How to promote Lottie Moon

Service Opportunities - 3 or more Years: Apprentice

What are the Seminary Requirements for long-term personnel?

The International Mission Board has determined that the long-term effectiveness of missionary personnel is closely related to solid academic preparation, especially in biblical, missiological and theological areas.


A bachelor’s degree plus appropriate seminary and professional training is preferred for most assignments.  Appropriate seminary training is required to better prepare the person for cross-cultural missionary service.  Areas addressed might include one’s theological foundation, missiological philosophy, Southern Baptist identity, evangelism preparation, and any other field-generated expectations for a specific assignment.  For Career service, the current requirement is as listed below.

**PLEASE NOTE—Apprentice applicants do not need to have these hours in place, but the hours must be completed prior to the beginning of the second term as Career missionaries.  If you do not have at least some of these hours completed before going Apprentice it will be impossible to complete the total hours before your Career term.  Please talk through this with your Personnel Consultant to fully understand the implications of this requirement.

Career service

  • A bachelor's degree and a minimum of 20 hours seminary is required for all Career assignments.
  • Team Strategy Leaders are required to have completed a minimum 30 hours of graduate level biblical, theological, and missiological study. 
  • Missionary spouses are expected to have at least 60 college credits.  For those with only a high school diploma, they will need 15 hours of Bible and theological courses from an approved institution.   Please check with your Personnel Consultant to guide you in this.

For 20-hour and 30-hour requirements, the IMB recommends certain courses that will provide the foundation the missionary will need as they approach their task. There is flexibility in the classes you can take.  However, we do ask that the courses be in the areas of biblical studies, missions, church history, anthropology and theology.  Be sure to review course selections with your consultant.

CORE COURSES (16 hours)

BIBLICAL STUDIES:            NT Studies, OT Studies, Biblical Backgrounds, etc.
THEOLOGY:                           Systematic, Biblical
HISTORY:                               Church History  
BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES:    Baptist History, Baptist Polity  
MISSIONS:                             Introduction, Missiology, Missionary Anthropology, Assignment-               specific courses, etc.
EVANGELISM:                       Cross-cultural, Personal, Muslim, etc.
DISCIPLESHIP:                    Spiritual Foundations, etc.
CHURCH PLANTING:         Cross-cultural Church Planting, Leadership Development, Christian Education
RELIGIONS:                          Introduction to World Religions
PREACHING:                        Basic Preaching, Storying  
ETHICS:                                 Christian Ethics

ELECTIVE COURSES (4 hours) RELATIONAL SKILLS: Interpersonal Relationships, Conflict Management, Stress Management, Introduction to Counseling, Pastoral Care   

NOTE: For those needing 30 hours of seminary credit for the position of Strategy Coordinator, at least 24 hours must come from the core course list and 6 hours may be electives.


All Apprentice head of household applicants (husbands and all singles) will be required to have a minimum of 12 hours of credit from an approved, graduate level theological institution prior to being approved by trustees.  Therefore, this requirement must be completed prior to the unit being presented to Trustees for approval.

These 12 hours must be for graduate level credit and allocated as follows:
               3 hours – New Testament Survey
               3 hours – Old Testament Survey
               3 hours – Biblical or Systematic Theology
               3 hours – Hermeneutics

All Apprentice applicants who are not the head of household (wives) will be required to have a minimum of 12 hour of undergraduate or graduate theological credit prior to being approved by trustees. Therefore, this requirement must be completed prior to the unit being presented to Trustees for approval.  In some cases, with IMB approval, selected seminary wives study programs offered by specified Southern Baptist Seminaries will be acceptable to meet the requirement for spouse theological studies.  In most cases two seminary wives classes will be necessary to equal one three hour course for undergraduate or graduate credit.

These 12 hours may be undergraduate or graduate level credit and allocated as follows:
               3 hours – New Testament Survey
               3 hours – Old Testament Survey
               3 hours – Biblical or Systematic Theology
               3 hours – Elective Course in General Ministry

In order to make the transition to these new requirements reasonable for those already in the application process, implementation will begin with those presented to the Trustees for approval after June 1, 2014.

Head of Household Apprentice applicants are encouraged to complete all 20 hours of these seminary requirements before beginning their Apprentice term, however the 12 hours are required before serving the Apprentice term for those approved by Trustees after June 1, 2014.

If you have further questions about the educational requirements, please contact the Personnel Consultant for your region of the country.

Revised 6/06/2012

< return to previous page

3 or more years Home Apprentice Home