Posted by William Nunnelley on 2008-03-26

Samford University is offering a new Preministerial Scholars program aimed at students who demonstrate a clear calling to full-time ministry in traditional, church-related positions. The merit-based scholarships are worth about $11,000 per year initially, but can increase to $16,000 if students meet certain academic criteria.

The Baptist university recently admitted 16 high school seniors to the program for the fall semester. This group will represent the first freshmen to be awarded the scholarships, which are available to students who are Baptist or from any other denomination. Eight Samford undergraduates received the Preministerial Scholarships last year in a trial run of the program.

In addition to a clear calling to the ministry, recipients must meet high academic standards and possess giftedness and competence in areas demanded by church-related ministries, according to Dr. James Barnette, associate professor of religion and director of ministerial formation at Samford.

The students must have a calling to fill such roles as senior pastor, associate pastor, and minister of education, music, youth and children, or such roles as nonmedical career missionary, hospital chaplain, campus minister, pastoral counselor or seminary or religion professor.

"Just as there are premed, prelaw and prepharmacy programs, Samford wants to develop a preministerial program that will train up the most capable ministers of tomorrow," said Dr. Barnette.

Samford hopes to award as many as 50 Preministerial Scholarships over the next several years, said Barnette. He believes Samford is the first Baptist university or college to offer such scholarships to incoming freshmen.

For information on this program, contact the Department of Religion at (205) 726-2925 or mail inquiries to Preministerial Scholars, Department of Religion, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.