A plan to launch a new off-campus degree program in partnership with New Life Church of Conway was among a series of major actions during Ouachita Baptist University’s recent Board of Trustees meeting on the Ouachita campus.
The board action authorizes Ouachita administrators to “establish a partnership with New Life Church to offer courses leading to the Associate of Arts degree at NLC’s Conway, Ark., campus beginning in August 2014, pending approval by appropriate accrediting bodies.”
“I am pleased that New Life Church has invited us to provide a Ouachita education for students who may desire to begin their college work near home,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne. “This is a new opportunity for Ouachita. Our board has voted to proceed contingent upon approval from our accrediting agency. Ouachita will fully direct the program with our people, curriculum and textbooks.”
Rick Bezet, lead pastor of New Life Church, noted, “This sort of partnership has been part of the New Life vision for years. It means that New Life can equip a generation of leaders to serve in the local church. We can’t do that the way we want to without the excellent education Ouachita offers.”
The resolution adopted by university trustees affirms that Ouachita and New Life “share a vision for equipping the next generation of Christian leaders with a quality education and passion for Christ’s work in the world.”
The resolution further states that “the proposed degree programs will provide a high-quality, relational and ministry-focused Christian education that is both nonresidential and highly affordable as an alternative for students” who might otherwise pursue other educational options.
“Students will receive a world-class Christian education while serving and growing in a life-giving local church,” said Dr. Brandon O’Brien, New Life Church spokesman. “This is an incredible opportunity for students to discern their calling while pursuing their education.”
O’Brien, who is directing plans for the partnership on behalf of New Life Church, is a 2004 Ouachita graduate. He announced the OBU at New Life Church partnership during weekend worship services Dec. 14-15.
“This partnership will offer a unique program blending a foundational liberal arts education with opportunities for hands-on ministry and spiritual formation integrated into the life of a dynamic local church,” said Dr. Stan Poole, Ouachita’s vice president for academic affairs. “We’re excited about the potential for such a program not only to prepare young people for additional educational opportunities but also to mentor them to become faithful Christian leaders wherever they eventually live and serve.”
Poole added that university officials “see this program as a creative response to the changing dynamics of both higher education and church life.”
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications