Our future has never been brighter as we launch Mid-America Global, in which our initiatives for the coming year are distilled into five focus areas. As in all things, we are trusting God for His peace, presence, power, and provision to accomplish the tasks He has given us to do. Please pray with us over these new opportunities.
EXCELLENCE IN ONLINE LEARNING
Did you know that all of Mid-America’s undergraduate and graduate degrees can be completed 100 percent online? Online learning
makes sense for students in a variety of circumstances. For example, former students who left school early for job opportunities or family responsibilities can now re-enroll and complete their degrees from their current ministry locations. Excellent online classes mean that even if the student must attend remotely, he or she still receives a high-quality, fully-equipping Mid-America education. Our faculty have been working diligently, and we are all excited to roll out updated video content, formatting, course platform, and many other features which make our online classes better than ever before.
Because of our heart for the nations, international partnerships are particularly exciting to us. Our partnership with Emanuel University in Oradea, Romania, is something special. Of all the Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, Emanuel’s leadership chose Mid-America because of our heart for evangelism. Their heartbeat is our heartbeat—to glorify Jesus, teach the inerrant Word of God, and train others to do the same. We will assist them by teaching PhD Seminars in Romania to their faculty. This will allow Emanuel to be fully-accredited in their country and proceed with offering seminary courses and MDIV degrees.
In Kenya, we are partnering with an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary to assist a local pastor in receiving the training he needs without leaving his ministry. The native pastor will take online classes through Mid-America while he continues the work and is discipled by his IMB missionary friend. We believe this is a reproducible model for training around the world. In the coming year, we will share more about these and other international partnerships.
Our mission in the northeastern United States has been a focus for over 30 years. Our current Northeast director, Dr. Mike Haggard, has caught the vision of expanding from Albany, New York, to the entire region. He has worked with local pastors and ministers to recruit and assemble MOVE groups (see Focus 4) across the area. We are encouraged by the way people have responded and are looking forward to the increase in not only students but also in lives changed through the witness of our students in the Northeast.
MOVE is an acronym for Mentored Online Virtual Education. MOVE groups are small collections of online-only Mid-America students who meet in person with a mentor to discuss their courses and share their witnessing opportunities. These bimonthly meetings allow the mentor to assist students to contextualize their learning into effective ministry in their local area. MOVE groups are currently concentrated in the Northeast but are not limited to that area. We have MOVE groups in Ohio, Georgia, and as far away as Kenya! God is at work around the world giving us the wonderful opportunity to train those He calls for effective service.
ARKANSAS PRISON INITIATIVE (API)
The work happening in the Varner Supermax unit in southern Arkansas is exciting. In late April, Mid-America attended a meeting with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, members of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, representatives from the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and many other interested parties to discuss the initiative and its support. We can clearly see God is working there. The inmates trained in our four-year Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies degree will, after graduation, become ministers throughout the prison system and bring hope where so few can go. They will take Jesus into the darkest of places seeking the lost sheep. Our God rescues, gives second chances, and provides purpose even in the midst of a life sentence. Dr. Mark Thompson, our API Director, will work with the inmates in person to provide the support and mentoring each will need to be successful.