Truett-McConnell College, Cleveland, GA, honored beloved Georgia Baptist pastor Rev. Rastus Salter by naming its new Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies degree program for him in a kick-off celebration on April 25 at Second Baptist Church, Warner Robins.
            Held in the church that Rev. Salter pastored for 48 years, the kick-off celebration featured comments by Governor Sonny Perdue, a long-time member of Second Baptist Church. “I don’t think I’d be governor today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to sit under Rastus Salter’s solid ministry. Pastor Salter had a backbone of steel, and he taught me how to stand firm on the Word of God. Week after week, Rev. Salter proclaimed God’s Word,” said Governor Perdue.
            Speaking as a TMC alumnus, Dr. Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, talked about the role the college has played in his life and in the lives of countless other students in its 60-year history.
            Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director of the GBC, spoke about Rev. Salter’s influence: “His godly influence on earth will live on through the lives of the young people who will study for the ministry at Truett-McConnell College.”
            In 2004 Dr. Jerry W. Pounds, Sr., president of Truett-McConnell College met with Rev. Salter and shared his vision for a four-year degree program in Christian studies at TMC based on solid biblical teaching and theology. Rev. Salter was enthusiastic in his support, saying that he had been praying for a long time for such a program in one of the Georgia Baptist colleges. At that time, there was no way of knowing when such a degree program might be approved by the college’s accrediting agency, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
            When the news came that Rastus Salter had passed away on January 7, 2005, Dr. Pounds felt that it would be an appropriate memorial to the life and ministry of Rev. Salter to name the degree program in his memory. When approval from the accrediting agency came in December 2005, the college began to cement plans for the Rastus Salter Christian Studies Program.
            “Through the new bachelor’s degree in Christian studies at Truett-McConnell College, Rastus Salter’s influence is sure to continue its vitality in the future as young people are prepared for the ministry. We wanted to honor a pastor who served his church faithfully for so many years and who mentored so many young men in his church to be preachers,” said Dr. Pounds.
            Truett-McConnell is now accepting applications for the program to begin in the fall semester 2006. The program includes four concentrations of study, from which a student may choose one. A concentration in Biblical and Theological Studies prepares students for further work at a seminary; a Christian Ministry concentration prepares students for the pastoral ministry; the Youth Ministry concentration offers students a study of youth culture and needs; and a Missions concentration equips students for work in a missions environment.
Front row, L-R:  Dr. Frank Cox; Dr. Jerry W. Pounds, Sr.; Mrs. Lena Salter; Governor Sonny Perdue; Dr. J. Robert White
Back Row, L-R:  Rev. Jim Perdue, Rev. Jeremy Morton

            Speaking as a young minister mentored by Rev. Salter in Second Baptist Church, Rev. Jeremy Morton, now pastor of Cross Point Church in Perry, said: “Rastus Salter is one of my heroes. He consistently led his church to do the right thing. He invested his life into making a total Kingdom impact. Brother Rastus has borne fruit that will last.”

            The Rastus Salter Campaign Steering Committee has been named to encourage donations that would endow the program. The committee is led by Honorary Chairman Governor Sonny Perdue and includes Rev. Johnny Ellison, Rev. Tim Millwood, Mr. Jack Nash, Rev. Darrell Quinn, Mr. Charlie Gibbs, Rev. Gary Morton, Rev. Jim Perdue, and Mr. Glen Salter. All gifts to the program may be directed to the Office of Advancement Services, Truett-McConnell College, 100 Alumni Drive, Cleveland, GA 30528.
            Glen Salter, oldest son of Rev. Salter and his wife, Lena, represented the Salter family, saying: “My family is deeply moved by this decision to name the Christian studies program after my father. We pray that this program will prepare men and women of all ages for full-time Christian service.”
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