William Carey University Equips the Next Generation of Ministers and Missionaries
Dr. Brett Golson, Chair of William Carey University’s Christian Ministries, has a big picture grasp of what the Great Commission looks like amid the complexities of today’s world. He is a former Marine who holds bachelors’ degrees in history, political science, and religion. Dr. Golson graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) with two master’s degrees—Master of Divinity and Master of Theology—and a Ph.D. in Preaching.
He has extensive experience in conducting leadership conferences and leading missions in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in five foreign countries. He enthusiastically shares a little information with us this month about the unusual approach WCU has adopted as they adapt to global challenges without compromising the truth of the Good News.
MCL: The entire Christian Ministries Department Curriculum offerings seem to be such a fresh and integrated concept preparing students for work either at home or abroad. Can you share a little about the thought process behind the concept?
Dr. Golson: The global demands and challenges have changed drastically in the past 10 years. Yet, our paradigm of mission preparation has not kept up. Typically, missionaries would go to a Baptist school and receive training in biblical studies then to a seminary and receive further training. This is still a great way to prepare; however, it has created somewhat of a void in ministry.
Many of our missionaries need to be able to offer professional services. Many countries will not allow them to stay for any length of time unless they are working in the private sector. Additionally, missionaries should have the skill to provide education, medical, and economic services to those who are in need. This new approach prepares our students professionally while also preparing them theologically. It is my desire that our students be equipped to go anywhere in the world to minister. For that to happen they must be able to make a living using their professional degree and be equipped for ministry as well.
MCL: It appears that your graduates in these various degree programs have an array of options open to them. If I am reading this correctly, a person who earns the Intercultural Studies Degree will have a second major in another discipline such as business, education, or a health-related field. Explain the advantages.
Dr. Golson: I have students double majoring in business, education, English, medical, dental, physical therapy, criminal justice, etc. Many of my students will work in the private sector teaching school, running a business, teaching English, working in a hospital—all while also serving as a missionary. The advantages are twofold. First, with a professional degree they can go anywhere in the world, provide for a real need, and share their faith. Second, if they have to return from overseas, they will have a professional degree enabling them to make a living. Many of my students will go to the poorest places on the globe. By providing education, and medical and economic aid, they not only aid the people in their plight but they get to provide it while sharing the Gospel of Jesus.
MCL: Tell us a little about the unique internships for students in these programs.
Dr. Golson: In the next year, WCU will send out 70 students to complete internships all over the world. Our students have served or will be serving in Uganda, Chile, Cambodia, China, Burma, Japan, Guam, Australia, and the Middle East (Ammon, Jordan). We also have students who have served as far west as Wyoming and as close as Hattiesburg, MS. The internship is 10 weeks long but most of my students choose to extend their internship to a year. This is the case for five students heading to the Middle East. They will be learning Arabic while working with the refugees near the border of Syria. God has placed a passionate call on these students’ lives. They are willing to go anywhere!
MCL: Tell us a little about the growth of the Christian Ministries Department over the past few years.
Dr. Golson: The Department is only two years old. We have grown from 3 students to 94 majors. Many pastors have begun to refer students to us. In the past, students would typically only major in one field of study. Now students can major in Cross-Cultural Business Management, which is a Bachelor of Science in Business conferred by the School of Business. This degree is so attractive to students who want to earn a business degree and work in missions. Also, students are prepared to work on an MBA if they choose to continue their education. However, many of my students major in Intercultural Studies and double major in English, Education, Pre-Med, or Criminal Justice. The Intercultural Studies major is flexible so that students can pursue a professional degree as well as a ministry degree. For those who want to train to be pastors or youth ministers, they would major in Christian Ministries.
MCL: What steps should a potential student take to find out more about the programs available through the Christian Ministries Department?
Dr. Golson: Go online to www.wmcarey.edu/departments/christian-ministries and feel free to contact me personally at email@example.com. By the way, there are some incredible scholarships available for students for those who wish to major in Christian ministries or double major in a professional field and ICS.