|School of Ministry conducting classes out of Oconee church|
|Written by Mary Anne Carroll|
|Thursday, 12 July 2012|
The Athens School of Ministry & Worship Arts (ASM&WA) needed a place to meet, so Wilbur sent out messages to area churches, asking if they had room for the newly-formed school’s classes and offices. Almost immediately, a reply came from Watkinsville First United Methodist Church.
The church’s newly-built Grace Hall had plenty of room, and the church was very interested in ASM&WA using the space.
“The pastor told me when the building was built, it was dedicated to the community for the community to use, so this was an answer to their prayers,” said Wilbur, chief education officer at ASM&WA. “I told him, ‘No. This was an answer to our prayers.’”
The school started moving in to Grace Hall at Watkinsville First UMC earlier this month. Fall semester will begin in August, but already lifelong ministry programs are being held.
When ASM&WA gets into full-swing in a few months, Wilbur said the school will offer certificates, along with associate, bachelor and masters degrees in several areas: Christian ministry, generational ministry, field ministry, Christian media, and healing ministry.
The Christian ministry program is aimed towards those who want to be pastors, and will focus on spiritual direction, Biblical teaching, prayer, and church leadership. The generational ministry program will be geared toward ministry to age-specific groups such as children, youth and adults.
Field ministry, Wilbur said, will focus on mission work and urban ministry.
“Anything that takes place outside of the walls of a church falls under field ministry,” she explained.
The Christian media program will be directed towards music, performing arts and production, while the healing ministry – which will be offered as a master’s-degree program only – will center on Christian and pastoral counseling.
All students, regardless of which program they choose, will take a required number of Christian core classes and must engage in a Faith-in-Action apprenticeship.
The classes, Wilbur said, will be offered to those who want a career in ministry as well as those who just want to expand their faith.
“We are not just for those called to be pastors,” she said. “All Christians are called to ministry. We want to engage everyone who wants to walk closer to God.”
For those who want to enrich their spiritual lives without enrolling in a degree program, the option of auditing classes is available.
“The difference is no college credits are earned for audited classes,” Wilbur said. “Folks can audit classes who just want to get to know the Lord better.”
Lifelong ministry programs will also be offered to those who want to participate in short-term courses that are designed to deepen faith. For example, an upcoming lifelong ministry class, entitled Dance of the Sexes, will address single sexuality.
“Our culture tends to get notions about single sexuality from television,” Wilbur said.
“This session will cover what God says on the subject.”
Although now housed at Watkinsville First UMC, Wilbur said ASM&WA is an interdenominational school.
“We meet at a Methodist church, but our school is interdenominational,” she said. “And, our students come from many denominations. In fact, we have a great diversity in our students. They represent all ages, races and denominations.”
The school’s classes, Wilbur said, will all be taught by instructors who have a master’s or PhD in their program of study and who have experience in their field.
“Load or ton, I am not really sure which word to use, but each teacher has loads or tons of experience in the area they teach,” she said.
Since ASM&WA is new, the school is working towards accreditation.
“Our goal is to have all of our accreditation in place by the time we confer our first degrees,” Wilbur said.
The school already has students taking lifelong ministry classes, and will have 20 students when classes begin for fall semester in August. Wilbur said she and the school’s board of trustees believe when those classes start in August, ASM&WA will fill a niche in the community.
“We have k-12 Christian schools in the area, and we have lots of great Christian colleges throughout the Southeast,” she said. “What we lacked was a school of ministry.”
Wilbur also said she saw ASM&WA as more than just a place for believers to earn degrees and strengthen their relationships with Christ. She said she hopes ASM&WA becomes a community asset.
“We are about more than academics,” she said. “The Athens School of Ministry & Worship Arts is a place people can come and get closer to God, and then go back and serve their area churches.”
For more information about the Athens School of Ministry & Worship Arts, visit their website at www.ASMWA.org. The office number for the school is 706-461-3179.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 July 2012 )|
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