FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Prestonwood Baptist Church of Plano, Texas, is taking steps this summer to strengthen its ties with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

According to Deron Biles, dean of extension education at the seminary, Southwestern president Paige Patterson and Prestonwood’s pastor, Jack Graham, along with other leaders from both the seminary and the church, recently gathered to discuss improvements to the seminary extension program at Prestonwood. Southwestern Seminary’s extension center at Prestonwood was established in 2003.

“Southwestern is excited about the possibilities of our continued relationship with Prestonwood Baptist Church in extension education,” Biles said. “The staff (at Prestonwood) have consistently demonstrated support for Southwestern and a desire to make quality theological training available for their staff, interns and lay people, as well as men and women from churches in the surrounding region.

“The church has exemplified their support for Southwestern’s extension center by making available office space for Southwestern staff and faculty serving the extension.  Added to the already excellent advantages the church offers of location, facilities and staff support, Southwestern’s extension center at Prestonwood is poised for its best days ahead.”

Prestonwood has provided the seminary with a wing of four classrooms, located above the bookstore where students can buy their texts for class. Students have access to wireless Internet, Prestonwood’s MainStreet Café and the church library. They can also exercise at the church’s gym, paying the same low rate that students at the Fort Worth campus pay to use the seminary’s Recreation and Aerobics Center.

Over the past several years, Prestonwood has encouraged its interns to gain a theological education through the extension center. Biles said that he, along with other seminary officials, recently met with the current interns to learn how the seminary can better serve them.

Both Biles and Mike Buster, executive pastor at Prestonwood, said the seminary and Prestonwood are taking steps to offer a wider variety of classes, and they are looking for new strategies to promote theological education in the Plano area.
“We have appreciated the relationship with Southwestern for several years, and we are looking forward to the closer relationship that is developing,” Buster said.

“The extension center provides those pastors and ministers who live closer to the Dallas-side of the Metroplex a more convenient alternative.  As gas prices continue to soar and time being of the essence for many people, especially pastors, having the opportunity to cut an hour out of the commute time will be a blessing.”

To learn more about Southwestern’s extension center at Prestonwood Baptist Church, visit the seminary’s Web site at