By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Education | Issue: June 2008
Dr. Ralph Speas, president of Meridian University of Biblical Training, offers a convenient, low-cost way for church leaders to complete their degrees in Christian education.
If you’re looking for higher education in church ministry, a convenient, cost-effective solution is available. Whether you are a minister, private school teacher, church leader, Bible teacher, church staff member, Christian educator or layperson, Meridian University of Biblical Training (MUBT) can give you the Christian education you’re looking for to help prepare you for ministry.
Since 2006, MUBT has made its headquarters at First Baptist Church of Sapulpa, 200 S. Elm St. The invitation was extended by Doyle Pryor, pastor of the church and former chairman of the Board of Directors of Oklahoma Baptist University.
According to Dr. Ralph Speas, MUBT president, approximately 50 percent of Oklahoma Baptist pastors do not have a college degree. This statistic was the major concern of the school when it was established in Oklahoma City in 2004. Work and family occupy most pastors’ time and money, often preventing them from furthering their education. In order to obtain quality ministerial training, they were forced to travel great distances at a great financial burden. Considering the cost of gasoline today, the situation is even worse.
The newly founded school addressed the problem by offering classes within the sponsoring churches. There are currently six courses offered in four satellite sites. Each course meets one evening a week for three hours. More courses are in development throughout the state to minimize commute distance for students. This fall, the courses will be available online.
Some students apply MUBT college-level classes toward a bachelor’s or associate’s degree at Oklahoma Baptist University. They have already received or will receive their basic two-year curriculum from a community college. Other students simply want the training.
Dr. Speas, a 40-year veteran minister, pastor and church administrator, says the beauty of MUBT is how its teachers mentor their students. They make complicated information as simple as possible, and they demonstrate with a variety of how-tos.
“We don’t just want to give them an education alone,” says Dr. Speas. “We want to give them something they can use, so they can teach others what they’ve learned and keep passing the gift along.”
The school is authorized by the Association of Christian Schools International as a continuing education unit provider. MUBT offers one- and two-day intensive seminars as continuing education courses. Many teachers in private religious schools fulfill their credit requirements through the seminars.
Anyone who wants to learn the Bible is also welcome to enroll. Dr. Speas recalls one layperson, a CEO of a large company, who was enrolled in a recent seminar. He changed his flight schedule from an important meeting in Washington, D.C. just to be back in time for the class.
Cost of courses is another benefit at MUBT. Tuition is a small fraction of what you would pay in a private college.
Scholarships for church pastors are available, as well as discounts for members of sponsoring churches.
Classes are diverse and open to all denominations. In fact, one of the primary goals of the school is to provide quality training for pastors of various ethnic and language churches in northeast Oklahoma.
While some people are interested in better serving their local church, others look to serve across the world. MUBT, though new on the map, already has a strong presence in India. Their school in Manipur is training pastors for home cell churches.
Dr. Speas is available anytime to help enroll students, sponsor churches or discuss teaching opportunities with Christian educators. You can reach him at (405) 570-7099 or eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.