KANSAS CITY, Mo. —The first doctor degree in education ministry (D.Ed.Min) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, which was established in 2000, was awarded to James Amonotte during commencement May 22 at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.
Amonette, who also received the Outstanding Doctoral Studies Graduate Award, has been in the ministry for more than 25 years and a pastor for nearly 20 years, during which time he has led churches in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is currently pastor at Northwest Baptist Church in Miami, Okla.
Amonette holds a master of arts in religious education degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a bachelor of career arts in pastoral ministries from Dallas Baptist University.
Amonette shared his story of how he came to receive salvation and become a preacher. He acknowledged that when he was young he never had deep interest in academics. It was after he received salvation at a youth camp with his church after entering college that he became serious about education. He then decided to attend seminary and become a preacher.
“I was saved at a church encampment near Hot Springs, Ark., on a hot summer night in 1970,” Amonette recounted, “The focal speaker was an older foreign missionary whom the Lord used to grip my attention with the message of Christ’s death and sacrifice and the call to salvation and to service.”
He added, “I did not trust Jesus in the service but did talk to our youth leader that night, and he was able to lead me to Christ.”
As soon as he asked Jesus to do for him what he could never do for himself, Amonette realized he had to take the path Jesus showed him.
“My call to salvation and my call to do missions are interconnected,” he said. “I recognized early in my young Christian pilgrimage that my spiritual giftedness from the Holy Spirit came at the same time of my conversion. When the Lord called me to salvation He also gave me the overwhelming desire to preach, teach and reach people everywhere for Christ.”
Over the past 20 years, Amonette said he has had the opportunity to go on many mission trips.
“Everywhere I go in this world I must be about my Heavenly Father’s business of giving and being a witness to people,” he said. “Evangelism and missions go hand in hand, so my ‘walk’ and my ‘talk’ must coincide. Perhaps this degree will open some doors to do even more in the area of missions.”
Amonette expressed his gratitude to his seminary professors, noting that each contributed to his experience in a unique, yet significant manner.
“Any student who is searching for a good seminary experience, whatever level or degree, would do well attending any of the SBC seminaries,” Amonette said. “However, Midwestern will provide not only a sound biblical education, but the faculty and staff will go the extra mile to ensure that the needs of every student are met.”
Amonette also praised the education he received at Midwestern, especially the field he was studying which holds much strength in spiritual growth and development, theological studies and practical preparation.
“The administration and faculty are in my opinion Spirit-led servants, world-class theologians and educators who exhibit convictions and divine calling reflective of consistent belief and adherence to God’s inerrant Word,” he said. “It was my desire to receive a theological and educational experience that I would be proud of in the years to come. I felt Midwestern was such an institution.”