It was finals week when Life at Nyack caught up with Ron Walborn, the Dean of the Alliance Theological Seminary. He was relaxed and cheerful, not because his stack of grading was coming to an end. He was cheerful because there was much to be thankful for and look forward to at Nyack’s ATS.
At the national seminary of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Ron says there is “a vision to minister across denominational boundaries” and he is excited to celebrate many things in the New Year. So what events are making Ron so happy?
Celebrating the continued growth of the Doctorate of Ministry Program
With over 100 pastors and leaders that represent over 36 countries, the DMin program is just over 3.5 years old. It’s showing no sign of slowing down and only seems to grow with students coming from urban, suburban, rural and international backgrounds. Ron believes that of all the strengths in the program, its students are one of the best. Working toward the degree in cohorts, students learn directly from their peers by hearing about ministries already in action. What is learned is directly and immediately applied.
Welcoming new faculty to the Alliance Theological Seminary
Often our alumni say that Nyack College and ATS are more like family than a school. Like a family, we love to welcome new members! This year, the school has brought on several new teachers including: Christopher Dost, Aaron Sherwood, Stanley John, and Louis Carlo.
“We have gifted, brilliant, intelligent people with the heart to pour into others.” Ron knows that staff makes all the difference. Great teachers create great leaders in their students.
Designing New Programs such as the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
It’s still unofficial but the new graduate degree in Biblical Studies will be a 36-credit program online. Ron is excited to finish the last details of the degree, which will be fully online. He says it will be fantastic to have students from around the nation and the world in the ATS virtual classroom. It’s about attracting and connecting, he said. “Relocation to New York from California, Texas and Malaysia is not always possible,” but attending class online is not a problem.
Working with a new Associate Director for ATS Admissions
Julian Williams was “born in Texas and refined in California.” When asked why he chose to come to Nyack, Williams stated that here is “the intersection of passion and opportunity.” He left a dream job at Adventures in Mission’s “World Race” because he knew the Lord had more planned for him. A casual conversation became a life changing moment and the catalyst to his new work as the associate director. “At ATS, I see myself thriving academically and professionally.”
Being one of the Top 10 Evangelical Seminaries in the US
“It’s a best kept secret” said Ron. The Alliance Theological Seminary continues to grow in an educational climate that challenges many programs at other schools. Why is ATS different?
Ron proudly described the seminary’s humble roots. The school was not founded to be a theological seminary alone. Instead the institution was created to help people minister cross culturally, to “actively engage” and gain more than just “head knowledge and theology”. The programs here are about leading students into the practice of missional living and training them as missionaries. That is the difference and the reasoning behind the juxtaposition of anthropology and sociology with theology at ATS.
As our time with the Dean of ATS drew to a close, Ron focused for a moment on the overall importance of heart and head connections. He emphasized again how important it was to nurture both the intellectual and the emotional needs of seminary students. At the Seminary, “learning comes from the people sitting around you in the classroom.” It comes from “students who are hungry and eager to learn and who already have ministries.” As Ron Walborn concluded our time together, he stated that it is truly “amazing to hear about the different ministries already going on” and that it is a great joy to be part of Nyack College’s Alliance Theological Seminary.