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CBC Alumni Story

A Case for Being a Bible Major at Central Baptist College of Conway

Dan Carson

At Encounter ’89, I surrendered my life to what I interpreted as a call to music ministry.  It was really just a first step towards God’s call on my entire life, but it was what I needed to get me to Central Baptist College of Conway.

My Story

You see, I had my own plans.  I was going to be the next great photographer at National Geographic.  Central wasn’t really on my radar at all.  However, that nudge towards CBC made all the difference in my life.  While there, I grew in understanding of God’s Word and sought to listen as God spoke through the Holy Spirit.  Starting my second semester, I began to realize that God didn’t just want what I thought I could give.  He wanted all of me.  So, on the floor of Rob Hager’s dorm room on March 5, 1991 at 1am, I knelt and gave my life completely to God’s calling.  I continued to study music for the next full year but realized that I needed to focus my attention on God’s Word in a greater way than pursuing a double major of Bible and Music was going to allow me to do.  It became clear that I should be a Bible major at CBC.  In May of 1995, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Bible with a Pastoral Studies emphasis.  Now, 27 years later, I can tell you that I don’t regret my decision to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Bible from CBC.  Central was an incredible place for me.  I met and married my wife during that time.  I made lifelong friends.  My five years there shaped me for years to come.

Why do I share my story?

There are those that would have you wait to pursue your theological training until later when you are at seminary.  As the line of thinking goes, you need to get an education in something that will allow you to support yourself because you will never make anything in ministry.  While it is true that very few of us are ever going to get rich preaching the Gospel, God provides for his servants.  While you may want to get some training in something else to give you the freedom to serve in a church that can’t pay as much, we shouldn’t skimp on our theological training.  Let me share a few reasons that I believe that if God has called you, you should give serious thought to be a Bible major at Central.

Local churches need men trained in God’s Word and in critical thinking standing before them each week.

Education at a collegiate level helps expand the possibilities as we consider a variety of thoughts and thinkers.  Specifically, Central offers that while remaining grounded in God’s Word.  Now, more than ever, our churches need men who are grounded in God’s Word and can adequately discuss and even debate the issues of faith and our world.  If God has called you to ministry, you need to do everything that you can to prepare yourself.  Central can be a key part of that preparation.

God needs men & women who are fully committed. I know that there is some fear in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Bible.

I have a BA in Bible from CBC and a Master of Arts in Religion from the BMA Theological Seminary of Jacksonville.  What am I trained for outside of ministry?  Nothing.  I have picked up a few skills along the way, but my formal education has pointed me in one direction.  I am to be a servant in ministry.  Does that mean that I won’t ever get another degree or certification in something else?  No.  But it does mean that as I approached ministry and my education, I was fully committed to one thing, the calling that God had placed on my heart.

Ministers need a network of faithful friends.

I gained a lot as I studied at Central, but one of the most powerful things was the network of friends that I developed. It is said that your lifelong friends are those from college.  Many of the guys and girls that I met while studying Bible at Central are still a part of my life.  Nothing like taking Greek together to bond you through shared suffering (Just kidding, Dr. Slayton).  However, there is something to be said about friendships that are made as you are wrestling through the difficult things of Scripture.

Those considering further education can build a fantastic foundation at Central.

I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pursue seminary when I started college.  However, at the end of my time at Central, I was chomping at the bit to get my master’s degree.  The foundation that I received at CBC carried me through seminary in major ways.  While at seminary, there were guys sitting next to me with Political Science degrees who were just now being exposed to things that I had learned 3-4 years before at CBC.  I walked away from CBC’s Bible program with tools that would serve me well in the years to come as I taught and shared God’s Word.  They were what I needed for seminary and beyond.

As a future pastor, student ministry worker, worship pastor, or family pastor, one of the greatest things that you can do for yourself and your future ministry is be consumed with the Word of God.  Being a Bible major at Central is a great way to deepen your love for God by studying God’s Word in a deeper way.

Written by Dan Carson, CBC Alumnus, Pastor of Family Ministries & BMA Youth Department Director.

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