations keep them from attending classes in person.


Degrees offered vary by institution and distance education site, and include: Associate in Christian Ministry, Associate of Divinity, BA in Christian Ministry, BA in Christian Studies, BA in Ministry Studies, Master of Divinity, MA in Christian Education, MA in Christian Studies. A fuller array of degrees is available on the main campus of each school.


All of the educational institutions represented accredited programs. BCF is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. NOBTS is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the graduate programs are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.


Both BCF and NOBTS are approved for veterans’ training. To find out more about using VA educational benefits, veterans can contact BCF at 800-328-2660 or NOBTS at 407-514-4412.


The staff at the Orlando Theological Education Hub is available to answer prospective students’ questions and to direct students to the appropriate contact at BCF and NOBTS. The Orlando Hub can be reached at 407-514-4413 or OrlandoHub@gmail.com. Students in South Florida may wish to contact SouthFLCenter@gmail.com or call 305-888-9777. Students interested in certificate or doctoral studies should contact the Orlando Hub.


Fall 2012 classes begin in August. Registration for new students is open now, as is enrollment for current students. To view course schedules online, go to www.baptistcollege.edu or www.nobts.edu, or contact your local distance education site directly.

Baptist College of Florida

Main Campus
Sandra Richards, Director of Marketing and Admissions

skrichards@baptistcollege.edu or 800-328-2660 ext. 415

BCF Jacksonville: First Jacksonville

Joe Molina: jrmolina@baptistcollege.edu or 904-422-6419

BCF Orlando: First Orlando (English/French)

Chris Fouché: cefouche@baptistcollege.edu or 407-514-4413


BCF Orlando-Central Florida: First Central Florida

Central Florida Christian Academy Front Desk: (407) 850-2322


BCF Panama City: Family of God Church

James Oney, Sr.: james_sr.oney@baptistcollege.edu or 850-769-4021


BCF Pensacola: Olive Church

Jon DuBois: jadubois@baptistcollege.edu or (850) 476-1932

Leavell College/New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Associate's & Bachelor's)

Broward/South FL Center: Sheridan Hills Baptist Church (Classes in French)
Wadler Jules: SouthFLCenter@gmail.com or 305-888-9777

Hialeah/South FL Center: Urban Impact Ministries Center (English/Spanish)

David Lema: SouthFLCenter@gmail.com or 305-888-9777

: First Baptist Brandon (Classes in English)

Mike Wetzel: TampaCenter@gmail.com or 727-866-7362

West Palm Beach/South FL Center: Palm Beach Baptist Network (Classes in French)

Wadler Jules: SouthFLCenter@gmail.com or 305-888-9777


New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Master’s)

Graceville Extension Center: BCF main campus

Ryan Begue: GracevilleCenter@gmail.com or 850-373-6122

Hialeah/South FL Center: Urban Impact Ministries Center

David Lema: SouthFLCenter@gmail.com or 305-888-9777

Jacksonville Extension Center: First Baptist Church Jacksonville

Marcus Allen, Jr.: JacksonvilleCenter@gmail.com or 904-366-1352

Orlando Hub: First Baptist Orlando

Doug Watkins: OrlandoHub@gmail.com or 407-514-4413

Pensacola Extension Center: Olive Baptist Church

Dr. Robert Gilliland: PensacolaCenter@gmail.com or 850-475-1128

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