The mission of the Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Studies (formerly the Ministry Training Institute) is to facilitate instruction and learning for adult students that will help them acquire competency in the skills, attitudes, and knowledge necessary to become effective agents of Christian ministry. That facilitation is carried out by instructors currently involved in ministry of their own, allowing them to provide both conceptual and practical teaching to the students. Course credit earned through SCS classes can be applied toward a Diploma, Associate of Arts, or Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies.
In 1983, the School of Christian Service at Oklahoma Baptist University began the Ministry Training Institute at the request of Dr. Joe L. Ingram, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Dr. Ingram, together with Clyde Cain, Director of the Office of Ministerial Services at the BGCO, felt that many pastors and church leaders needed access to opportunities for a serious study of the Bible and related Christian disciplines on the college level. Since then, the program has grown to include more than 30 centers in seven states. In addition to classes held in these local SCS centers, 8-week online courses are also available.
The School of Christian Studies is primarily designed to offer college-level training to adults involved in ministry or who feel called by God into this area. Current students include full and part-time pastors, church staff members, and lay Christians who serve a ministry role in their churches. Others are involved in ministries in prisons, college settings, or business.
The curriculum is prepared by the SCS Director and the Dean of the Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry (formerly the School of Christian Service) in consultation with the Hobbs College faculty, then approved by the OBU Curriculum Committee and Faculty. Courses are taught by qualified faculty approved by the Dean and Director.