Zion Bible Institute trains Christian servant leaders at Jacob Grove

Zion Bible Institute trains Christian servant leaders at Jacob Grove

Nov. 26, 2012
For Immediate Release


Zion Bible Institute students attend Campbellsville University’s fully accredited Certificate in Ministry course held at Jacob Grove Baptist Church in Summersville, Ky. to further their education in Christian theology. In the Nov. 20, 2012 classroom were, from left: student Gayla Rogers, Buffalo, Ky.; Pamela Young Buford, the Rev. James Washington, the Rev. Michael Caldwell, all from Campbellsville, Ky.; the Rev. Barry E. Fields, Hawesville, Ky.; CU student Kristina Critcher, Boone, N.C.; the Rev. James I. Buford, Campbellsville, Ky.; and Jacob Grove leader and Zion Bible Institute crusader Jerry Cowherd, Greensburg, Ky. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)

By Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Zion Bible Institute students come from all walks but they come with one mission – to further their education in the way of strengthening their skills as Christian servant leaders. Each Tuesday night of this year the Rev. Barry E. Fields has taught the fully accredited Certificate in Ministry course for Campbellsville University at Jacob Grove Baptist Church in the village of Summersville just north of Greensburg, Ky.

The location was chosen in the early 1990s when leaders of the African-American Zion District Association of Baptists petitioned Simmons College of Kentucky for an extension in this region so that pastors who could not get to the Louisville campus could still further their education. Then in 2006 Campbellsville University and Simmons College of Kentucky entered into an historic covenant partnership for purposes of working together for the advancement of all cultures in the Baptist tradition.

Since that time CU has been providing teachers like Fields who said when Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the CU School of Theology, recruited him, “I knew it would be enjoyable but I had no idea how edifying it would be. I’ve learned so much from this group.” For the past five years he has pastored Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Buffalo, Ky., but has just been called to the Hawesville, Ky. Baptist Church near Owensboro. He directed students who attended the pre-Thanksgiving class to begin with what he called, “the perfect Thanksgiving message -- Psalm 103 -- bless The Lord, O my soul. Father you've told us if we do not pray in your name the rocks will cry out. May anything we do, anything we say, be by your spirit and may you receive honor, glory and praise.”

“One of the leaders helping build bridges between the church groups and the educational institutions,” said the Rev. John Chowning, CU vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, “is the Rev. Michael Caldwell, pastor of Pleasant Union Baptist Church and director of the Zion Bible Institute which oversees the program at Jacob Grove, and also a student. This partnership has been very good for all parties.” He introduced Caldwell at an awards ceremony where he was to receive the 2010 Racial Reconciliation award as one who “brings people together across those boundaries which have divided us in the past.” Caldwell said he’d had a lot of experience in church leadership as a deacon during his career with the UK Extension service before retirement and then he was called to the ministry in 2001. He has been part of the Zion Baptist Institute since 2004.

The Rev. James Washington, pastor of New Zion Baptist Church in Adair County, has been involved with the Zion Bible Institute for over a decade working to help see that every minister in The Zion District Association has a chance at an education. He is a student in the class.

The Rev. James I. Buford and his wife, Pamela Young Buford, of Fannie Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Campbellsville, have been sharing the class and say that it has been a blessing to both of them. The two are Methodists in a Baptist world and they participate with good humor in the give and take teasing of who will recruit whom first. Mrs. Buford, preparing to become an ordained minister in the CME Church, said the courses at Jacob Grove are very helpful in her continuing lifetime walk with The Lord.

Jacob Grove member and Sunday School Superintendent, Jerry Cowherd, said he had been a crusader for the Zion Baptist Institute since the beginning when it met in the basement of the original building where there was so little light you could barely read. Now he proudly points to the large, bright fellowship hall where the classes meet. He and his wife Mary share the experience of the classes. He is a retired teacher, coach and member of the Greensburg City Council. He said they are all about education, history, and that the courses have been enjoyable.

Zion Baptist Institute student Kristina Critcher, senior at Campbellsville University from Boone, N.C., is a psychology major with a minor in Christian missions. She said she would be able to graduate on time thanks to coming to the Jacob Grove class that she couldn’t work in to her schedule on the main campus. She said, “It has been a cool experience and a huge blessing to me to be able to come here.”

Student Gayla Rogers, retired teacher, is a member of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church where she said she “learned a lot from Bro. Barry and when he began teaching last January and I wanted to attend. He has been a real blessing to me.”

The Certificate in Christian Studies is a 27-credit-hour, nine course program of study intended to help students better themselves in the areas of biblical knowledge, ministry preparation, and Christian theology. Courses include: Introduction to Old Testament Study, Introduction to New Testament Study, Pastoral Ministries, Ministry of Proclamation, Christian Evangelism, Christian Theology, Growing a Healthy Church, Church History, Pastoral Letters, Pastoral Ministry. The program can be completed in one year fully online or in classroom settings like the ones at Jacob Grove.

For more information about opportunities to study in class and online, contact the School of Theology at (270) 789-5077 or visit the website: www.campbellsville.edu/school-of-theology.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

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