(Walnut Ridge, Ark.) – Williams Baptist College has added a sports ministry specialization to its Department of Christian Ministries, and the new degree emphasis is already being offered to current students.

“The degree is still a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries, like all our current ministry degrees, but the specialization is completely new for us,” said Dr. Walter Norvell, a WBC assistant professor of Christian Ministries.

The department also offers degree concentrations in Biblical-Theology, Biblical-Linguistics, missions, youth ministry and Christian Education.

Norvell added that since the ministry department will be working with the Department of Health and Physical Education, all of the courses are already in effect.

“We are simply re-grouping courses so that we create a clear, specified application. Any student could have been arranging courses in this way already, but now we have formalized and shaped a degree emphasis for definite outcomes,” he noted.

The decision to pursue the new degree specialization was sparked by requests from students. “For years students have been asking for a degree that would help them unite sports to Christian ministries,” recalled Norvell. “My colleague, Dr. Robert Foster, tapped into that idea several yearsago, but we were unable to engage this program at that time.”

“Today, we have the opportunity to pursue this highly requested track. Williams is a college with a large percentage of student athletes, so we really feel that this is a specialization that will appeal to many students.”

The coursework is designed to give students a solid foundation in ministry, biblical interpretation and teaching skills. It also provides coursework that could lead to coaching positions for students desiring to purse such a career.

Furthermore, professions in sports ministry organizations, Christian camps and even global missions are feasible options with such a degree.

“Sports are huge cultural elements in our country and around the world,” concluded Norvell. “WBC wants to help its students expand their vision of what ministry and a holistically Christian education is about. We want all of our students to see their academics, career choices and their life’s work as ways to serve God and others.”

Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college located at Walnut Ridge, Ark.