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Baptist College to Open
in New England


BY ERIN ROACH                                                                                                       ©2012 Baptist Press

A college with strong Southern Baptist ties is preparing to open in Vermont, the least-churched state in the nation, with a goal of training church planters for service in New England.

Northeastern Baptist College, with classes set to start in August 2013 in Bennington, Vermont, will require all faculty and students to sign and uphold the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 [document], Southern Baptists' statement of faith.

The school recently formalized a partnership with the Green Mountain Baptist Association in Vermont and is cooperating with the Baptist Convention of New England.

Mark Ballard, Northeastern's president, told Baptist Press the school will help address a main problem in the task of reaching New England for Christ. When God calls residents of New England to the Gospel ministry, he said, they often travel south for college and seminary, intending to return home for service. Instead, many settle in the South, and few go back to New England as pastors and church planters, Ballard said.

Traditionally, Baptist colleges have been funded by Baptist state conventions. The Baptist Convention of New England, though, has a little more than 300 churches for all six New England states, and about two-thirds of its budget comes from outside New England through the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources, Ballard said.

"We're kind of in this catch-22. Everybody knows we need a Baptist college here so we can train students and keep them here, but the problem is our convention is not strong enough to support a college like that," Ballard, a longtime New England church planter, said. "In order for us to get strong enough to support a college like that, we've got to have workers here."
 
The circular problem is part of what God used to convince Ballard that he needed to help start an accredited four-year school.

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