by Nathan Welsh
edited by TMU staff

CLEVELAND, GA., – Truett McConnell has undergone some remarkable growth over the past few years. Two exciting events of 2016 include the first master’s degree graduate and becoming Truett McConnell University. TMU is pleased to announce the establishment of an Alpharetta extension center for its master’s program.

Choosing the perfect location
This satellite campus, where one can earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Theology, is located at the First Baptist Church of Alpharetta. Weekly, TMU professors commute to FBC Alpharetta to teach the required courses.

TMU administration decided that Alpharetta was a good halfway point between the mountainous region of Cleveland and the urban sprawl of metro Atlanta. Location proved to be a contributing factor for some students, such as John Pearson, an Alpharetta student who was pleased when TMU offered classes within his reasonable driving distance.

According to Dr. Michael Whitlock, Degree Program Coordinator for the Master of Arts in Theology program (a program designed to combine the practical aspects of ministry with the academy) and Associate Professor of Christian Studies, “We want to be able to open our vision up to the churches that are logistically farther away. We want to extend our service to the churches to benefit ministers and laypeople who might not be able to travel to Cleveland.”

“We see both laypeople and ministers in Alpharetta,” he continued. “As an institution, we’re committed to serve Baptist churches, so by training both ministers and laypeople, we are achieving our goal to help churches.”

Course consistency
Another goal is to offer consistency between the Cleveland campus and Alpharetta site, so currently all the professors who teach the master’s courses in Cleveland are the same ones teaching the courses in Alpharetta.

“There are no differences in the program itself,” revealed Whitlock. “Not all the courses have been taught there yet, but the Alpharetta site was started one year after the Master’s program began. The goal is to teach all the courses offered.”

It is not just the courses themselves that appeal to students, but the interaction with professors and fellow students as well. “The program is about the workload I expected,” said student John Pearson. “I took a light load on purpose as it was the classroom and professor learning experience I desired more than the degree.”

“The students are engaged and have a real desire to learn,” added Whitlock. “They seem grateful to pursue the degree at the extension center. It was a natural development for us to offer our ministerial training degree to the churches.”

Pearson agreed, adding, “Because of my belief in the goals of the university and their dedication to pure Christianity and a Christian worldview, the opportunity to study the topics offered and under the professors that are teaching made the choice for me.”

Providing more opportunities
TMU is grateful for the generous partnership with First Baptist of Alpharetta. The site is proving itself to be a safe haven of Christian teaching.

“Having a partnership with Truett McConnell University not only excites me but also excites Alpharetta First Baptist Church because we are like-minded in our passion to reach the world with the gospel,” said Senior Pastor Thomas Hammond.

“Many people are called out of secular careers into full time ministry later in life,” Hammond continued. “Because of family and financial obligations, moving to another state in order to obtain a theological education can be extremely difficult. Therefore, having an educational center in North Atlanta for future ministers is imperative.”

With the addition of this instructional site, TMU faculty who teach at the Alpharetta site are truly achieving their goal of training believers to serve their churches and reach the world with the message of Christ.

To learn more about the graduate degree programs at TMU or the Alpharetta instructional site, visit truett.edu or contact Jim Dunnington with Graduate Admissions at graduateadmissions@truett.edu or 706-865-2134, ext. 2131.

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Nathan Welsh is an alumni of Truett McConnell University and a freelance writer for TMU.