Baptist Bible Seminary, a division of Clarks Summit University, has announced a new strategy for delivering their seminary training.
Baptist Bible Seminary’s enrollment has stayed strong over the years, and today, over 90 percent of BBS students choose to study online or in short, on-campus modules a few times per year. The five master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees can all be completed in this flexible online or web-enhanced format. While there are still residential study opportunities, the vast majority of today’s students prefer the more flexible options, which allow them to continue in their current ministries while earning a high-level degree.
Based on current national trends and future projections, this model of seminary education only promises to grow. In response to this, Clarks Summit University’s Board of Trustees is making strategic changes to best serve current and future seminary students.
The first part of this strategy was the sale of the seminary building in 2016. Since the seminary conducts most classes online, there is no longer a need for a separate classroom building. The university’s main classroom building, Jackson Hall, provides ample space for seminary faculty and on-campus classes.
The seminary will initiate a second strategic change in June 2017. Based on the high percentage of online students, BBS will reduce the number of full-time residential professors, maintaining specialists in the study areas of Old Testament, New Testament, theology and ministry equipping. These residential professors will supervise a wider array of adjunct professors who lead online classes in their areas of specialty. Then, as now, online professors will be ministry practitioners with high academic qualifications.
The seminary will remain dedicated to providing students with hands-on ministry opportunities, such as the unique, one-year, paid Master of Divinity internship program, led by a dedicated internship director. BBS will also continue to prepare students with a high-level theological education, coupled with skills that are immediately applicable in ministry.
A new Master of Arts in Church Planting & Renewal was added last fall. This 36-hour degree builds on the seminary’s commitment to train ministry leaders to grow new Christ-centered congregations.
The Board of Trustees and administration aims to position the seminary to match current and future educational realities and is moving forward with this strategy to better serve students who are looking for a high-quality, seminary degree that fits with their family life and current ministry.