Southwestern Seminary began its ministry of extension education with a commitment to take “the seminary to the minister [rather than] making the minister come to the seminary.” Southwestern’s extension campus ministry serves to extend the seminary’s mission by providing excellence in theological education in locations outside the main campus that are conducive for learning. In these locations, students can pursue their academic goals while maintaining their current ministry positions.
The purpose of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension campus ministry is to extend the mission of Southwestern by providing excellence in theological education in locations outside the main campus that are conducive for learning and where students can pursue their academic goals while maintaining their current ministry positions.
Office of Extension Education
Dean, Dr. Tim Deahl
Extension Center History
Southwestern Seminary began its ministry of extension education with a commitment to take “the seminary to the minister [rather than] making the minister come to the seminary.” The very first extension campus was established in the fall of 1975 on the campus of Houston Baptist University (HBU). President Naylor explained that the purpose was “to provide graduate theological education in a major metropolitan area which is not presently served by a local established theological seminary.” At the time, Houston was the largest metropolitan area in America without an institution for accredited, evangelical theological education.
The extension program in Houston began as a joint project between Southwestern Seminary, seven local associations in the Houston area, and HBU. Originally, the campus known as Southwestern Seminary in Southeast Texas met on the campus of Houston Baptist University. In 2002, the campus moved to its current location, Park Place Baptist Church, and became known as the J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies.
The second extension campus to be opened by Southwestern Seminary was located in Shawnee, OK and opened in the fall of 1976. This campus known as Southwestern Seminary in Oklahoma began as a joint project between SWBTS, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Baptist University. Classes meet on the campus of OBU.
Southwestern opened its third extension campus in San Antonio in the fall of 1977. This campus which was originally known as Southwestern Seminary in Southwest Texas began with a formal request from nine local associations around the city with classes being held at the Mexican Baptist Bible Institute. Today, the campus is named the William R. Marshall Center for Theological Studies and meets at Castle Hill Baptist Church.
Since that time, Southwestern has held classes in Lubbock, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Marshall, Dallas, Plano, College Station, Tyler, El Paso, and Bonn, Germany. With continued requests and changing needs, new campus sites are scheduled to be opened in the coming semesters.