By Andrea Duggan
PINEVIEW — Victor Lyons, Jr., and his mother, Lucinda, did not plan on graduating together. Even though they started working on their degrees at different times, even at different schools, both received their Doctor of Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on May 18.
The daughter of Southern Baptist missionaries in Uruguay, Lucinda spent her entire childhood on the mission field. After completing high school, she moved back to the United States to attend Liberty University. The Master’s degree she earned led to her teaching some classes through NOBTS’ extension program.
Eventually her husband, Victor Sr., pastor at First Avenue Baptist Church in Rochelle and also an adjunct professor for NOBTS, suggested she would probably enjoy working on a doctoral degree.
Like his mother, Victor also spent the first years of his life on the mission field while his parents served as IMB missionaries in Chile.
Reflecting on the fact that he and his mother would be graduating together, Victor recalled a specific conversation they had when he was in 5th grade and was wrestling with some questions about the Bible.
“Instead of brushing the answer aside, my mother gave me a full, honest answer,” he said. “When I went to seminary, I found that many of the questions that students were wrestling with were questions I had already wrestled with at home with my parents.”
Victor is now about the same age of his mother at the time of that conversation, with a son of his own. He is also his father’s age when Victor Sr., received his Doctor of Ministry.
“I am grateful that I can continue to pass on the legacy of faith instilled in me,” said Victor, Jr.
Work on his doctoral degree began in 2011 at Truett Theological Seminary, but life circumstances led Victor to delay completing the program, thereby leading to the switch to NOBTS. Since he and his mother were earning the same degree from the same school, they had various workshops and seminars in common, though never taking them at the same time.
“She would do one and I would take it the next semester, or I would take one that she would take later,” said Victor.
Mother and son, though, chose a different focus for the doctoral program. Victor concentrated on leadership and preaching while Lucinda’s was theological training for school-age children.
Children, Lucinda said, “can go way beyond just the moral of a story to what it teaches about God, about sin, about who we are in Jesus.”
She also believes Bible stories should not be categorized as those “for adults” or “for children.”
Her doctoral work took place in South Georgia working with Spanish-speaking churches. Her hopes are to one day publish a booklet on the subject that can then be passed out to churches she, her husband, and son minister to in Cuba and Ecuador.
“We should not be afraid to tackle certain subjects with children,” she asserted. “They already deal with so many things.”
Andrea Duggan is a freelance writer who lives in Macon.