By Amelia Krauss, News Editor
For students who feel called to pursue ministry as a vocation, whether in the local church or on the mission field, the Church and Convention Ministry Scholarship program provides practical insight into ministry service and helps prepare students to faithfully serve Christ and his church.
To receive the $1,000 scholarship, students must be members of a Southern Baptist church and plan to pursue full-time ministry, maintain a 2.0 GPA, attend at least three program events each semester and set personal goals for spiritual and ministerial growth.
Students are not required to pursue a ministry-related degree to receive the scholarship, said Joshua Moore, assistant to the vice president for church relations. In fact, he said out of the approximately 150 students in the program, nearly half have a degree unrelated to theology.
The scholarship program events include after-chapel luncheons with guest speakers, Monday morning discussions with professors about practical ministry topics, roundtable sessions with pastors and preaching nights when students are invited to preach at local churches.
Weston Wax, senior church history major and student director of the program, said one benefit is the ability to learn from godly people in an intimate setting.
“We get a lot of chances to hear from pastors and ministers (who) give hands-on, practical advice about ministry,” Wax said. “They tell us what they are doing with their ministry and congregations or how they’re ministering on the mission field. Hearing from brothers and sisters who have gone before us is always both edifying and encouraging.”
While most students choose to attend events as part of their scholarship requirement, Moore said upperclassmen can pursue the mentorship track, which requires them to spend 10 or more hours with a ministry mentor each semester. He said both tracks are important for connecting with other pastors.
Will Miller, biblical studies and languages major, said he has greatly benefited from the networking the program provides, the opportunity to preach at local churches, hear professors and guests discuss the inner-workings of ministry and attend events such as a ministerial resume-writing seminar.
Miller said the spiritual growth plan, which requires students to set personal goals and submit them to the Office of Church Relations, is also beneficial.
“(The spiritual growth plan is) an accountability system because I know not only am I responsible for keeping my own goals, I know they have been formalized,” Miller said. “(They have) been put down on paper and I’m sharing (them) with other people. … It helps me take responsibility for the goals I have set for myself.”
Moore said spiritual preparation and involvement in a local church are essential to becoming a minister of the Gospel.
“Practical church and Christian ministry is not effective unless you prepare your soul and have an active … discipleship with Christ,” Moore said. “Without that, everything else makes no difference.”
The scholarship is limited to those meeting the requirements, but Moore said anyone is welcome to attend the events.