Seminary Reaches 49th State in the Union

Seminary Reaches 49th State in the Union

December 29, 2004

Daniel Lee didn't have many options for theological learning in the Alaskan wilderness. He and his wife, Minnie, were serving with the Kodiak Baptist Mission in Kodiak, Alaska. Their days were filled with running a summer camp, an after-school program, and the local food bank.

They felt very much "at home," but Lee wanted to be part of a learning community, a place that was intellectually and spiritually challenging. There were plenty of opportunities to get a degree in fishing boat maintenance, but that wasn't what he was looking for.

He had heard good things about North American Baptist Seminary from a friend and pastor but knew that South Dakota was a long way from Alaska. Fortunately, NABS was offering online classes for the first time, and one of the courses was Instructor Kelly Lashly's "Youth Ministry: Camps and Retreats."

At the mission where Lee worked, he could only gain access to the computers after hours. So late at night he would walk the quarter-mile dark, wooded path to the mission office, log onto the Internet, and join his community of

There were nine students in the course: seven from the South Dakota area, one from South Carolina, and one from Alaska. "All of the students had experiences in youth ministry and camping ministry to share in the class," says Instructor Lashly. "Daniel was a bit different in that he was living out the camp and retreat setting every day as he ministered to the native people of Kodiak. His experiences enriched the class."

"The class helped me to incorporate learning into my work. It helped me realize that others were thinking and experiencing the same things I was," says Lee. "Even though I was in Alaska and the rest of the class was in South Dakota and other parts of the country, we all had shared ministry experiences."

Over the course of the semester, the course made him want to learn even more. So, he and Minnie packed up, left the mission, and moved to Sioux Falls. "I would not be here if not for my wonderful online experience," he says. "I had no reason to come here; no family, no friends. But one class gave me a chance to get to know the seminary in an intimate way."

They were afraid to leave their community in Alaska, but they've found a new community here, in the Dirksen Hall apartment building. Each Saturday, Lee serves as a "short order" cook for anyone who wants to come to their place for breakfast. "A friend from the mission used to do that in Alaska, and we missed it when we came here. I guess you could say we brought a little bit of Alaskan community with us."

Lee loves his classes, where he is learning about the history of the Church and other practical "how-to" aspects of ministry. "The online class eased the nervousness of coming to seminary. I was able to experience the human side of seminary even before I got here. It worked well for me to get my start in seminary online."

Flexible Learning at NABS
Want to see if seminary is right for you? Are you serving in ministry and can't get away to try a class?

It's ok. We'll bring the course to you. North American Baptist Seminary is dedicated to offering its students many flexible learning opportunities. We offer:

•online courses

•independent studies

•audio courses (ITS)

Call the admissions office at 1.800.440.6227 or visit our website at