By Patrick Cole, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner seminary and a CBF regional organization are collaborating to equip more people for ministry in CBF congregations.
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and CBF Florida and the Caribbean Islands have formed a partnership that will help individuals in Florida and its neighboring islands pursue theological education where they live and serve. BSK’s Board of Trustees and the Representative Assembly of CBF Florida and the Caribbean recently approved a partnership agreement.
CBF Florida and the Caribbean Islands will establish a theological education fund that will provide financial aid for students from the region who study at BSK. Through BSK’s virtual classrooms, they can earn the Master of Divinity degree and graduate certificates and take non-credit courses offered by BSK’s Flourish Center.
Ray Johnson, coordinator of CBF Florida and the Caribbean Islands, said he has been searching for 15 years for a theological education partner to serve Cooperative Baptists in the region. He emphasized BSK offers the elements he was looking for in a partnership. He cited BSK’s commitment to distance education, its devotion to contextualized learning and its “church centric” focus.
“I am so excited that our partnership with Baptist Seminary of Kentucky delivers on all three of these concerns with innovative programs—such as Flourish and contextualized studies for rural pastors—access to online classes led by scholars who love the church and special opportunities to train local churches in their own setting,” Johnson said.
Johnson noted he has been impressed with what he has learned about BSK’s partnerships with Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically Black institution in Louisville that is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention of America, International, and with CBF Virginia. Last year, CBF Virginia selected BSK as its theological education partner for Virginia students who want to pursue distance learning.
BSK President David Cassady said he is “thrilled” CBF Florida and the Caribbean decided to become BSK’s newest partner. “Students from this diverse region will enjoy a dynamic context for pursuing theological education and ministry,” he added. “I appreciate the shared vision between BSK and CBF Florida and the Caribbean around the value of theological education that is centered in one’s place of ministry.”