Global University, an accredited distance education university of the Assemblies of God, participated in a commencement ceremony at B.B. Rayburn Correctional Center to grant Alex Hennis his Master of Arts degree. The ceremony was held on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, in Angie, Louisiana.
Hennis is Global University's first Master of Arts graduate from a prison. He also became the first Master of Arts graduate from a prison in the State of Louisiana according to Warden Robert Tanner.
"We were blessed and honored to be able to personally present Hennis with his Master of Art in Ministerial Studies degree," says Gary Seevers, president of Global University. "History was made, but more importantly, Alex continues to reach the unchurched by applying learned principles in the community where he serves."
Hennis has also planted a church in the prison approximately one year ago. The church averages over 100 people per week, not including visitors. "The Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies degree has enriched my life in ministry; it has given me tools to be more effective to reach lost people and it has provided hope for others to follow suit," says Hennis. "Had it not been for the Lord Jesus Christ, the empowerment of the Spirit and His gifted grace, I would have not made it this far."
Hennis also mentioned that he has grown leaders within the church to delegate responsibility. He has delegated sections of the prison to these men as he is empowering them, utilizing their strengths, gifts and abilities to minister to this population.
"Three years ago, it seemed like a dream. Today we see the fulfillment of that dream," says Dr. Jim Richardson, associate dean of the Graduate School of Theology.
"Alex's accomplishment becomes an important motivational factor to the other inmates throughout the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, as their prison system is under the same administration guidelines," says Dr. Carl Chrisner, dean of the Graduate School of Theology. "Prison statistics reveal that inmates involved in educational endeavors become an excellent example to other inmates. There are hundreds of prisoners with accredited B.A. degrees in the Angola prison and hopefully they can come to know Christ and be challenged to participate in the Global University graduate program."