Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela
It’s easy to be lulled into a state of complacency when it comes to religion. You may be a Christian, but are you an intentional one? Do you seek out knowledge so you can articulate your faith to others? Do you educate yourself about how to apply Christianity to your daily life?
Outside of church, most of us don’t. But right here in our hometown, we have an excellent resource where we can study under top scholars. The Houston Baptist University campus is just minutes away and offers programs for everyone at the School of Christian Thought.
The school is distinctive in that it maintains a collaborative partnership with Second Baptist Church of Houston. Dr. Todd Bates, Dean of the School of Christian Thought, described it as “a high level of academic preparation and ministry competency. The school provides a great theological education with practical application working with ministers who have been in the ministry for 20-30 years.”
The school has generated a wide level of interest from both traditional students coming straight out of a Bachelor’s program and adults looking for a mid-life career change. Some are new Christians who are disenfranchised with their former careers and want to be in a profession that supports their faith. Some are Bible Study teachers or lay people working within a church environment who want to sharpen their tools through a guided program.
They choose HBU because the School of Christian Thought is open to all denominations and provides both theoretical and practical life application. “Our program is so effective because of our partnership with Second Baptist Church,” explained Dr. Bates. “We’re interested in training people for the ministry through hands-on preparation. Where else can a young student be shoulder to shoulder with a pastor in the industry for 25 years, learning from his experiences and wealth of knowledge?”
Within the school, students can earn one of two degrees: The Master of Divinity, the standard professional degree for those interested in ministry as a vocation, and the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership for those interested in a deeper understanding and knowledge of the Bible. The MACL is particularly helpful for people wanting to dig deeper in their faith or who work in an environment where there a lot of questions about Christianity.
In addition, the school provides a number of certificates geared toward certain aspects of the ministry. For instance, a person studying inner-city ministries can earn a certificate in drug addiction counseling to augment their learning and better prepare them for the various aspects of the career.
One learning option that is entirely unique to HBU and the School of Christian Thought is the Surveyors Program. Ideal for anyone who simply wants to learn more, pastors of smaller churches, and older pastors needing refreshing, Surveyors is a non-credit option with no homework and no exams. Anyone who is interested can simply pay a small fee and show up for class. Dr. Bates said, “Last semester at our Woodway campus, 100 Surveyors attended one class by Dr. Craig Evans, an internationally-renowned scholar on Biblical background and a Distinguished Professor. William Lane Craig, Special Faculty, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, and one of the greatest apologists, led a one-week class that was hugely popular. This is the place to learn from the best and to be challenged by thoughtful Christians.”
The School of Christian Thought is in its second year, with the new West Campus location opened January 15 of this year. Registration is taking place now for the fall semester and information can be found on the website. For more information on the Surveyors Program, visit the Houston Theological Seminary website and sign up any time. No matter what program you choose, you can become a more conscientious Christian now.
Houston Theological Seminary will hold a preview event at the West campus of Second Baptist (19449 Katy Fwy) on March 7th. The event will begin with an informal dinner and information session from 5:30-6:20 pm and an opportunity to sit in on a seminary class: “Jesus and His Teaching,” with Dr. Craig Evans from 6:30-9:00 pm. There is no cost to attend; just RSVP to HBU.edu/HTSPreview, email at SCTdean@hbu.edu or call 281-649-3383.