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Division of Christian Education Accreditation and Credentials

Christian Education Leadership Program

The Christian Education ministry of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. is a collaborative work of the National Congress of Christian Education, the American Baptist College, and the Division of Christian Education of the Sunday School Publishing Board. As an example of the unified mission, the Congress includes all COPP courses in its annual school curriculum. All courses taught through the American Baptist College are acceptable as substitutes for required COPP courses or as electives. The Sunday School Publishing Board provides program coordination and publication support as needed to insure the success of the National Baptist Christian Education programs.

Dr. E. C. Morris, the first elected president of the Convention, "Was in favor of a publishing board." When the Convention met in 1896, a publishing committee was established, the secretary of that board was Dr. R. H. Boyd of Texas. This group was given the task of publishing literature for the denomination. Dr. W. J. Simmons, "as early as 1889," proposed the institution of a denominational magazine. The seeds for the Christian Education Leadership Program then took root during the early years of the Convention. The cornerstone for the Sunday School Publishing Board building was laid on May 18, 1924, and the building was finished in October of 1925. (From a Story of Christian Activism: The History of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., by Dr. H. H. Jackson.)

Since its inception, the Sunday School Publishing Board has had a number of distinguished personalities, including Dr. A.M. Townsend, Dr. Marshall A. Talley, Dr. E. W. D. Isaac, Dr. Charles Dinkins, Dr. Amos Jones, Jr., Dr. C. N. Adkins, Dr. E. L. Thomas, and Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Jr., to name a few. These supporters laid the foundation for the current programs of the Sunday School Publishing Board, which include: the development and publication of denominational literature; the publication of The Christian Education Informer: A Journal of Christian Education; the coordination of the Certificate of Progress Program; and the approval of Christian Education Leadership Schools, which include dean and instructor certification.

Structure for Christian Education Leadership Programs

NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION, USA, Inc.
Sunday School Publishing Board (SSPB)
American Baptist College
National Congress of Christian Education
Organization for Leadership Schools
Division of Christian Education Accreditation and Credentials (DCEAC)
Christian Education Advisory Committee
Regional Coordinators
State Directors
Deans
Christian Leadership Schools

This hierarchy defines the network for the oversight of the Christian Education leadership schools Program of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (hereafter referred to as NBC). The Sunday School Publishing Board of the NBC has the responsibility for oversight of Christian Education Leadership Schools. The oversight responsibility includes:

  • Accrediting leadership schools;
  • Certifying instructors to teach;
  • Formulating policies and procedures governing the Christian Education Leadership Schools;
  • Designing and developing curricula for the Christian Education Program; and
  • Identifying textbooks to be used.

The hierarchical structure that supports this work includes the Corporate Board. The Corporate Board is the policy-making body that reports directly to the Parent Body of the convention and has direct oversight responsibility for all of the work of the Sunday School Publishing Board.

The Christian Education Advisory Committee replaces the Executive Council and the National Christian Education Committee that were instituted in 1997 under the leadership of Dr. E. L. Thomas. In 2008, Dr. Kelly M. Smith, Jr. reorganized the Executive Council and the National Christian Education Committee into a single organization and renamed the combined group to be the Christian Education Advisory Committee.

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to help bring the vision and plans of the Division of Christian Education Accreditation and Credentials to fruition. The advisory committee may be organized into various standing committees for program operation and improvements, and serving as resource individuals for the Christian education program.

The Advisory Committee serves as the advisory component for the Division of Christian Education Accreditation and Credentials (DCEAC) and has a shared responsibility for leading the ministry of Christian education into the future. This responsibility involves examination of the present Christian education program, specifically the Certificate of Progress Program (COPP). The focus will be on the redesign of this program for greater comprehensive instruction and better productivity through the NBC by bringing COPP into a system or format that compliments all accredited leadership schools and the American Baptist College.

In conjunction with COPP, the Advisory Committee is responsible for recommending alternative program concepts for certifying pastors to teach in accredited leadership schools. In addition, the committee will recommend a program for training church leaders in specific areas of ministry. Such programs will include the curricula, as well as materials and qualified personalities to assist the churches in addressing the challenges that face "this present age."

Other responsibilities of the Advisory Committee may include such activities as:

  • Developing and recommending strategic directions for the Christian Education Division
  • Serving as a sounding board for projects, programs and various proposals for the Christian Education Division
  • Evaluating and monitoring the Certificate of Progress Program (COPP)
  • Promote the work of the Sunday School Publishing Board
  • Occasionally represent the Sunday School Publishing Board
  • Establishing sub-committees to receive reports and do specific projects or programs
  • Committing to serve three year rotating terms as appointed by the SSPB Executive Director.

The process of accrediting a school ensures that certain standards of education and training are met, in terms of what is being taught and who is doing the teaching. This manual outlines the requirements that must be met by each school. Accredited schools can be held at all levels—national, state, district, and local. It should be noted that the National Baptist Congress School is an annual, week-long Christian education program that takes place in different cities throughout the nation. The National Congress School, like all other Christian education schools accredited by the DCEAC, must meet the requirements outlined in this manual.

The procedures for accrediting a school do not vary (see chapter 3 of this manual). The same requirements that must be met by the local church holding an accredited Christian education school must be met at every level. The necessary paperwork is prepared by the dean of the school and submitted to the DCEAC.

Since all programs must meet the same requirements, any course taken at any accredited program can be utilized at any level. This becomes especially critical in terms of the Certificate of Progress Program described in chapter 4. The required courses can be taken at the local church, the district, the state, or at the National Congress, as long as the program has been accredited by the DCEAC.