TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - Religious professionals are no longer just sticking with bachelor degrees and getting started at a church.
Many pastors are now taking advantage of higher educational opportunities.
The pastor at Maple Grove Baptist Church in Trumann recently received his doctorate in ministry.
Dr. Jimmy Mauldin said he first wanted to be a minister after spending multiple summers on mission trips.
"A transforming experience for me, and I realized the summer I spent in Vietnam was the summer right before my senior year, and that's when I decided, you know, I want to be a minister vocationally," Mauldin said.
He said his higher education taught him more about strategy and leadership.
Mauldin received his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.
He attended the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary for his master's degree in divinity and his doctorate in ministry, specifically in discipleship, from the New Orleans Theological Seminary.
Mauldin said he feels more and more pastors are getting doctorates because it's more accessible.
"A lot of pastors are seeing this as an opportunity to grow and learn within the context of their ministry," Mauldin said. "So they design that particular program for pastors who are in the church."
Mauldin said he's been able to better communicate and implement new programs at his church.
He said they have implemented new small groups along with learning how other churches keep a strong congregation.
He said no matter what the profession, more education is always worth it.
"It's worth it," Mauldin said. "It's been worth it for 50 years. I think the reality is more pastors are doing this and more professionals are doing this because it's more accessible."
Mauldin said he encourages everyone to look at ways they can grow in their profession and find ways to always keep learning.
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