Introducing SDB University!

by Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten

Director of Education and History

 

 

Education is a high value among Seventh Day Baptists. From our frontier days to the present, we have prioritized training in Christian life and witness as a people. This is true for all of our people, but especially of our leaders. For this reason, the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of the United States and Canada continues to develop and administer educational programs meant to aid members of local churches in making the best use of their various giftings for the glory of God’s Kingdom.

The education necessary to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is not solely an academic endeavor, however, and so Seventh Day Baptists emphasize both academic and practical education for all of our members. Equipping the saints for works of service takes many forms, and must take place in the context of local churches. For the past several years, the groups responsible for education among SDBs have been evaluating our existing ministries with an eye towards revamping the programs while retaining our distinctive identity and convictions.

The resulting revamped programs are now available for your church in the form of an integrative educational initiative called SDB University (SDBU). SDBU is, at its core, a new expression of two ideas long prevalent among SDBs in our education: training of the laity at the level of the local church, and the training of pastors and leaders from outside the local church as they serve from within a local covenant body. These training functions were previously achieved through the CALLED and TIME programs but are now being administered together as part of SDBU. The first class in the pastoral leadership certificate program is already under way.

The program literature outlines three certificate level classes (available on the General Conference webpage at http://seventhdaybaptist.org/sdbu). Each level is targeted for a slightly different group of people. In each case, participation in the program is limited to those who meet the following entry requirements:

  • Membership and regular and substantive participation in a local SDB church.
  • Recommended by their local church to undertake the program.
  • The local church needs to be prepared to provide mentoring or coaching, opportunities for ministry, and accountability in the training.

Beyond these basic requirements, additional requirements may also apply, depending on the program. These programs are meant to serve as a complete training process, and so individuals seeking one of the pastoral leadership certificates may be asked to complete one of the previous programs first, depending on ministry experience and formal education. Individuals with such experience are invited to contact the Dean of the School of Ministry for more information and to inquire about specifics for placement in our programs. We anticipate additional courses of study for specific leadership and ministry areas will come in the future as the program continues to grow.

SDB University is administered by the Director of Education and History/Dean of the School of Ministry, Nick Kersten, under the supervision of the Christian Education Council and the Council on Ministry under the auspices of the SDB School of Ministry. If you have questions about the program, or wish to inquire further, please contact Nick by email (nkersten@seventhdaybaptist.org) or phone (608-752-5055, ext. 1006).

Local SDB churches with specific training needs are invited to contact us — customized training for use in your local church may be available!

At this time, these programs are only available for Seventh Day Baptists in the United States and Canada. Seventh Day Baptists who are members of other SDB Conferences are invited to contact the SDB Missionary Society for more information about training opportunities in your context.

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