RTS Atlanta is part of the RTS system of campuses and, as such, it shares the same curriculum and all the best features and characteristics that set RTS, as a whole, apart from other seminaries. But, as is true of every campus, RTS Atlanta also has several unique features and distinctive emphases that help to give us our own special nuance or flair.
- The city of Atlanta.
The first unique thing about our campus is the city in which we are based. Atlanta is the most strategic urban center in the southeastern United States and one of the most strategic urban centers in the country. It boasts a growing population that is incredibly diverse ethnically and a dynamic economy that would rank in the top 30 of the largest national economies in the world. It is easily accessible from almost anywhere by plane or by car. Everyone who has ever traveled to, from, or within the southeast will no doubt have spent time in Atlanta’s airport (the busiest in the world!) or driven along Atlanta’s highways and interstates. In the southeast, all roads really do lead to Atlanta.
Atlanta’s size and economy mean that there is a lot to do and see here. Professional and college sports teams abound; museums, historical sites, and a wide variety of attractions (Coca Cola, CNN, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Centennial Park, Civil Rights Museum, Chick-fil-A, Georgia Aquarium, Mercedes Benz Stadium, just to name a few) are waiting to be explored; and outdoor opportunities are replete—from hiking trails or walking/running/cycling trails to rivers and lakes to woods and mountains, the Atlanta area has it all. Our city is also home to a very large number of churches and Christian ministries, which means that there is more potential to gain pastoral experience here within a wide variety of ministry contexts than exists in many other places.
In addition to all of these things, Atlanta remains one of the most affordable cities in the country—an important factor for anyone looking to relocate.
- The Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity.
The second distinctive thing about our campus is the Center for the Study of the Bible & Ethnicity, which was launched here in Fall 2018. This Center, directed by Karen A. Ellis, is designed to do several things:
- To help students see the connection between the local church and the global church and to expand their horizons and their vision of how they fit into what God is doing around the world;
- To help students rediscover voices from Christian history that have been overlooked or marginalized within the church, especially those voices that are outside of the dominant culture;
- To prepare today’s leaders for tomorrow’s world—which is becoming increasingly diverse both ethnically and in terms of worldview as well;
- To prepare students to live and minister within a dominant culture that is different from their own—whether that be foreign missions or ministry in a multi-ethnic or mono-ethnic context here in the United States;
A dedicated website is currently under construction for the Center which will give more information about what we are and are not trying to do and attempt to answer any questions that you might have.
- We are a fast-growing and diverse campus.
Just like the city of Atlanta itself, our campus is growing in size incredibly fast. That means that we are constantly adding new people and programs and looking for ways to grow and develop in order to best serve our students. This adds a level of excitement and anticipation to the student experience and gives our students a chance to be involved in the process of building something bigger than themselves.
Our campus is also growing in diversity incredibly fast—which is also just like the city of Atlanta itself. We are already the most diverse campus in terms of our student body and staff, and we hope to build upon that in the future. We want our students to be exposed to other students and staff who come from different cultural backgrounds and who may not see the world in the same way that they do. This, at times, may result in disagreement. But disagreement is good—so long as it is done christianly. Disagreement helps to challenge us to think through what we believe and why, and it helps us to refine our convictions so that we will be able to defend them well in an increasingly diverse world.
- We are especially concerned with equipping the whole person for ministry.
At RTS Atlanta, we do not believe that seminary should be an information download. No doubt, information is important, and we certainly want our students to be exposed to much new information while they are here. But, if that is all that we do, we will have failed. We want to equip the whole person for the work of ministry. We want our students to grow in their knowledge of God, but we also want them to grow in their love for Him and their desire to serve Him with their whole lives. We want our students to learn how to say “no” to good things (because good is oftentimes the enemy of great); to set boundaries in ministry; to cultivate their relationships with spouses, children, and friends; to understand and be prepared to minister in the celebrity culture in which we live, and to learn to thrive in ministry for decades to come.
To that end, our students will find an emphasis upon prayer both in and out of the classroom here on our campus. They will be encouraged (and invited) to spend time with their professors outside of class. We are also exploring ways that we can partner with local churches and parachurch ministries to shepherd our students and prepare them and their spouses for the pressures and difficulties of vocational ministry. The statistics vary, depending on what survey you look at, but all of the surveys say that a majority of ministry leaders are reporting unhealthy lifestyles with too much stress and too little genuine friendship and community. We want to prepare our students to thrive in ministry through all the glorious privileges and unfortunate difficulties involved.
These are just some of the features and emphases that help make RTS Atlanta unique. If you would like to find out more about our campus and these features and emphases, please call or email our admissions team at any time. As always, we invite you to come to campus for a visit to check us out personally.