By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University and the Zion District Association of Baptists, and its Bible Institute, signed an agreement recently to grant academic credit for courses taught at the Bible Institute.
The Institute is located at Jacob Grove Baptist Church in Summersville, Ky. The agreement begins with the 2008-09 academic year, according to the Rev. John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.
In the agreement, the Rev. David Sandifer, coordinator of The Center for Bivocational Christian Ministry at CU, will teach one three-hour course per semester. Other CU faculty may also teach courses.
CU is offering the 27-hour certificate in Christian ministry which is a series of nine three-hour courses. If a student takes the 27 hours for full college and academic credit, these hours may also be subsequently applied toward an associate or baccalaureate degree on the main CU campus.
Students pursuing the Certificate in Christian Ministry at CU will have their application for admission fee waived by CU.
Students may also take the class for continuing education unit (CEU) credit or a student may choose to audit the course and receive no formal credit.
Sandifer said, “In the eight plus years I’ve been teaching, this is the most fulfilling and exciting class I’ve taught. The students are eager to learn and have a commitment to learn. This is a win-win situation for all concerned.”
Dr. Walter Johnson, moderator emeritus of the Zion District, said it is “quite a progressive more on the part of the university to want to partner with the district.”
“I applaud the university’s efforts,” he said. Johnson said the program receives more credibility being associated with Campbellsville University.
“I think it’s a fantastic thing that the university reached out to us in this way,” Johnson, who is serving as interim pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Adair County, said.
Johnson, who served as pastor of Jacob Grove Baptist Church 25 years, was in New York when the agreement was signed. He has also served several terms as second vice moderator of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky.
The Rev. John Glover, moderator of Zion District Baptist Association and pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Hart County, said that there are a lot of people in the rural areas who can take advantage of this new program.
“God is an international God,” he said. “It is great that Campbellsville University is reaching out to everyone.”
U.J. Wood, director of the Zion District Bible Institute and member of Second Baptist Church of Greensburg, said the new partnership is such as asset as students will get academic credit. “I’m really, really excited about this venture,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity for us to take up the cross and learn more of Jesus. I feel so grateful for CU to reach her arms to the community. It’s comforting to know, like David, that lives are being dedicated to teach,” he said.
The Rev. Michael Caldwell, moderator of the Messengers and Ministers auxiliary of the Zion District Baptist Association and pastor of Pleasant Union Baptist Church in Taylor County, called the partnership a “historic event.”
“I challenge churches and members to follow Christ and receive an education. I thank Campbellsville University and the Zion District to have the foresight and future to think of this partnership.
“God will be uplifted and praised and knowledge will be learned.”
Sandifer said this agreement also brings together different churches and shares ministers.
The Rev. William Curle, second vice moderator of Zion District Baptist Association and pastor of Freedom’s Way Church in Cecilia, Ky., and his wife, Eunice, said the partnership is a “prayer answered.”
Curle said God will show you He’s alive, and the partnership links the district and CU to “someone greater.”
“We are an international university, and we have an international God,” he said, “who has world-wide glory.”
Glover said he thanks God for the Rev. John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president at CU. Chowning is also pastor of Saloma Baptist Church, and his church is a member of the Zion District.
“The Rev. Chowning has a love for people and is a dynamic person in the Lord,” Glover said.
Chowning said, in his 15 years of work with churches, one of the greatest adventure and joys in his life has been working across racial and ethnic lines.”
“It is a humbling experience,” he said, “and I take my work seriously. The Christ-centeredness we experience has never been stronger.”
“We are all called to do what we can, and this partnership is a part of what CU can do,” he said.
The Zion District Association and Bible Institute will determine who serves as staff for the institute and pay salaries of the staff. Class instructors must meet required academic standards and must be approved by the Campbellsville University Dean of the School of Theology and the CU Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, said the courses can also be taken for non-credit. “Everyone is welcome,” he said.
CU will provide a special recognition ceremony on the main campus for those students who complete the Certificate in Christian Ministry.
The courses delivered at the Jacob Grove site must meet requirements as described in Campbellsville University’s online academic catalog found at www.campbellsville.edu.
As part of the agreement, academic credit may be given for those prior courses taught by Sandifer. This will be done on a student-by-student basis and will involve a process of individual student testing under the supervision of Sandifer and the CU theology school dean.
Chowning said the Zion District Association of Baptists, and its Bible Institute, and Campbellsville University have enjoyed a close working relationship over the past couple of years.
He said Sandifer, assisted by the Rev. Rusty Watkins, has taught a series of courses with continuing education unit (CEU) credit provided the students enrolled.
“The Bible Institute, under the leadership of Bro. U.J. Wood, has provided excellent oversight to the program,” he said.
For more information about the program, contact the School of Theology at (270) 789-5029.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.