DBU’s Graduate School of Ministry Establishes Residency Fellowship Program

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Directed by Dr. Shelly Melia, Associate Dean in DBU's Graduate School of Ministry, the new Ministry Fellowship Program offers comprehensive, accredited, and fully transferable graduate classes to participants in church residency programs. Residents who complete the required courses in their area of study earn an Advanced Certificate from DBU. These certifications may be utilized to transfer courses directly toward a master's degree in the student's respective field of ministry.

The Ministry Fellowship Program offers many specializations in ministry through the various Advanced Certificates that are not easily found in other graduate-level ministry training programs. These Advanced Certificates include earning credentials in Children's Ministry Leadership, Christian Counseling, Education Ministry Leadership, Family Ministry Leadership, Global Leadership, Special Needs Children's Ministry, Theological Studies, and Worship Studies. These graduate classes are taught by DBU's esteemed team of professors, allowing students in the Ministry Fellowship Program to receive the same exceptional, Christ-centered education as full-time DBU students.

"The Ministry Fellowship Program was developed out of DBU's desire to be a Kingdom resource to churches who either already have a residency or internship program or are in the process of developing one," says Dr. Melia. "Previous church staffing models relied on ministers attending seminary prior to serving in a local church. However, a growing number of new ministers often serve in a church without any formal theological training. The Ministry Fellowship Program is designed to provide theological education alongside the valuable practical experience a resident is getting while serving inside the local church."

DBU desires to recognize the calling the Lord places on the hearts of students and is passionate about providing accessible and affordable educational opportunities for those training for ministry and currently serving the local church, a desire that was most recently articulated in a motion at the annual meeting of the Texas Baptists. Due to a private donation, DBU can strategically partner with the local church to provide an Advanced Certificate in ministry to the church's resident or intern at no tuition cost to the student.

"This partnership has been a great blessing at just the right time as we are building a younger team with very gifted residents and ministers," says Discipleship Pastor of Northwood Church, Isai Cazares. Northwood Church is a BGCT-affiliated church that partners with DBU's Ministry Fellowship Program. "This program has facilitated our intentional development of these young leaders but also has elevated their sense of the experience of being on the Northwood team. It communicates clearly to our students that we care about them and their ongoing professional development."

Pastor Cazares further states that becoming a partner of the program "was a no-brainer opportunity for us, especially when we learned how easy the process to get started and onboard a new student was. We were motivated by this partnership because we knew the quality education students at DBU receive. Because of the list of learning focuses, the Ministry Fellowship Program is able to aid in providing the specialized learning and tools needed to further equip our interns, residents, and young staff. It allows us as a ministry staff to focus more on providing the opportunities and environment for them to gain hands-on ministry experience and ensure they are healthy disciples."

"The opportunity to partner with churches across the state is both exciting and a hallmark of our Graduate School of Ministry programs," explains Dr. Dan Gibson, DBU Vice President for Graduate Affairs. "The Ministry Fellowship Program equips ministers in their respective fields of calling while also being a kingdom resource to their church and congregations. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our partners to make this endeavor a reality."

With the help of more than 25 faithful church partners, DBU desires to support and aid the next generation of ministry leaders as they prepare for their calling. DBU remains expectant for all that the Lord will do in and through the new Ministry Fellowship Program. For more information about becoming a church partner or a student of the Ministry Fellowship Program, please visit the Ministry Fellowship Program website.

Church Partnerships
Rush Creek Church
First Baptist Church Kaufman
Duncanville's First Baptist Church
Northwood Church
The Heights
El Buen Pastor
Community Life
Northwest Bible Church
Champion Forest Baptist Church
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Cross Creek Church
First Baptist Church Cleburne
First Baptist Church Burleson
Iola Missionary Baptist Church
King's Covenant Church
Longbranch Community Baptist Church
Oak View Baptist Church
Igreja Batista Brasileira Central
Fielder Church
PIB Florida
First McKinney Baptist Church
Stonegate Church
The Avenue Church
Valley Ranch Baptist Church

Written by Dallas Baptist University