Introduction to the School of Divinity
On October 22, 1992, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the establishment of the Gardner-Webb University Divinity School, believing that such an action was an appropriate response for Gardner-Webb University given the needs of the denomination, the changes in theological education, the heritage of the University, and the strength of the University’s support. On October 23, 1998, the University’s Board of Trustees named the School the M. Christopher White School of Divinity in honor of the University’s president.
The School of Divinity, one of five schools offering graduate degrees within the academic program of Gardner-Webb University, has close ties to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.
The School of Divinity as an academic unit of Gardner-Webb University is Baptist in origin and commitment, ecumenical in outlook, and has as its mission the preparation of persons for Christian ministries. To achieve this end, the School of Divinity offers courses of study in which, under the leadership of dedicated and competent teachers, students engage in the study of and reflection upon the data, meaning, and implications of the Christian faith, beginning at its biblical base; enter into thoughtful and critical assessments of church history and theology; become involved in the process of spiritual formation personally, socially, and vocationally; and participate in the study and practice of various expressions of Christian mission and ministry.
The M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University is founded upon the affirmation of ultimate commitment and loyalty to the God disclosed most fully and completely in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The School of Divinity stands in the mainstream of the Baptist tradition within Christian heritage. The hallmark of Baptist faith commitment is the centrality and authority of the Bible in matters of faith.
The faculty of the M. Christopher White School of Divinity affirms the centrality of the Bible to the mission of the School by the symbolic placement of a commemorative copy of the sacred Scriptures in the School with the names of all faculty inscribed therein. In so doing, the faculty bears witness to their commitment that the Scriptures constitute the final authority in matters of faith.
The School of Divinity is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association of Theological Schools (The Association of Theological Schools, 10 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1110, 412-788-6505). The following degree programs are approved by the Commission on Accrediting: Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry.
Statement of Educational Effectiveness
Evidence that School of Divinity students are prepared for "service to the church" and that they have developed "the skills necessary for effective ministry" (see "Master of Divinity, Program Description," paragraphs 1 and 2, below) is the ministerial placement rate of our graduates. Over the past five years 159 students have graduated, with 137 of them seeking a ministry position. Of these 137 graduates seeking a ministry position, 131 (96%)are serving in a ministry setting.
PITTMAN CENTER FOR CONGREGATIONAL ENRICHMENT
In 1999 the University launched the Center for Congregational Enrichment as an auxiliary of the School of Divinity. In the fall of 2004, the Center was renamed the James and Gaynell Pittman Center for Congregational Enrichment. The Pittman Center’s purpose is to address the need for competent leadership in the local church by providing quality religious educational opportunities for laity and continuing education for clergy who are not enrolled as degree-seeking students in the School of Divinity. The Pittman Center offers classes, seminars, and conferences on the Gardner-Webb University campus and at various off-campus sites.
The C.O. and Eliza Greene Endowed Lectureship was established in 1993 in honor of the Reverend and Mrs. C.O. Greene of Lawndale, North Carolina. The Reverend Greene served for approximately fourteen years as Director of Missions for the Kings Mountain Baptist Association. Prior to that ministry, he served as pastor of four churches in Cleveland County and of two other churches in North Carolina. The lectureship, administered by the School’s Center for Congregational Enrichment and funded by family members, friends, and members of churches where the Reverend Greene served as pastor, was established to preserve the legacy of excellence in pastoral ministry which characterized his ministry. The lectureship addresses various dimensions of pastoral ministry.
This award assists a student presenting a paper at a meeting such as the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, the regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature, or another scholarly guild. It may be presented annually to a student who is recommendedby any faculty member of the School of Divinity and approved by the full faculty.
CHAPEL AND FORMATIONS
Chapel is provided by faculty, students, and staff working together to plan regular worship experiences. Formations is a small group experience led by a faculty member within the context of spiritual formation (DSSF) classes. As the name Formations suggests, relevant issues of ministerial formation are addressed.
Believing that travel and study in the lands of Israel, Greece and Turkey greatly enhance the study and future ministry of School of Divinity students, the University provides substantial financial support for qualified students to participate. For details contact the Dean of the School of Divinity.
A goal of the School of Divinity is to assist each student with an opportunity to participate in an international mission/study experience under the leadership of qualified supervisors. In order to facilitate these experiences the School of Divinity is establishing formal relationships with Baptist seminaries around the world.
THE SCHOOL OF DIVINITY SETTING
Students in the School of Divinity will find that the University setting affords them many advantages such as NCAA Division I athletic events, concerts and dramatic productions. In addition, the University sponsors the Concert of Prayer and the Staley Lecture Series.
Recreational facilities including the Suttle Wellness Center, weight room, indoor and outdoor jogging tracks, basketball courts, tennis courts, racquetball courts, and swimming pool are open to all School of Divinity students. Admission to University athletic and cultural events is provided through student identification cards.
All students who are enrolled in graduate studies in the School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University are members of the Student Association. The mission of the Student Association is to work in cooperation with the faculty and administration of the School of Divinity of Gardner-Webb University to develop and promote excellence in ministry education, innovation, and pace setting leadership in the Christian community in which all these students serve.