Baptist universities offer leadership training - Word&Way

Baptist universities offer leadership training

The four Baptist colleges in Missouri offer several opportunities for growth as a church leader.

William Jewell College

William Jewell College in Liberty offers opportunities for adults through its Tucker Leadership Lab.

The college offers team training in leadership and teamwork. It also provides workshops in performance, interpersonal com-munication, team development and leadership development.

Through its IMPACT Performance program, Jewell offers training and consulting services geared to organizations and business for skill training, communication and leadership development.

Jewell Roundtable is a facilitated Web-based service for strategic planning, brainstorming, focus groups and surveys.

Jewell also provides leadership opportunities for enrolled students, including non-traditional students, through its Pryor Leadership Program. Founded by Fred and Shirley Pryor of Pryor Resources, the program offers eight credit hours in leadership, earned through seminars, internships, lectures and other activities. Students must be nominated by a faculty member and must complete an admissions process to participate in the program.

In addition, students can earn an American Humanics certificate in nonprofit management. The program allows students to work with area not-for-profits entities for academic training and hands-on learning in volunteer management, program planning, public relations, fundraising and other management aspects.

To find out more, check the Web site at, then click on "Distinctives," then on "Pryor Leadership."

Southwest Baptist University

Southwest Baptist University also takes a multi-pronged approach to leadership options. The institution offers a minor in leadership through its academic leadership program. The College of Business and Computer Science provides the interdisciplinary option.

SBU's focus on non-traditional learners was one of the leading reasons for developing the leadership option, according to David Whitlock, dean of the College of Business and Computer Science. The option is particularly appropriate for the institution's Mountain View and Salem centers because those campuses tend to attract non-traditional students.

"As we examined potential courses and programs that would be appropriate, leadership was a natural fit," he said.

All students have the opportunity to take advantage of SBU's Service and Leadership Training (SALT) program through the office of student life. This option also includes some hands-on opportunities.

Through its Courts Redford College of Theology, SBU offers some opportunities, including lectures and seminars, geared specifically to pastors and other church leaders.

Find out more at the school's Web site at

Missouri Baptist University

In addition to leadership courses found in most business and other degrees, Missouri Baptist University also offers specialized options for Christian servants.

The university's Ministry and Leadership program offers 12 classes for individuals in ministry, but who have had little or no formal training. The courses also are geared to those new to ministry and to laypeople.

Individuals who complete the work can count it as their major if they decide to pursue a bachelor's degree at MBU. The program also is offered at night to benefit working adults.

This specialized program is church-based to maximize opportunities for congregational leaders. Currently, the courses are offered at three St. Louis-area churches.

MBU also offers a master of arts in Christian ministry degree to provide further learning opportunities for church leaders and others.

"This degree is not designed to take the place of a seminary degree, but gives a taste of seminary," MBU director of Christian studies Curtis McClain said.

McClain explained that ministry leadership studies developed from three intertwining visions. "You have to address who you are before God. You have to turn the vision back to the need of the church to benefit and grow the church. And it had to be biblical," he said.

Check MBU's Web site at

Hannibal-LaGrange College

Hannibal-LaGrange College infuses a little leadership training into just about every aspect of student life it can.

In an academic setting, HLG's Christian leadership class teaches principles and helps students develop equipping, attitude, relational and organizational skills.

Although the school has helped informally in the past, administrators are in the process of organizing a leadership track to allow students to develop a leadership portfolio they can use as part of their job search after graduation.

It provides leadership training for its mission and DiscipleNow teams, and will provide literature for churches that request DiscipleNow teams, according to vice president for collegiate affairs Tom Hufty.

HLG provides opportunities for adult and other non-traditional students by hosting specific activities, such as Engage, an annual leadership training event for youth ministers and workers, sponsored jointly by the Missouri Baptist Convention and Illinois Baptist State Association.

The institution also hosts and provides speakers for training events sponsored by area associations and churches.

Contact Hufty at for more information.

For adults, HLG offers the ADVANCE program, which leads to degrees in administration of justice and organizational management, and Weekend College for general educational requirements. See its Web site at

(See the July 27, 2006 print edition for more on church leadership.)