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Recently I received an email asking about my Doctorate in Practical Theology (DPTh) and that made me think about the marvelous program that I went through. The Masterís Graduate School of Divinity and Olford Ministries International offer the degree jointly with the Olford Biblical Preaching Fellowship Program. Masterís confers the degree after you become a. Fellow of the Institute of Biblical Preaching . Currently, there are five Fellows and I am the first to follow through with the DPTh option.
The Fellowship of the Institute of Biblical Preaching (FIBP) is a strong training program in expository preaching and is great for pastors who want to improve their preaching skills but cannot leave their place of ministry for extended periods. So that you can get an idea of what the work is like, I have included a summary of the two of the courses at the end of this article.
The program consists of seven intensive institutes that are provided at different times of the year on the campus of Olford Ministries International, which makes the program extremely flexible. The Drs. Stephen and David Olford took an interest in me and my ministry that encouraged and supported me in good times and in bad. Their interest in my ministry was shared by the rest of the staff who constantly asked how they could pray for me. Although Dr. Stephen has gone to be the Lord Jesus, our times together will remain with me for ever.
I originally attended the institutes to become more proficient in preaching but received so much more. For me, it is always a time of refreshing and renewal. The opportunity to fellowship with others, whose preoccupation is to preach the Word, is priceless.
The time that I found most enriching was the Internship Phase. This time was very special to me. The class was small which made for a great time to discuss practical ideas and personal insights.
Finally, let me say that the Masterís Graduate School of Divinity is also an outstanding institution. The school worked with me in everyway to insure that my experience was pleasant and rewarding. In all things, I was provided with the best of service. I attended the graduation ceremonies in June and was pleased with the professional and spiritual way in which it was conducted. I have a high regard for the people at this school and especially itís President, Dr. Dennis D. Frey. He and I have become friends over the past few months and it is easy to see where the staff gets their professionalism, dedication and heart for ministry.
These two programs come together to make one great degree that is well worth the time and effort.
The following are summaries of two of the Institutes offered by Olford Ministries International. The information is taken from their website.
Beginning with the definition of expository preaching/teaching, the Institute imparts fundamental principles and practical procedures for preparing and proclaiming expository messages. The preacher/teacher, the preparation, the act of preaching/teaching and the message itself receive detailed attention. Further emphasis falls upon personal holiness, the concept of Incarnational preaching/teaching and the vital role of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming the Word. In addition, practical instructions regarding delivery transpire by means of lecture, modeling, and question/answer times.
Essentials of Evangelistic Preaching
The need for evangelistic zeal and activity is as great as ever, yet zeal without knowledge of the Gospel is perilous. Disciples, not just decisions, are what the Great Commission decrees. The purpose of the Institute, therefore, is to ignite evangelistic zeal and equip participants to faithfully proclaim the Gospel. Special attention is given to the content of the Gospel message, to preparing evangelistic messages, and to the essentials of evangelistic proclamation and invitation. Guidelines outlining follow-up work, discipleship training, and biblical church growth round out the program for the course.