WEYMOUTH, Mass. (BP) – Noah and Tarin Madden were newlyweds when they sought a seminary that would prepare them to spread the Gospel in the church and in the community.
“We wanted to serve and to grow and to learn in a place where there was a need for the Gospel, where we could learn things about ministry and be challenged and encouraged,” Noah told Baptist Press, “and at the same time, be able to put those things into practice. And not only learn in the classroom, but learn in the church and in the city.”
They found their place at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
As 2019 Master level graduates, Noah is equipped for his current mission as a Weymouth, Mass., North American Mission Board Send Network church planter, and Tarin is able to practice from a Christian worldview as a state-licensed counselor.
Noah wouldn’t have been able to afford seminary training without the church-generated financial support of the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program, he said. Coupled with academic scholarships, the CP allowed Noah to graduate debt free.
“Honestly, I haven’t lived much of my life not impacted by the Cooperative Program,” Noah said. His parents served 15 years as NAMB church planters In Canada. Noah planted the third campus of the Life Community Church network in New England, launching the Weymouth church this past Easter and joining a network of two other Life Community churches led by NAMB church planters in Quincy and Braintree, Mass.
Noah views his seminary training as a ready toolbelt of abilities, and appreciates the network of more than 50,000 Southern Baptist churches and missions that work together to spread the Gospel globally.
“I would say it allowed me to lead from a place of some wisdom and experience that I didn’t have from my own personal ministry practice,” he said. “It gave me tools that would have taken me years to cultivate and develop on my own.
“But even beyond the theological side of things, it really helped me to take ownership of my own calling and to recognize that it’s more than information and it’s more than a title or a role. My time in seminary helped me realize what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus who leads and who loves the church and who’s on mission.”
David S. Dockery, interim president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, describes theological education as “a key rationale for the establishment of the CP.”
The Cooperative Program greatly funds the work of the six Southern Baptist seminaries in the U.S. that together train thousands of pastors, missionaries and other ministers annually.