NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) has decided to offer ministerial training in multiple languages so that the pastors from different ethnic backgrounds can preach God’s Word in their native language.
God-called men and women "can minister more effectively to their own people in their native tongue," said Jimmy Dukes, dean of the extension center system at NOBTS. "God has used these efforts to promote the growth of the Kingdom as our graduates have gone out to serve in many local church situations."
Currently NOBTS offering courses in Portuguese, Spanish, Creole French, Vietnamese and Korean. Training is available for Brazilians, Hispanics, Haitians and Vietnamese at the certificate level. A new language program will be implemented so that courses on graduate- level can be taught in Korean. The Korean Theological Institute will be established and held in summer offering biblical languages and systematic theology in Korean language. The seminary officials hope to expand the institute to include certificate and undergraduate training in Korean and enhance the ministry of Korean pastors serving in language churches.
In metro New Orleans, NOBTS is active in training Hispanic and Vietnamese pastors and church leaders, the Gulf Coast region also has a large Vietnamese population, and on the main NOBTS campus, Koreans constitute the largest language group. Many Korean students study theology in English at NOBTS.
The seminary's largest extension center, the North Georgia Campus in Decatur, Ga., also has begun offering courses in multiple languages. Vietnamese and Korean programs have been started at the undergraduate level to reach the growing population of these groups in metro Atlanta.
As the culture becomes more diverse in the South with growing number of new immigrants, the Florida Baptist Convention soon recognized the need of developing ministerial training in foreign languages. New Orleans is also becoming more racially and culturally diverse that such training is needed there as well.
"There is no possible way to do quality theological education in Florida without doing it in multiple languages," John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer for the Florida Baptist Convention, said. "Not only must theological education be taught in the language of the student, it must be contextualized to the culture."
"The Florida Baptist Convention is very intentional in theological education and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a vital and cooperative partner," Sullivan said. "We are committed to multi-language education."