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4 faculty members elected at NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustee executive committee elected four faculty members June 5 and approved an expansion of the seminary’s international certificate training program.

“We are thrilled to see a new group of faculty members joining in the post-Katrina New Orleans Seminary,” NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said. “They bring a lot of energy, a lot of vitality, great intellectual ability as well as great teaching skills.”

Joining the faculty are:

— Michael Edens as professor of theology and Islamic studies. Edens has served as associate dean for graduate studies since January under presidential appointment.

Edens was appointed as an International Mission Board missionary in 1980, serving as a strategy coordinator, a strategy associate and working in leadership development. From 2002-03, Edens was director of overseas relations in the IMB’s office of mobilization in Richmond, Va. Before his IMB service, Edens pastored for 10 years at churches in Louisiana and Texas.

Edens holds doctor of philosophy and master of divinity degrees from NOBTS and also is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University. From 1981-82, Edens studied the Arabic language and culture at American University in Cairo, Egypt.

With the election of Edens, Kelley said the seminary can start an Islamic studies program to help prepare students to share their faith with Muslims.

“He spent much of his adult life living in Islamic nations and has brought a great deal of wisdom and experience that is going to be invaluable for preparing our students for the 21st century,” Kelley said.

— Jeremy Evans as assistant professor of philosophy and ethics. Evans served a one-year appointment as instructor in philosophy and ethics during the 2006-07 academic year.

Before coming to NOBTS in 2006, Evans served as a lecturer and teaching assistant at Texas A&M and a part-time faculty member at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. He holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a bachelor of arts degree from Texas A&M. Evans has successfully defended his dissertation at Texas A&M and will graduate this summer with a Ph.D.

“Dr. Jeremy Evans is a marvelous professor of philosophy -– extremely well-read and very articulate,” Kelley said, noting that Evans will help students learn to distinguish between Christian and non-Christian worldviews and how to share the Gospel with non-believers.

“Jeremy Evans strengthens our focus on apologetics,” seminary Provost Steve Lemke said. “His training at a secular institution equips him to train students to defend their faith in a secular setting.”

— Jerry Garrard as associate professor of evangelism and church growth. Garrard was first appointed by Kelley as special assistant to the president in 2006. Later that year Garrard was named vice president for institutional advancement overseeing the development, alumni and church-minister relations and public relations offices at NOBTS.

Garrard, who has 29 years of ministry experience, came to NOBTS after serving 20 years as pastor of Celebration Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., where he was the church’s second pastor. Under his leadership Celebration grew to a membership of 2,400.

Garrard is a former NOBTS trustee and former president of the Florida Baptist Convention who has served on numerous national and state convention committees. Garrard holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from NOBTS and is a graduate of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

— Jake Roudkovski as assistant professor of evangelism. Roudkovski, who has more than 10 years of pastoral experience, joins the faculty after serving six years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Ponchatoula, La.

During his time in pastoral ministry, Roudkovski has led his churches to increased emphasis on evangelism and missions. From 1991-96 he was an itinerant evangelist, preaching in more than 150 churches in the United States and around the world.

Roudkovski holds doctor of philosophy, master of divinity and master of theology degrees from NOBTS. During his time in the Ph.D. program, he taught as an adjunct professor. Roudkovski also is a graduate of Blue Mountain College in Mississippi.

“Dr. Jake Roudkovski has a great passion for personal soul-winning and I think that is the foundation of every strong evangelistic church,” Kelley said. “He is going to light some fires in our students’ hearts and they will spend the rest of their lives being witnesses.”

Also during the meeting, Kelley announced the appointment of Page Brooks as an instructor in theology and Islamic studies.

Brooks, who is in the dissertation phase of his Ph.D. studies at NOBTS, comes to the seminary after serving as associate minister of adult ministries at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C. He also is a chaplain in the Army National Guard and Reserves.

An experienced pastor and teacher, Brooks was senior pastor at Rio Vista Baptist Church in Jefferson, La., from 2001-05. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at NOBTS since 2003 and an instructor in Christian studies at North Greenville University since 2005.

Brooks holds master of divinity and master of theology degrees from NOBTS and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Auburn University in Alabama.

Kelley also announced the following appointments:

— Jimmy Dukes, who recently was named director of theological education for the Florida Baptist Convention, as regional associate dean of NOBTS’ Florida extensions and director of its Orlando Center.

— Charles Harvey as director of student services for the Orlando Center.

The board approved a plan to expand the seminary’s international certificate training partnership with Hunter’s Glen Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. In addition to the training site in Ryazan, Russia, the seminary will begin offering certificate training in Manado, Indonesia, with the assistance of Hunter’s Glen and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“The opportunity to begin a certificate program in Indonesia is the opportunity to reach many unreached people groups by preparing ministers to minister effectively in the region,” said Thomas Strong III, dean of the seminary’s Leavell College. “The purpose of this program is to train local ministers to reach out to those on the islands of Indonesia who have never heard [the Gospel].

“The door for ministry has been thrown wide open, and I am thankful that we are walking through the door -– thankful that God has given us this tremendous opportunity,” Strong said.

Trustees also approved the move of the seminary’s Southwest Louisiana Center from the Carey Baptist Association office in Lake Charles to East Bayou Baptist Church in Lafayette.