FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Southwestern granted 11 women the Certificate in Education and Ministry and one woman the Leadership Certificate in Women’s Ministry during chapel, April 19. One student at the seminary’s Houston campus also earned a Leadership Certificate in Women’s Ministry, which she received April 24.
Each woman completed 12-13 credit hours in courses designed to strengthen leadership, teaching, child-rearing and biblical understanding in the context of women’s ministry in the local church and ministry in the home. Dean of Women’s Programs Terri Stovall said the certificate programs fit a need for women who want to further their education to be more useful in ministry but whose responsibilities in the home or the local church preclude them from going to seminary full time.
“Because women are focused on the home and the need to take care of their families, they can’t always come to seminary full time, but they are stepping up to the plate in ministry in the church, and so they're looking for training and equipping that takes them to the next level,” Stovall said. “So this is a way to equip them for very focused ministries while we have them here.”
During the graduation ceremony, President Paige Patterson noted the invaluable asset the women will bring to their churches and to their ministry with their husbands by having studied for and earned their certificates.
“Thank you, ladies, for working on this. It will make all the difference in the world,” said Patterson, whose own wife, Dorothy, has not only served faithfully with him in ministry but also developed graduate and doctoral degrees for women at Southwestern.
The Leadership Certificate in Women’s Ministry, begun by Stovall in 2002, equips women—many of whom already serve in the church—with leadership skills and teaches them practical skills for directing women’s programming in the local church. The Certificate in Education and Ministry, begun in 1995 by then first lady Paula Hemphill and commonly referred to as Seminary Studies for Student Wives, offers the wives of men studying for ministry at Southwestern the chance to equip for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead when they leave Southwestern to follow the Lord’s call. Stovall encourages these women to take advantage of the certificate program so they can better prepare to serve beside their husbands as the Lord directs.
“The reality is whenever you're in ministry full time, you're in ministry together, and there will be some expectations upon you as a spouse in ministry, so you want to be prepared not only to be the best partner in ministry with your husband but also to develop your own ministry along the way,” Stovall said. “You've got to have some tools in your tool box to be able to do that and do it well.”
For more information on these programs, visit